For those of us who have reached a certain age, Jim Goodrich needs little in the way of introduction. Like most skate photographers from back-in-the-day, Jim Goodrich ate, slept, drank and lived skateboarding – deep on the frontline. As a staff photographer for Skateboarder Magazine in the late 70′s, Jim captured some of the most powerful images in an age where it was all so fresh and the anticipation that anything could (and probably would) happen was as compelling as it was exciting.
In the following interview, Jim reveals some fascinating insights into the ‘scene’ around that time, but the part that I found most revealing is a snippet recent conversation that we had regarding the impact that his images in Skateboarder were having around the world…
“I often wished that I could have stepped outside the inside of skating and view it from an outsider’s viewpoint. I always knew what was going into the magazine months before it was ever printed, so I never had that wow factor in opening each issue when it came out. And there was never any mystery about what was going on since I lived it and knew the truth behind each story.
But I got to live it, so that made up for everything else (laughs).”
Jim, on your website you say that you “take life seriously but not myself” – how has this philosophy helped or hindered your approach to photography?
“My philosophy helps me in every aspect of my life. I’m very passionate about life, but realize that taking myself too seriously usually sets me up for disappointment when things don’t go the way I plan.”
When and where did you first get into skateboarding?
“I got into skating through my brother in 1976. I had no clue about the current skate scene and just skated for fun on the street and sidewalks. I eventually discovered where the ditches and backyard pools were through other skaters, who also introduced me to La Costa, which is where my career in skateboarding started.”
At what point did you start shooting skate photographs?
“I broke my arm skating early on and started shooting photos of my skater friends while my arm was healing. I went back to skating again, but I started spending more and more time shooting photos.”
[Opposite: Goodrich fondles a box of Kodachrome 64 slide film. 1979]