ray barbee

“The challenge for me is to keep it visually interesting”

You’re renowned for your skate pics, but do you ever get involved in other photographic projects that take you away from the poolside?

Well, like I mentioned earlier, I shoot commercially – It’s how I pay the bills. I’ve been working on a lot of food shoots lately. I enjoy all photography, but given the choice of shooting a burrito for Del Taco or a back smith in a pool … that’s a no brainer. HAHA

You still shooting any film, or is it all digital these days?

I shoot film when I can. But mostly digital. I am a true photo geek. I have built many odd film cameras and they’ve been collecting way too much dust lately. Today, it’s just more practical to shoot digital. But if it’s something really good I’ll reach for the film camera.

Your shots always look so ‘clean’ – what’s your secret!!??

I get asked this question a lot. Or the question is what camera are you using, what stobe, or what’s your favorite f-stop? I just laugh.В  I don’t have any secrets. It’s not about the gear. Photography is about light. I share what works for me. But it comes down to understanding light.

For the benefit of us photo-geeks, what’s your usual equipment setup for a session?

I’m a Nikon guy. I was slow to make the digital jump and all my film cameras were Nikon. So I’ve stuck with it. I use Quantum Q-flash and I also have some modified lighting gear. Dynalite studio heads on norman 400b’s.

You’re a master of shooting ramps, bowls, and pools – do you ever do any ‘street’ work, or is it all about the transition?

I wouldn’t say I’m a master. HAHA – I just shoot what I relate too. My roots are in bowls and pools. But, I jump at the chance to shoot street. The street environment allows for interesting compositions.

Look at Anthony Acosta’s work. He really sees graphically and the environment is as important as the skating in his photos. I’ll be honest, sometimes shooting pools, bowl. etc. I feel like I’m taking the same photo over and over again.

The challenge for me is to keep it visually interesting. I’ve been messing around with photoshop and creating different looks. It’s a balancing act. It’s really easy to take the photoshop stuff too far.

[Opposite: "Ray Barbee . Ray has become a good friend and he has a passion for photography."]

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