Birmingham, Alabama is a pretty tough place. The summers are sweltering, the streets are rocky, and crime ain’t too hard to come by neither. But out of this rough patch of red clay stems a solid skate scene whose official unofficial photographer is one Daniel Lawson. I first met D. Law about seven years ago while I was living in Birmingham and hanging out at the skate shop, Faith, which had a circulating cast of skaters, characters and crackheads in its orbit. Daniel, always with camera in hand, was the resident skate photog, but he wasn’t afraid to connect with and capture the other critters that gravitate to street sessions. We ended up putting a bunch of his photos together in a couple zines called Skate the Dirty, the title an accurate description of D. Law’s aesthetic—raw and real. Flash forward to today and that promise has been honed to the sharp pointed angle of Daniel’s current work. Whether he’s in the streets shooting some of Bama’s bests, smoothing out cement at the latest addition to the local DIY, or chopping it up with the Haints amidst the motorcycles and madness at the Dojo, D.Law is always up to throw down and take some great shots along the way.—Christian N. Kerr
How old are you, where do you live currently and where are you from?
I’m 26 years old, I live in Birmingham, Alabama, born and raised.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I’ve been shooting skating for close to 8 years now. Being a skateboarder got me into photography. Flipping through skate mags as a kid I always obsessed over how skate photos were shot, the lighting, timing and all the shit that went into it. Watching skate videos was also a huge part. More importantly, pushing around the streets with my friends and a camera is what really sparked it.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
Joe Brook, Oliver Barton, Ed Templeton just to name a few.
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve been given on photography?
The best advice I’ve been given on photography is shoot what you’re passionate about, take risks, and always remember that no one owes you anything. I don’t know of any bad advice I’ve been given.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
Jason Salillas noseblunt on a bench at the Amtrak station.
What’s the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
The noseslide by Alec Spinosi on the 5 points Fountain is hectic. The 5 points “Story Teller” sculpture fountain in Birmingham has been believed to have satanic ties as it shows a Ram headed figure reading to animals arranged in a 5 point star. The spot itself is weird, you have to run through traffic, ride up a brick sidewalk and pop to an opposite curved ledge with a bum-piss-water abyss on the other side.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
Always have your camera/gear with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for critique from other photographers, photo editors or anyone that’s not friends or family.
Best thing about shooting in your hometown:
I’m the only skateboarding photographer in Birmingham, so I shoot with all of our homies at the shop (Faith). The spots are pretty unique too.
Do you prefer digital or film?
It’s 2017 so I’ve definitely adapted a digital workflow. But I still shoot film and have a bag of unprocessed rolls that will make it to the lab eventually.
What’s in your camera bag?
50mm 1.4 Zeiss
Einstein x 2
Vagabond Mini x2
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