2016 skateboarding on film

its the most fun to shoot skating on film.

i like the unknown results, gambling with the balance of control and chaos - a process that mimics skating itself... yeah, thats one of those cliches beaten to death - the whole "skaters do art the way they skate, there are parallels between skating and making art, the skateboard is the brush and the street is the canvas..." pretty tired at this point but theres honestly some truth to it.

for me, where skate photography is concerned, it ultimately comes down to doing the time/space event its proper justice as a photograph. and maybe at this point in time where the language of digital image making [of both skateboarding and otherwise] has been so established, fine tuned and formulated to the point where it feels sportsmanlike or prescribed, my gut response is to upset that idea by taking more calculated risks [again, echoing the skating itself...] or being intentionally reckless with the process... maybe you just never want to do what you see being done. or maybe you just get sick of following your own rules. maybe making something thats less dressed up or fabricated feels more honest and direct. maybe theres more value in recording what is actually happening than there is in cooking up your own imagined version of something which relies on all these forms of intervention - elaborate light equipment, overly considered technique, and compositional / formal decisions that are more based on convention than whats in front of you...

im not sure. but this is in a nutshell what ive tangled with the last year or two as i photographed skateboarding on film - looking to make something more radical, chaotic, honest, unique, immediate, energized, and hopefully iconic... oh yeah, and i always really liked applying lemmy's motorhead manifesto [FAST AND LOOSE] to any area of life - its a good fit for skateboarding photography. this route has been much more alluring, and these are the fruits of those efforts...

what better way to follow up such rhetoric than with a meticulously framed, precisely exposed image made with 2 carefully placed off camera flashes...

sometime in february of 2016 i processed a roll that had this image on it. that was back when we could skate in the valley warehaus. mitch haight went to the top of the wall and grabbed back in to the quick transition of that little beauty - probably the rawest move to go down in that space. this past winter was rough not being able to skate in there anymore. glad its april. im sittin outside of a cafe in austin texas and the air feels amazing.

heres 3 shots of mitch gapping to 5-0 at the apartments by idlewild...

someone brought a tv to idlewild...

off the nip to the boob tube

russian dance moves

kickflip to tv. MAN it woulda been cool to catch that flip with the DOG graphic showing.

went out skating with bates and snacks on a particularly windy day... something about the weather and those two dudes made me feel like how i did being a teenager skating back in wisconsin...

across from mira loma, the old bank to bar loading dock scenario. bates shot a few of my smiths

the secret is not trying to roll off a rail but actually popping the tail to dismount. took me 18 years to figure that out. or maybe i just forgot. thats possible.

snacks got a bs 5-0. no idea what the secret is there.

we got lucky and crammed in the make on the final inches of celluloid

horseshoes and hand grenades
landlords never get it

classic relocated - hard to believe that was only a year ago...

first thing on the wall if i recall

its been fun to watch the pendulum swing, as guided by the fickle desires of teenage trends, the recycling and worship of history, vicarious fetishization, and the social media driven ego maintenance regimens of man-children. at the end of the day, its all still a just a stupid board with wheels that you slowly destroy. and god damn, its way more fun than watching football.

glue man

glue dude

classic had an xmas party. i think classic events are the only times each year i end up in a bar, which i inevitably french exit. heres carnel, passing around photos of his naked cat at a fullpipe

party like you bloggin at the austin texas mac store. party like you ate too much organic pro-duce. party like you did coke off the toilet at that one bar on arlington.

a backside tail on a swanky box by andy, in what would become the final days of the wells fargo parking lot, as photographed by a PIX PANORAMIC plastic lens special, one of my favorite new cloudless modular units

harbingers of stoke

there was an element demo at classic. this is nassim guammaz haffway through a bs360. see the full story by following the following link that you can follow if you click on it and then follow followers following fofoiajpowejpwjv

shitty job on the photos at an element demo, but pretty rad still

mitch and some scooter kid, the universe conspiring across an abused strip of film - upside down at idlewild, a weird science/art nightmare of replication for first year design students to shudder at while sipping their morning coffee on a cold campus bench.

talk about makin one-offs. ill take it.

palete cleanser fs poker

violent poems

we got one.

