Jon emailed me a few months back asking if he could do an internship at TransWorld as part of his college photography course. I told him that there wasn’t much he could do in the office but if he could get from Florida out to the Bay Area he was welcome to come and skate with me. In the end he spent a couple of months staying between his uncle in Walnut Creek and friends in SF. He would come out when I was shooting but also spent a good amount of time skating and shooting with locals and exploring the Bay. Jon’s photos from this time are the perfect example of what you can achieve if you go the extra mile to chase your dreams.—Dave Chami
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I started shooting skating pretty much when I got into photography in eighth grade, so about eight or nine years. I had the option to take a photography class as an elective at school and just started shooting all my friends.
You recently did an internship in the Bay Area (where all your photographs in this Proof Sheet were taken) with our senior photographer Dave Chami, how was that experience? Anything that stuck out?
Yeah it was so sick! I’m glad Dave was willing to let me do this. It was really cool watching Dave shoot and learning from him but the little kid in me was going crazy meeting all these people and seeing spots that I’ve seen since I was a kid. That was a trip for sure.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
I always enjoyed flipping through magazines and staring at the photos trying to figure out where the lighting came from. But my photo teacher in high school really got me hooked.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
The best advice I’ve been given has been to shoot everything. I cant really think of any bad advice I’ve been given.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
Matt is one of my friends from Florida who moved to the Bay. I was skating with him all the time and he rips. Back noseblunts are one of my favorite looking tricks, and Matt is one of my favorite people.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
We were at a bar in the mission and I walk out and see my friends out side talking to this guy on his bike. He starts playing music on his boom box and then pulls out a magazine called Buttman. Between showing us the magazine and yelling at women passing by he saw me taking pictures and asked me to take a picture of him smoking meth. I showed him a few of the ones I got and he asked for my number to give him a print, he never called me though.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
I don’t know if I’m anyone to give advice, but I’d say travel and drink beer are the best things to do.
Do you prefer digital or film?
I love film, I haven’t been shooting enough of it but the darkroom is one of my favorite places to be. The instant gratification of digital is amazing but film will always be the best.
What’s in your camera bag?
A few pocket wizards