This is probably the more narcissistic approach, but whatever. I see a lot of myself in Dom and I respect what he’s doing. Living in Michigan, you have to deal with the seasons and he’s doing exactly what I did. Snowboard in the winter and skate in the summer, all while shooting photos and documenting every aspect along the way. Only difference now is I feel like he’s progressing way faster than I ever did with photography and that’s the best part. His compositions are getting better every time I see his photos and I love that he shoots film as well. It’s tight to see people shoot film in the “now” age we live in and I’m glad he’s one of them, especially being so young. Oh and he works at the shop (shout out People!) I used to work at as well, so kudos there. His inner MidWest weirdo will take him far and I’m looking forward to the strange shit he gets into. Godspeed, Milkbaby.—Cameron Strand
Where do you live and how old are you?
I’m 20 years old and living in Detroit, Michigan.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I’ve been shooting skating for about three years. I always thought pictures were cool, but didn’t think of photography as something to participate in until I got a disposable camera during high school. Getting my prints back from the disposable sparked my interest. Before that I always wanted to make videos.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
I never had a big defining moment that inspired me. I think for me shooting photos was a natural extension of skateboarding. Once I got going there were certain photographers and photographs that I tried to emulate.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
I like the saying “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” It’s a nice little reminder that you don’t always need something fancy to capture a moment. I usually get bad advice from people who see photography solely as a business. They don’t view photography as an art and give advice based on profit.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
This photo of Mitch Metzger pushing is a favorite of mine. It feels so timeless to me because anybody who’s ever been out skating down the street can relate to this feeling. It really shows him pushing fast while still being clear enough to read what’s going on. I also like how his face isn’t showing so it kind of breaks the conventions of skate photography.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
I was out skating at a neighborhood spot in Hamtramck, which is a very ethnic area within Detroit that has a large Muslim population. A bunch of intrigued kids were watching us. A few boys were trying to use my board while I was shooting photos of my friends skate. One of the girls asked to try it out, but the boys weren’t sharing. I got a board to let her try. When she stepped on it I snapped a photo. The girls were upset and asked me not to take their picture. I was a little confused at first, and then the girl on the board in this photo said, “If my dad finds out he’ll hurt me.” That was a big culture shock to me. I didn’t realize that in their culture women are not photographed without permission. It was upsetting to hear that children living in a first world country are being raised this way.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
Ask people for honest critique. Hearing, “That’s so cool, good job,” doesn’t help you learn anything. I find it helpful to get a second opinion on how to improve.
Do you prefer digital or film?
I’ll always prefer film, but I’m not giving up on shooting digital. I love the hands on aspect of the process. Loading and developing rolls and sheets by hand gives me the feeling that I’m actually creating each individual picture.
Most interesting thing about shooting in your city:
Detroit is a car dependent city so way less people are out walking around. Often you can shoot at a spot in the middle of downtown and not have a single person around.
What’s in your camera bag?
Pocket Wizard tt5, two Plus IIs, and two Plus Xs
Nikon Sb800 and sb80
Einstein E640 and Vagabond Mini
Bronica 80mm and 35mm fisheye
Sekonic light meter
Your photography website if you have one:
Follow Dominic on IG: @m1lkbaby