"i have to go get a bathing suit and then go on a walk..."

after befriending this cold springs local through gripping conversation on dinosaurs, outer space and science, bates demonstrated the finer points of the tailwhip. hackel was jealous that the kid liked bates more than him.

half darkroom, half snowboard museum

yeah we make stuff in there sometimes

gardnerville - great place for a white tshirt

good place for dogs as well

who makes all the shit we buy and destroy? are there 4 year olds gluing your vans together for 20 cents an hour? some days i wonder these things in between grinds. other days i just wonder why so many dudes in the 30+ range are SO in love with AVE

baters on the home turf, fs smithers from the qp into the bank

improper treatment of film, abuse of surface reason for the season.

jordan in the big pumpkin

such classy maneuvers

shaun d, fs noseslide on the weird diy bump to bench thing, strategically placed branch to cover up whoever is sitting on the ground holding up a phone.

fs board

shaun d on the wall of the ditch that is not easy to figure out how to skate and is currently in need of a good shovel out.

scaught had these spicolis for a long time. he wore them to his pizza job for a while and they got pretty fucked. by the end they were toebock'd pretty bad

i started referring to them as "your pizzas" since they were reserved just for working at the restaurant. i saw them on the back porch the other day, nevada is in the process of disintegrating them.

from the horseshoe to the bowl? is it possible? also, is it photographable?

the transfer of dreams. milking a bunk park for every last fucking drop of its potential worth, i love it.

thwarted by a most obstreperous waterfall

somehow its never groundhog day in there

one time we went to skate tim's backyard

a tight, small, perfectly cramped skate track with a fish pond bowl thing - always wild to see what people come up with. every yard has its own unique set of challenges. the imagined forms break down what we know or think to be truely skatable, and present alternate realities with new boundaries. the variety of terrain is healthy in reno - from spoon-fed standards to mind-numbingly bizarre. someplace in between, these backyard fantasies fill in unexplored niches of form vs function skate adventure, sure to keep the gears turning and wheels burning.

fellow ambassador of backyard gnar, marcus with a boardslide on the square block

thats a funny lookin cat

frank and danny

so yeah, marcus went for it in his yard too...

recycled rebar from job sites

cement truck vs telephone wire logistics

here we go. smart move starting on the small end - get all the kinks worked out before you get to the more complicated terrain.

makes you hungry for some reason

julia tried to help

buncha dudes making a giant cake

a week or so later it was ready to rip

marcus over the hump to screech city

not the first grind, but an early one

javier, 3 feet of boneless off a 1 foot wall

the surfer moon
cool sacred texture
we all bow to
let us sing let us play
and let us escape

my brother and my dad visited in early may. i wanted to take cole to skate a pool on his 30th birthday. we went up the mountain.

had to show them the truckee diy

driving to this spot with my dad in the car was funny. hey we're gonna go into this abandoned mill thing real quick, come check it out. i think getting to be the tour guide for once was a thrill especially because i knew i could coax him into some otherwise uncomfortable situations. he was actually pretty stoked on being at this spot, but he sat the next one out.

ever go skate a mostly empty pool for a half hour with your younger brother on his 30th birthday while your dad waits in the car? always in pursuit of the unprecedented, no matter what that looks like. 

over the light and around the big puddle
pretty rad for a first pool ride on 30
the word "carve" certainly is beautiful

we all know the grind is there when you want it

downstream from the tahoe inn, scaught bates slides one off the end of the modified jersey.

dodge poo, avoid snakes, clean your flatbed scanner and flip your mattress for fuck sakes.

nate, just chucking himself out of that weird corner wall at mira loma

its not a butt shot if you got the face in the crotch, right?

god damn that looks fun

bates scrapes some turbo while justin nervously smokes in the parking lot

keep yer eye on it long enough and youll get a window. finally got to give sands a whirl, on mothers day i think. me and bates dove into the blinding heat of the perfectly curved white walls. damn that water in the deep end because the hip is begging for it, and what a fun ride you could take through the whole thing. this is exactly the kind of pool i want to skate - not some backyard kidney hesh pit - i want it weird, atypical, undesirable.

perfect transition

bates to fakie


first grind in a real pool

air is air

grinding the inside of a deathbox seems like a street skating move

dammit scaught

almost had it over the box on a 4 ft wall but then time was up

just when scaughts board was starting to dry up, mine shot in and we took it as a sign to call it. no hassle from security the whole time. one pedestrian briefly hung out to watch and shout his awestruck encouragement - luckily he caught on to our behavior and left so as not to blow our cover. less than a minute after we hopped the fence back out we saw a guard making the rounds for the first time - when you slide by clean like that with the adrenaline going from riding the forbidden exotica, nothing comes close to that feeling. makes up for all the dull days spent sitting at a park or skating the same bullshit. also reminds you that its out there if you want it and are willing to do the vigilance.

