I had to move closer to the action

What was it like shooting poolside then, and how do you think it’s changed over the years?

It was amazing being there and, if you think about it, only a few people get that chance and I will always be grateful for being a part of it.

What has changed is how many photographers that are shooting now and how much coverage the sport gets from all the different magazines and websites that cover the sport. Plus (photographic) equipment has changed also, like digital, which I love.

Who were you shooting in the early days?

In Reno we didn’t have the big pros, but the ones that got published from the Reno days were Robert Chadwick, Mike Ford and Tony Howard.

In 1977, I decided that if I was going to make it as a skate photographer, I had to move closer to the action.

My Mom lived in Concord California about 30 miles east of San Francisco. I found out that the SF Bay Area was an up and coming spot for new pros so I moved in with my Mom and started checking out the skate scene. I also found out about the skateparks in the San Jose area with Winchester Skatepark, and the rest is history. The area didn’t really have many photographers shooting so I found my new home and went to work.

Who were your favourites back then?

Steve Caballero, Scott Foss, Keith Meek, Robert Shafley, Peter Gifford, Rick Blackhart, Tim Marting (I hope I’m not forgetting anyone!!) but those were the main ones in Northern California that I worked with a lot back then. In 1978 I started meeting the Southern California crew and the list of skaters I loved working with grew. Steve Olson, Duane Peters, Brad Bowman, Jay Smith, Steve and Mickey Alba and many more – I loved working with all of them.

Can you describe your relationship with the skaters around that time?

Well since I skated a lot back then, I think the pro skaters respected me more. I actually hung out with them all the time and skated more than I took pictures so it was easy shooting my friends back then. I wasn’t the photographer that just showed up at the skateparks and took photos – I partied with them, skated all the time with them, and became their friend. I lived the life of a skater not just a photographer.


Scott Foss | Winchester Skatepark | Used as an Indy Ad Skateboarder Magazine December 1979.

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