STILL LIFE: O’MEALLY’S FAVORITE PORTRAITS

A good portrait is more than just a good photo. Hopefully in taking one you can learn something about the subject, and if you get it right, anyone looking at it will discover something too. Here are a couple of my favorite faces.
—Mike O’Meally

1. Anthony Van Engelen
Los Angeles, 2008

I went downtown with Anthony to skate around. He showed me where he used to take a walk on the wild side. For someone who is used to going 100 mph, Anthony seems to have a lot of patience nowadays. He keeps his head down and gets on with it. I like that. He doesn't say a lot, but he lets others talk themselves silly, myself included. Tolerance of others is a generous gift.—Mike O’Meally


2. Javier Mendizabal
Barcelona, 2005

I first met Javi in 1997 in the Basque region in the north of Spain. Most of the time he is not standing still with his hands in his pockets, that's for sure. He skates hard, slams hard, and smiles and laughs through it all. But this was at the end of an action-packed week or two through the north, and then back down to Barcelona, where he has lived on and off since he was a teenager. We had just heard about Hurricane Katrina.—Mike O’Meally


3. Omar Hassan
Los Angeles, 2007

A few weeks after getting scalped coming through the Creature sawtooth tunnel at the Vans Downtown Showdown, Omar called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to shoot a portrait. When he showed up to my house it was like a visit from Mary Shelley's monster. Oddly enough, in most of the photos we shot that day he was cracking me up with funny tales and banter.—Mike O’Meally

4.Omar Salazar
Sacramento, 2007

This is a pretty normal photo of Omar, getting some pretty normal Omar thrills. I was definitely a bit nervous shooting this, can't lie about that. Some guys are just comfortable on the edge—just look how happy that little face is! Omar's lust for life is contagious. He wanted to climb out to the middle over the water. The Chilean Ninja.—Mike O’Meally

5. Chima Ferguson
Sydney, 2009

Don't need to say too much about this one. What you see is what you get with Chima. He just turned 24 and he is more grown up than many 30-year-olds I know. Chima is an old soul with a young man's legs. Those boots were made for walking. Watch him go. Eshay lad!—Mike O’Meally