if this was anyone else i would be bummed that i so poorly underexposed this early evening ollie, but for some reason the fact that its trevor bird makes it work. that said, id love to reshoot it properly. theres no excuse other than laziness or the desire to gamble, as i HAD all the flash stuff with me, as evidenced by these down'n'around the horn feeble grinds not 100 yards east...

shooting skate photos with flashes and telephoto lenses on 35mm should be a more common practice. that would actually be a funny rule to stick to for a whole year.

the max flash sync of 1/30th on the kiev 60 is one of those fun limitations to negotiate

just up the block from the downhill curve ledge is the littlest big 4. they got a loud as fuck aluminum table too. you can do gap to 5050s on it if you are rad.

trevor does his 5-0s on the front truck. weird.

threw in a roll of expired slide film which appears to have been fully baking in someones glovebox for the last decade.

swimsuit babe haunts your griptape and will only give you x-amount of tries to land your nosegrind before hexing your deck and pitching your carcass into the astroturf of the gated off backyard at the youth center. it is written somewhere in a forgotten perverse bible verse, fictional fortune cookie catalog, or genius middle schooler math notebook. here, we only have "proof" of it in photographic form. 

a fine day

a man with a razorblade tongue and particularities

all these years of sittin around on other peoples stuff

i wanna go to europe

if your griptape is perfectly installed you can do pivot to fakies on the extremities of any tile-encrusted serpent you can find

sometimes ill post a photo on facebook and write about it. this is one such photo and the following is the copy which accompanies it:

"I'm fairly certain that 20 years of skating has cursed me with a heavy list of idiosyncrasies. Among them is a somewhat casual approach to living tempered by a staunch refusal to half-ass the shit that matters - a belief when applied to non-skating areas of life is periodically reaffirmed through obsessive behaviors, or drastic actions, or a bit of cold-hearted masochism. I'm not nose-to-the-grindstone 24-7, but I'm buried where it counts. If you're gonna do it, do it like you mean it. If its the stuff you love then do it like you love it, or else whats the point? Accept no substitutes or have the life sucked right out of you. The Plumas St 50-50 challenge [as performed by S Bates in this image from last month] has a gutter crack that necessitates a gap-in, is downhill, has encroaching foliage, and is missing a few chunks. Most notably, there is a simultaneously occurring wooden death box pit and ledge cut-away to negotiate as you gain momentum towards what is hopefully a sure-footed dismount. You have to prove it to all these obstacles that you can grind the whole damn thing, and you owe it to your teenage skaterat self to see it through. You also owe it to your 32 year old, 40 hour a week workin ass to be thorough in this moment and not find any reason to bail. Hey man, are we filling voids out here with arbitrary goals? Pissing away the remaining hours before the Earth explodes? Being selectively obsessive to our own detriment? Farting into the desert wind? Can I do this event justice on tri-x with a 50mm lens at dusk? Do we need more wax? Does my life really depend on getting this grind to the end? I don't know, but look at this thing, how could anyone thats had a taste just settle for a few feet and call it good enough?"

salvador dali hill bomb

best bushes in town if you drank too much soda

another day we went up to that one pool...

bates got it frontside - a notch in a belt for certain. i scraped a backside grind and was pretty well stoked. 

punker matt did some very stylish grinds as well...

sweet drama

not long after, scaught and i returned to skate it again with justin in tow...

what you mean i gotta jump a fence?

the fsg - everyone does em a little different

gritty imperfections remind you to take what you got and not dream about something you cant see

it rained, carnel showed up.

whats a matter with you, were you raised in a cave?
yeah i used to do these on wooly mammoth skeletons

he wants info
he wont flow

we skated some crazy fish pond thing and then got food

obligatory T's wallie. bates yeah

my cat skates

not sure if hank skates

you should not be allowed to work at a skate shoe store if you dont skate, im just sayin

for some reason i only have one of the trucks from my first set. must have had a friend in need somewhere back in time. the bam board is a whole other story. 

any artist will tell you there is a difference between collecting and hoarding. i bet collectors and hoarders will tell you the same thing.

child repellant 

went back with a sharpie and drew a tiny mike v running around

hey you know what sucks? shopping carts!
fuck yo shopping cart!!

