From the point that Michael received a camera to now has been one of the fastest positive transformations in character and personal perspective I have ever seen. In two years he has accomplished what for many would take years of schooling, by using his determination to make it work no matter what. I look forward to watching his skill develop and can’t wait to see what will come next for my good friend and brother, Michael Sube.—Isiac Ramirez
What part of Texas are you from?
Fort Worth, its about 30 to 40 minutes outside of Dallas.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I got my first camera when I was 19 years old. So I’ve been shooting skateboarding for about two solid years now. I remember going on skate missions with friends when I was younger and watching someone throw themselves down something, sometimes for hours. I’d go find the sickest view to myself and watch from where ever that might have been wishing I could document it with something other than a cell phone.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
I don’t think I could choose just one photo that inspired me to take up photography. I feel like skateboarding and photography go hand in hand. My friend Bryce Mitchell who I met skating one summer when I was probably like 14 or 15 ended up having a camera. I remember seeing photos he would take of all of our friends and being so stoked on how they came out. That guy was a really big inspiration to me as a kid. I wasn’t looking at a magazine with a bunch of pros I didn’t know. Don’t get me wrong [laughs], I loved looking at and reading all of the main skateboarding ‘zines, but back then I was more hyped on looking at a photobucket page filled with photos of almost every single one of my friends skateboarding and having fun.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
Best advice given was from Matt Price. “Keep shooting ALL THE TIME, and love the fuck out of it because it’s the best thing in the world.” I honestly can’t remember the last time I received some actual bad advice about skateboarding photography. I was once told I should start setting up photo booths at bars and events.
What do you like shooting besides skating? Any influences from non-skate photographers?
I love star trails and other types of long exposures. Something about the sky or the way things look at night that really catches my eye.
My friend Isiac Ramirez has been a big influence to me. He taught me the ins and outs about my camera when I got it. I wouldn’t say he’s considered a “non-skate photographer” because he does in fact shoot skateboarding sometimes. But when he isn’t rarely shooting skateboarding, he’s coming up with some really interesting projects or taking some of the coolest dramatic portraits I’ve seen. With that being said, some of the images he’s able to produce inspire me to step outside the box and try something different.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
A lot of the times I’m not really satisfied with what I produce. Sometimes looking back at older photos I didn’t like, grow on me, some don’t. Every time I get home and start looking at photos from the day on my computer, I always think of something I could have done that might have made it more satisfying to myself. It keeps me motivated in a way. This photo of my friend Phil Riding this dumpster is my favorite as of right now. The timing of the day was perfect and he did it flawlessly twice.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
About a year or so into shooting, I found this two story tall flat gap with a few friends. It was located at a random abandoned car lot that was in the process of being bulldozed. Like a week later a couple of buddy’s of mine wanted to go check it out. My friend Greg ollied it a bunch and was going for a frontside 180. It was the middle of summer in Texas with no water on us. After slipping out several times he was pretty over it, but was so close. I managed to drag one more try out of him. “Right here for Satan Greg,” you know just fucking around I gave him a slap and dap. He ran back up the stairs to give it one more go. Right before he popped he hit a rock and dove through the stair well, some how managed to get a foot down on the second flight of stairs, rolling his ankle and doing a complete flip onto his back, slapping his arm on the pavement like a rag doll. We all thought he was done for, possibly a broken arm, ankle, back or something? I mean, he could have died. Literally. He ended up walking away from that and going to the hospital later on in the day and only having a slipped disc in his back. Gnarliest slam I have ever witnessed.
What motivates you to shoot?
My friends. Watching them progress through out these past two and a half years has been truly amazing. Especially the younger ones I shoot with. Comparing photos or portraits I’ve shot of them then to now is crazy.
How has living in Texas influenced you as a photographer?
So many different types of spots. Nothing is really ”perfect” here in DFW. It’s actually really rare finding a ”perfect” spot that’s not a complete bust, or has the fattest crack known to man before or after it. But I think not having those perfect rails, stairs, backgrounds, and foregrounds that you see in LA, SF, NY, etc. makes it that much harder to get a good photo keeping you itching for progression, and a pristine angle that is satisfying.
Have you had any photos published in print and does print matter to you?
Yes and No. I mean that’d be super rad to have coverage like that, but I still feel like I’m not on that level yet. I had a photo set in the Kayocorp Mag for INDEX skate shop a few months back, but that’s it.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photographers?
Probably pass on the same advice Matt Price gave to me a year into shooting. Also don’t be afraid to shoot other photographers emails and ask questions.
Do you prefer digital or film?
Film looks so amazing. Plus it’s super fun to play with, but it can be pretty pricey nowadays. Digital is just super convenient and pretty much hands on. You know what you’re walking away with leaving a spot.
What’s in your camera bag? Favorite piece of gear?
Canon 50mm 1.4
Mini Vagabond battery pack
Canon 580 exII
Canon 430 exII
My favorite piece of gear is my 50mm; it’s perfect for a lot of situations or if I’m just trying to travel light.
Who’s your favorite person to shoot and why?
Probably my good friend Greg Mo or our Philmer, Philip Kessel. They both have completely different and unique styles when it comes to their skating. They are both super easy and fun to shoot with and are always coming through with something rad.
What’s your favorite skate photo of all time?
This photo of Tommy Fynn doing a front crook on some rail in Melbourne shot by Jake Darwen.
There’s something about that mirror and how he managed to line up every line perfectly is amazing. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo from that dude that I wasn’t 100-percent stoked on. Same with Dave Chami and Oliver Barton.