It's getting harder and harder to get photos printed in magazines these days. Lately, it seems that you have to have an angle of some sort to get things printed, like working on an interview with someone, or going on an extravagant trip to some exotic location with a high caliber team. At times it can be a bit discouraging to keep going out locally to shoot skateboarding without really knowing if the photos will ever see some action. But I try not to think about that and I definitely don't let that idea stop me from going out. Shooting skateboarding can be a lot like fishing, some days are better than others. Hell, some months are better than others. Sometimes you can be out all day and not get a single bite. Some days you only get little guys that have to be thrown back. The same goes with skateboarding, sometimes I can go out for days on end sitting in heavy traffic, getting kicked out of every spot and never even pulling out my camera. Some days, more time is spent going to Starbucks and 7-11 than actually "doing work." Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down.
This last month of mine was something out of the ordinary. The fish were biting. Big fish. Good things were constantly happening and I was at the right place at the right time with the right people. These images that made it to print are memories of a very productive month with some of the best guys to be out with. These memories are what keep me fired up to continue going out with the boys and hitting the streets!
Christian Maalouf, Frontside Half-Cab flip
I'm not going to lie, I got super lucky getting this shot of Christian's frontside half-Cab flip. Everyone was already inside the schoolyard skating when I showed up a little late because of some LA traffic. It was a warm up spot for the day so I didn't bring all my camera gear with me. But I did bring my Leica with me because it's so small and easy to hop a fence with. After about 20 minutes, Christian threw out a couple attempts of this trick and he was instantly getting close. This was my first time meeting him so I asked if I could snap a photo of it and he was down. I got my camera out of the bag and focused on the table and shot the next try. He landed that very next try and I was sure I somehow blew it. Rangefinders can be tricky to shoot skating with and usually takes me a bit to figure out my timing and whatnot. I looked at the screen on my M10 to see the one frame I got and it was solid. I was in awe from seeing him land this NBD in about five tries and I was completely in awe that I somehow got it in one try!
Na-kel Smith, Backside Smith grind
Nak is on another level right now. He's always been ahead of the game, but now he's on some celebrity status. Even with all the new success outside of skateboarding, it's super rad to see him still put it down in the streets. Two Thousand NAKTEEN is going to be his year.
Guy Mariano, Frontside boardslide to hurricane transfer.
With downtown LA's ever-changing landscape, new spots are constantly coming and going. Guy is a perfect example of someone that is always on top of the new spots that pop up. He really does his homework on spots and goes out on reconnaissance missions to see if the spot is good or not and to find out the best time of the day to come back. He knows what spots look good for photos and always has a rad idea ready when I'm fortunate enough to link up with him. He's not selfish either, he's provided many spots for other pros in the past as well!
Curren Caples, Frontside bluntslide transfer.
Super skinny run way to a sketchy head high up rail—this spot is far from being perfect. You just have to take the right guy to the right spot and magic can happen. Curren Caples, frontside bluntslide transfer oozing with style.
Mike Anderson, Switch wallride, fakie Ollie out.
Skate spots come and go. But as many seem to go, there's always something new popping up to skate. We recently found this wallride spot in a parking lot next door to an OG spot that we've been going to forever. It was a busy parking lot of a market but Mike didn't mind and skated it anyway. He literally learned this switch wallride fakie Ollie out during this session and it was rad to see his process of figuring out a new trick. He eventually got it wired enough for me to stick my lens in there and get this shot.
Ray Barbee, Frontside wallride.
I got word about this empty pool that was undergoing construction at a popular hotel in downtown LA. I went and scoped it out to see what was up with it. It was a little tricky to find exactly how to get to it, but luckily, I have a friend who lives close to it that told me the way to get in. The pool was empty, square and had no transitions, but it was a perfect spot for wallrides. There was construction material all around the pool and it looked like it was about to be redone any day. I had to move fast. I had excitedly called Ray and told him about what I found and he was down to meet up later that night to try and skate it. We got there around 11p.m. and skated the spot until 1a.m. without any problems. I still think back to that night and I'm still amazed that everything worked out as it did.
Marc Johnson, alley-oop fakie five-0 grind.
For me, getting a photo of Marc Johnson is the equivalent of catching the big one in fishing. Sometimes these take lots of time and work, and other times they happen naturally and you get that bite the first time you throw your line in.
This photograph of MJ was unplanned and happened almost without thought. I was already shooting at the same spot when he showed up and started skating. He was doing these beautiful alley-oop fakie five-0 grinds over and over filming them with his iPhone on a tripod. Once I wrapped my initial shoot I asked if I could snap some photos of him and he was down. He did a few more and I was lucky enough to get this one with the last bit of golden light of the day.
Mason Silva, 360 flip.
This spot is just outside of a Fatburger. I tried the new impossible burger they have for the first time just after I shot this photo. It's so delicious and hard to tell that the patty isn't made of meat. This spot was already an OG spot where people would skate the banks. But the city recently installed the railing making an old spot new and a perfect obstacle for Mason to 360 flip.