never been more stoked on a 35mm with two flashes crook on a cart photo. hats off to ya bates.

back at the wild orchard...

snack time



a hip is a good place for alley-oop fs flip grabs, as mitch haight and alex chalmers can attest

this is the full roll-away make. i remember it cause i was all "fuck, i am going to really regret putting that leaf in there like that." not tellin if i was wrong or right about that.

near the end of july a giant moon filled my heart
and giant waves of unprecedented love woke me up,
battering at the beaches of lameness that had encrusted the shores of my soul
on top of the world, trying to catch up to outer space

in august i reluctantly traveled to wisconsin, a 2 week excursion in the name of photographing nicks wedding. i was home but a huge portion of me was still in reno. as always, the reveries of skateboarding and photography distracted me from the pains of an unanswerable magnetism. during such escapes the following photographs were made...

scoping what catches your eye from a rural central wisconsin highway youve somehow never traversed... shoebox wall jammers of the midwest, street skating a humid hole in the ground.

after nicks wedding me and dugs headed south to madison, met up with trevor and skated the new park and then on to the halfpipe park for twilight grinds and dusky busters...

sorry bout'cha arm larry. blunt fakie in the dark.

t-bird lets lippy

you ever skate with just half a wheel on the front? thats some post apocalyptic uber new school shit.

skated estabrook a few times as well. visits home - the great history massager

joe bluntslides over the bench and i botch the exposure. somewhere in a pile is an unscanned fuji print of evan fs grinding in the same spot. just imagine it.

ben hess wrangled a backside smith on this precarious bmx-inspired wallride setup. i think bikers call this a "sub-box" but i could be wrong - that may only refer to a box set back slightly on the deck of a qp. bmx terminology [while i do give them credit for not entirely stealing all of skating's lexicon] has always grossed me out a bit - seems like theres a lot of over the top goofy yet unapologetically barbaric vibes in the mix. ah maybe i just cant get the sound of xgames announcers losing their shit over dudes frantically whirling over huge dirt jumps out of my head... its kind of funny that their degenerate handlebar'd little cousins have co-opted many of those terms for their uninspired scooting needs. anyways, thanks to mike smith and monty nolder, this is not a foofanoo.

on 35 for posterity i suppose

and if you click on the link below [i love explaining that step verbally] you can see the digital version i shot for a friendship ad...

in pursuit of the nip to nip rocket hop [man wasnt someone just dissing bmx terminology?] nick rang his bell pretty good. some of these attempts are on a roll of super8 somewhere in my house. what would drive a person to attempt landing in this position? i wager it has something to do with the glory of exploring and possibly laying claim to previously uncharted waters - not in the name of conquest but for the thrill of discovery.

sean hanley, effortless floater over a harsh hand poured corner. just noticed it looks like hes got a little flag hanging off his sock. give it a year and im sure some desperate skate company will be producing those. by then skaters will probably be wearing extra long jeans without cuffs, thus defeating the purpose of the flag socks, which they will still insist on wearing because the more counter-intuitive your gear is, the better. i fuckin love it. seriously though, gil, thats a super sweet ollie.

the friendship dudes were shooting a video clip for a D3 stress test of some sort...

ben hess did frontside flips - a trick those kicks were built to do. damn it was so odd to see a couple fresh pairs of those things, especially not underneath a pair of baggy jeans or tech'd out swishy shorts. 2001 was a weird year.

actually i think chris WAS wearing b-ball shorts. this drive-by splash test proves the boots will keep your socks dry

another entry in the 'battered t-shirts of skaters' collection. no one did it like pat connelly.

potential nbd for the D3 - laced around the wang

you gotta be thorough when youre testing product

they did some kind of logo contest and i had an idea that i experimented with but never refined. initial tests that are off mark in ways you dont expect can be jarring like that. get over it and get to it.

luckily experiments go well sometimes. super8 projects comin sooner than later.

of course i skated the hometown park...

evan does nosepicks grabbing stale. mike maldonado was the first dude i saw do that and it blew my mind. now that im looking at it, this may be the easiest way to learn that grab.

matt logan, bike rack terror

decisive moments 

nosegrind with a tuck knee. pretty rad. always dug the trees outside the DTP but never shot through them. never actually shot that many photos down there at all really, considering the hours spent.

