Duane Peters | Punk City Downhill | 'Skateboarder Mag' June 1980 & 'Built To Grind' Indy Book 2005

History shows they were right

One of my favorite shots of yours is one that I remember seeing when I wasВ about 14, the black and white photo of a young Duane Peters just squatting and cruising on his board. Such an iconic photograph, and one that manages to capture such a gnarly attitude without any thrashing, grinding and planting involved. What do you remember about taking that shot?

I just really remember the day we took that shot. Fausto wanted us to try and get some street skating shots and it ended up being a classic shot. I remember getting a pressure shot drop off a wall taken that day also for an Indy ad with Duane.

Fausto knew that street skating had to grow to be able to save skateboarding so he and Rich Novak of Santa Cruz skates pushed me to get riders published in the streets. History shows they were right.

For you, what makes a great skate photograph?

To me it’s catching the subject doing a trick to the best of our ability. It’s a combination of a skater working with the photographer and getting them in a setting that best portrays what we were trying to do.

Can you think of any examples that fit this description?

My Robert Chadwick ditch shot for one. Another is one of my favorite all time skate shots – Steve Caballero’s frontside handplant shot at Winchester Skatepark and some of the other shots of Steve taken that day for his interview.В  There is a lot more, and I could talk forever about them all if I could.

When did you start shooting bands and live music?

Actually it was right after I moved back up north after Skateboarder Mag changed to Action Now. They wanted to run a piece on the music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area in late 1980 and early 1981.

Was it a natural evolution from skate photography or was it a new departure?

Since the piece got published, the bands in the San Francisco Bay Area liked what I did. I actually shot the bands using multiple flashes, so it seemed like an easy transition for me back then that only lasted for a short time, because I still had a day job as a printing press operator. My day job made it really hard to shoot the main acts that I did work with back then because I didn’t get much sleep. The bands usually didn’t play until almost midnight or later and I’d have to be back to work sometimes the next morning at 9 am. I had to give that up after a while.


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