While it sounds like the ultimate profession, working in the skateboarding industry ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, but if you have to pick a job, two of the best options would have to be working as either one, a photographer, or two, an editor. You get to work with a number of people, restraints are nil, and chances are, beyond those you work with in the industry, you’ll have very few people to actually report to.
So now that you’ve narrowed it down to two options, you’ll have to pick one and focus solely on that one-when guys try to do both, they either A) do one exquisitely and extremely suck at the other, or B) do both half-assedly yet still somehow get published (not round here). After reading on, you’ll definitely know who’s got the better end of the stick, but remember one thing: decent skate photographers are a dime a dozen, so you’ll have to go above and beyond if you want to make it. As for skate editors, the uphill battles and lavish lives they don’t lead have left finding good ones like searching for a needle in a haystack.-Eric Stricker and Rob Brink
Where To Find ‘Em
Photog: Taking the afternoon off “house-hunting” with their realtors, on lavishly accommodated all-expenses-paid world tours, breaking speed limits on the Gumball Rally, playing against other skateboard magazine photogs in golf tournaments, and occasionally, maybe, over the light table or even at a hot skate spot.
Editor: In front of the computer-working in the office or at home and in bed by eleven-and skating red curbs in Carlsbad when time permits.
Photog: Flying board to the dome … or to your 8,000-dollar Canon 1DS.
Editor: Paper cuts … and spilt coffee will burn and/or short circuit your Mac.
Photog: A part in Chomp On This, TransWorld covers, guest magazine columns given to them in poor judgment, signature camera bags.
Editor: Only known by team managers who offer threatening phone calls for letting the cat out of the bag before the warehouse was cleared of a vacating pro’s remaining decks.
When In Doubt In The Field
Photog: There is no doubt. You can’t argue with what is or isn’t in the photo-what’s there is there.
Editor: When writing about, say, how a trick came about, definitely don’t interview the people who were there or invented it. That would be doing your job. Just write about what you “remember.”
Side Project Potential
Photog: Hawking leftover photos (which actually generate paychecks many times what the magazine pays) to skate, shoe, clothing, and any other mainstream company willing to overpay for a stock photo.
Editor: Non-compete clause-good luck finding supplemental income, unless it’s out of the “industry.” Psst-don’t tell management about the pen name and the fake Social Security number.
Getting Around Town In
Photog: A luxury station wagon or SUV paid for by those ad photos sold to skate companies.
Editor: The trusty Honda Civic, fully financed … for life. But, hey, as long as the backseat folds down for the flatbar, it’s all good.
Photog: Lots of dough per photo-a photo really is worth a million words (in this industry, anyway).
Editor: A few pennies per word … but still not enough to equal the paycheck of a “spot” photo.
Life After Skateboarding
Photog: Major motion-picture director, music producer, or photography in another field that pays even more.
Editor: Author, write a screenplay, open a skate shop, or just go back to working in the one you came from.