another day i rolled by to take photos of stuff id seen, and it was wet out so it was nice and quiet

idle hands

water beading on a waxed surface, another subtle secret we get

i bet spine ramps are going to get super popular in the next few years

went on a quick loop with the boys. we stopped at more food co-ops than skateparks. had to whip around at lacrosse for a little bit...

after years of avoidance i finally charged up this monster and got a smithstall. the secret is to think about mike v while you push up to it. the secret is to not be an asshole.

dad dropped in on this

wisconsin dells


i scanned some old 4x6 prints the day BA came out

"skateboarding got a much needed and long overdue kick in its homophobic sac this week. brian anderson rules. this is me and my bud eric with the man himself at a tum yeto demo, mundelein illinois, april 2000."

lee had a trampoline in his yard. pretty sure those are emerica 'echo' shoes tied into my first deck - an 8 inch purple powell blank [got it with indy stage 7s and 61mm black/yellow swirl spitfires]. guessing this was 9th grade.


had to put this one on the fridge when i saw it. some huge and mellow rollerblader halfpipe behind a manufacturing building in racine. kickturns and rock'n'rolls all day. possibly shot by my mom. thats the best thrift store t-shirt i ever had: "i may go down in flames for it but i will never burn it"

back to the future...
while we're in a brief color zone, heres 2 i stole from shaun d's facebook...

the rule is youre not done with your trucks til the axle breaks. i rode some fully cracked hangers for months until just last week my wheel went flying off in a 50-50 up the ledge at lazy 5. comparatively an easy one but a life hammer nonetheless. 

a smithgrind on one of those dipped zipper benches way out at the end of civilization towards pyramid. classy shot shaun.

youre supposed to stand wherever you need to

cool that these are still available. rode one on a natural stain in high school. sometime last year i discovered mailbox address stickers. no more cutting up alien workshop or black label stickers to get the under-the-front-wheel 13.

david hall blasts over the 13. perfectly headless.

build up, stay cryptic

finally bootlegged the hesh trip footage in october. i am still editing that. its gonna be a longy. plus a bunch of wacky photos. that was july of 2015.

neighborhood watch

ah that explains it
or maybe it doesnt

classic had a street plant demo in the parking lot in october. i built some new stuff and we moved the big ramps the night before...

carnel rules

cutting masonite bricks? it may be constitutional to oblige the obligatory black flag bars.

made some experimental pvc sliders that fit together and had 'shingled' sections of pipe for unidirectional grinds [though you could slide upstream if you didnt have rails on your deck].

street plant demo was a skate jam from the get-go. way cooler vibe for an event. didnt get any good shots of sid enck jr, but this bailer is pretty poetic.

mike v, pissing

joey jett, casual air

knew i was going to see a mike v airwalk


ran out of black'n'white so i threw in a mystery shitty roll of expired color...

i like these 2 shots of mike v and javier together. its rad that these are the tricks going down on a parking lot ramp with osb templates in 2017. grabbin and plantin. 

javier figured out fs airs on this little deal, fuckin insane. looks like i didnt get any photos of svitak, but he ripped as well - 180'd a garbage can on flat.

another expired roll of slide film, another day hanging around in a parking lot which i have mixed feelings about...

you can really only do that if the company is good

burlington coat factory wifi hotspot

hey jason, go jump off that thing. ok.

hey jason, go kickflip off that thing. ok.

bates battled a caveman on a steep wooly mammoth tusk...

these are always fun to time

a valiant caveman but the mammoth won

sup fwank

point'n'shoot challenge 2016: time a photo of a boardslide up the tranny of the serif portion of a gigantic steel E

tyler in the big bank ditch thing, drop in, push push push, back up the wall to bluntslide

we skated a truck the day i found that metal top for the box i built...

scaught, crook

hackel, bs smith

a weak attempt at "color correcting"

from here i like the weight of that big metal object. a bs smith looks great too. after the last few rolls, its official - the cloth curtain on the kiev 60 can no longer keep up with 1/1000th. 

heres some outta context expired slide film that i had from who knows where/when...

not bad, alan

this must feel fuckin amazing

trevor going dogtown

mitch, layback

i kinda feel like that right now

this is a frame in a flipbook sequence of darkroom prints made with some hand processed super 8 film. i was getting all ambitious and had a show lined up for early 2017 but i called it for a number of reasons. im scoffing more now than ever at deadlines for farting into the wind. would much rather be spending time on a skateboard than pouring efforts into unworthy venues. somethin bout picking battles maybe.