I met Jesus in 2015 in Orange, California. We initially started skating and hanging when my friend Logan Catt introduced me to him. I was staying in Chino and his partners and them were in Rancho/Upland area so I used to see a lot of his photos up on IG. It was only right that I hit him up asking if he would be down to shoot for my Check Out back in November. He was down, we started going out a lot on sessions and he would be the one taking me to a bunch of spots he found. We got to know each other throughout that time and it clicked. Big thanks to Keegan Callahan for the blessings, it was sick to be a part of that. Being in a mag with my homie’s photo means a lot to me. Nowadays we been skating a lot, he’s been shooting a lot of my homies since we’ve been working on this video called WEFRIED, filmed by the good homie Anthony Matarozza. It’s all of us, me, my brother Chris Drysen, Alex Tennison, Christian Holt and all my brothers, you know who you are. We’ve been working to get OC back on the map, and to have Jesus beside us shooting is sick. He works good with a camera and he’s always getting us fired up to skate something. Overall Positive dude, be ready to peep.—Justin Drysen
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I’ve been shooting for roughly four years now. I was about 13 when I had my first introduction to a camera. It was my sister’s wedding reception and nobody was documenting anything so I got put on picture duty I guess. I was shooting with my brother’s D40 and an 8gb memory card. I ran through that card within 30 minutes and kept deleting the pictures throughout the night just so I could keep using the thing. My brother never let me use that D40 again up until I bought it off of him on my sixteenth birthday. Shortly after that I got my license and my first job. That’s when things started to click with skateboarding and my camera. it sparked something in me and I’ve been riding with it ever since I guess.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
I don’t think there’s a photo that comes to mind but I’ve always been inspired by the works of Shawn Brodsky, Mike Blabac, Tobin Yelland, Skin Phillips, Lewis Baltz, Henry Cartier Bresson… legend.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
We had hit about three spots that day and nobody had gotten a clip let alone a photo. We were all piled in my car headed to the last spot in Ontario and I realized I had this shoot-out rail spot that doesn’t get too much love. Once we pulled up everybody was over it except for Jonas. He was throwing a 50-50 and slipping. I fired everything up and realized my flashes had no battery left. We noticed we had a hype man cheering us on from the top floor balcony of his apartment. Meanwhile Jonas is ready, locked, sending it, the whole nine. Homie on the balcony starts yelling my way, “Why the fuck aren’t you shooting this kid doing that 50-50?” I walked over to homie and started to have a conversation with him. One thing lead to another and he let us know he paid his dues on a board. I asked him straight up if I could borrow four double-A batteries and he gave me the batteries out of his own tv remote just so I could get the shot. Jonas battled it out for about 30 more minutes after that and finally stuck that fricker. We were packing up and the same homie that gave me the batteries was walking towards us holding his kid in one hand and a handle of jack Daniels in the other hand. He gave us all a victory shot on the house and just wanted to talk to us about skating for a minute. My biggest regret that day is not getting that dudes name because he had all of our backs.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
This shot of Justin has been one of my favorites for a bit. People usually come to this spot and skate the hubbas on the opposite side of this wall. I noticed Justin dipped out for a second and when he came back he told me he saw something. He front popped this second try. I back the one-light set up a lot.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
I’d say the best advice I’ve been given was to bring a camera with me everywhere, you never know what could happen outside, we live in a weird world. Learn to feel more comfortable in post. Worst advice: best gear equals best photo, speed lights are outdated.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
I’m still learning but if I could shed a little advice it would be to keep on givin’r. There’re times where you won’t be happy with what your producing and then there will be times where you are producing gems every time you shoot. Stay persistent, open your eyes. You only fail if you perceive yourself as a failure. My mother told me that so it must be true.
Best thing about shooting in your hometown?
You have to search for the cutty spots. It’s a suburban, wealthy town for the most part but it has been known to have some goodies. There’s this good pho spot by my old house too.
Do you prefer digital or film?
If I hit the Powerball today, I would definitely be experimenting with analog a lot more, but the reality is I’m not all that lucky and digital is so much more convenient. In the perfect world I’d want to see all skateboarding being shot on film, it just seems right, like filming with a VX in 2017—you don’t need to but it sure does look A1.
What’s in your camera bag?
Leica Dlux typ 109 mirrorless
Nikkor 16mm 2.8 fisheye
Rokinon 8mm fisheye
Nikkor 80-200 2.8 push pull tele
Nikkor 50mm 1.4
Nikkor 28-70 2.8
Pocket wizard mini TT1
2x Pocket wizard Flex TT5
Nikon sb 700 speedlight
Nikon sb 800 speedlight
Follow Jesus on IG: @jesusmozart