“I stared at magazines for hours”

I guess like most kids that were raised in the mid-80’s, (pre YouTube days), you got stoked on skateboarding through images in magazines?

I stared at magazines for hours. I think I may have only heard 15% of everything my teachers said thanks to skate mags. All of those early photos from Grant, Spike, Luke, Bryce, etc were so amazing to me.

Were you interested in photography before you started reading skate mags, or did the two things happen together?

I was always interested in photography, but as soon as I saw the fish eye photos from obscure angles in skate mags – I was hooked. I knew when I was 13 after looking through my first skate mag that is what I wanted to do.

Who were the photographers that inspired you to take up the craft?

Originally it was a wide variety of photographers. Everyone from Richard Avedon to Ansel Adams to Walter Iooss. There is a photo Walter Iooss shot of Jordan from above dunking on a blue basketball court. There is the raddest shadow on the court.

I know the exact photo you’re talking about – it’s so rad!

It is fucking amazing! That photo was certainly an inspiration for the PJ tre flip photo. As far as skate photographers – there are so many. All of the ones I mentioned above had a huge impact on me. There are a few guys these days that still get me stoked and push me just like when I was a kid. Guys like Atiba and Oliver.

I believe that you got your first camera (a used Nikon F3) at a swap-meet. That’s a pretty great piece of kit to get you started…!?

Yeah – my parents were always so supportive. My mom even gave up a portion of her laundry area for my dark room. She really loved doing laundry so that meant a lot to me! HaHa! Even after I moved to SF in 94 – they helped me buy camera gear to get started.

I love the story of Lance Mountain replying to your letter [inset]. What did that mean to you at the time, and what impact has his advice had over the years?

It had a huge impact on me. It is very simple and true. I still think about those few sentences on that post card to this day. I’ve actually passed the same advice along to others. Hope Lance isn’t mad about that…..

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Lance Mountain

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