When I first moved to California in 2014, I was skating with a couple of homies who had moved here from Vegas and would always either hear about Joeboii or see his photos from around them. As time went on, Joe eventually made the move to Long Beach and started living with my friend Cody Thompson, and we would start going on sessions together. It's usually an awkward predicament when you have two photographers on one session and have to play rock-paper-scissors for who gets to shoot what but it was never like that for Joe. We would always end up sitting around talking about camera stuff or he would ask me questions that I would try my best to help with. I ended up helping him get a job at this rug warehouse where I worked; I would shoot photos of these rugs and Joe was the editor. About a month into that Joe ended up moving in with Pat Franklin and I living in a little corner of our living room. Working with Joe and living with him, I was basically around him all day everyday and I could tell he was passionate about skating and photography. The more I started to see his work, the more comfortable I could see him getting with his cameras, coming up with interesting compositions and ways to light an image that stood out to me. Joe no longer lives or works with me and I miss seeing him on a regular basis, but it's always a pleasure to still see him still consistently crafting his ways behind a camera.—Alex Papke
How old are you, where do you live currently and where are you from?
I'm 22 years old, currently living in Alhambra, California, from Las Vegas, Nevada.
How long have you been shooting skating and what got you into it?
I've been shooting skating for about five years now. Around my junior year of high school I enrolled in a photo class to fill an extra credit and that immediately sparked my interest in photography. At the time I was participating in a lot of sports around school and skating with my friends at night after those practices. It wouldn't be until that summer going into senior year that I put the pieces together and started to mess around with taking photos of actual skating. I was getting hurt a lot from skating and couldn't practice for the sports I was in so I would resort in taking photos of my friends. My parents had a "family camera" (Minolta Maxxum 5) that I would always shoot my friends with and every month I remember basically begging my parents to to take me to Costco to develop my film for two dollars a roll. Towards the end of my senior year, I got really involved with this local video called What Time, When and I would catch myself coming home at one or two in the morning on school nights just exhausted from shooting and skating. Once that video ended I knew I wanted to pursue skateboard photography/photography a lot more.
Is there one photograph or photographer that inspired you to take up photography?
There isn't one photograph I'd say, but I've always admired the works of Bryce Kanights, Mike Blabac, Brian Gaberman, Grant Brittain. The list goes on. There're so many talented photographers whose work inspire me daily.
What's the most interesting story behind one of your photos?
Getting this shot was totally unplanned and unexpected. I had called Nick Rodriguez one night and pretty much forced him to be my guinea pig for this flash I had recently purchased. We decided to meet up at this Target and I had him do a couple Ollies through the hole, just putting my flash in different areas. It didn't click in my head that having the flash directly in front of him would make this cool silhouette until I tried it once and was just really surprised with how it came out. Instead of doing more Ollies, I convinced Nick to throw a kickflip through it and within five tries was able to get a nice shot.
Do you have a favorite photo of your own?
This shot of Nick Michel has been my favorite for a little bit. We were only here for ten minutes max just going back and forth with the security guard and after waiting for everything to cool off, Nick was able to handle this back tail in three tries.
What's the best and worst advice you've been given on photography?
The best advice I've received is to shoot wider, expand your frame, and get comfortable in post. For me personally, I tend to close the frame tight around my subject sometimes, so shooting wider is like a breath of fresh air for me. I can't say I've had any bad advice.
What advice would you give to up and coming skate photogs?
Although I still think of myself as "up and coming," I would say to other skate photogs to be vocal, and keep in contact with everyone you interact with. You never know where photography could take you or what other people can do to help you with it. Another thing is to be persistent with your work. There'll be plenty of times where you don't like what you're producing or missed a shot, but you just gotta keep pushing and learn from the shots you've taken. Reflecting on your past work and learning what to do better for next time is something I'd say helped me a lot as far as progress goes.
Best thing about shooting in your hometown?
Knowing where a good majority of spots are is always a plus, and the city's pretty small so spots aren't usually that far away from each other. Shooting in Vegas at night is definitely a perk about my hometown, being downtown or the strip and just seeing what you could get into photographically is always something I look forward to. Vegas is one of those cities where you could go to the strip or downtown every night and expect something different every time.
Do you prefer digital or film?
If money wasn't an object, I would definitely be shooting film a lot more than I do digital. But, we live in the real world and digital is so much more convenient, especially for shooting skating. The grit that you get from SLRs I feel compliment skateboarding so much, it's almost as so with filming VX Vs. HD.
What's in your camera bag?
Canon 18-55 mm
Canon 55-250 mm
Rokinon 8mm fisheye
Canon speedlight 430exII
2x Sunpak autozoom 333 thyristor
3x Pro master transmitters
Minolta Maxxum 5
Kodak cameo motor ex
Couple rolls of undeveloped film