You know, back in the day, cell phones and digital video and digital still-shot cameras didn’t exist for us. Heck, we didn‘t have cell phones either! We really had to rely on cameras with film (so you never knew what you were shooting until you developed the film) or very large and obnoxious VHS video camera that weighed twenty pounds and had to sit on your shoulder to get any footage. So as a result of all that, most of us just focused on finding pools and riding them. Some of us knew photographers who we could bring to pools or spots and record the session or try and create a shot that would be remembered forever. This was really the golden age of skateboarding. A photograph of a single image in skateboarding, I believe is SO much more powerful than a moving sequence. It leaves so much more to the viewers’ imagination, and you had to wait a whole month for it to come out in a magazine! I think Lance Mountain captured this reality in his new book titled “On my Wall” perfectly. In his book Lance states “Those first images in the magazines expanded my idea of what was possible on a skateboard…You would just see a skater in a wild position and try and understand how he got there and if they were able to land it.” Lance goes on to say more about how powerfully inspirational some of the early images were, that inspired us all to go out and find the pools and recreate or create a new insanely iconic or radical Image. (I highly recommend picking up a copy of his new book!)
I have been very fortunate to have been shot by some of the greatest skateboard photographers in the world such as, Craig Fineman, Wynn Miller, Craig Stecyk, Glen Friedman, Jim Goodrich, Stan & Bill Sharp, and of course Daniel Harold Sturt (who shot the image of me doing the Loop of Death- Padless.) This brings me to the topic of what and how some of the greatest and most iconic skateboard photos were created. What exactly are the elements of an iconic photo? In my opinion, it comes down to three elements. 1) The terrain. It should be either a new challenge or obstacle. Some that come to mind are The Loop of Death, The Great Wall of China and the Guitar Sign at the Hard Rock Cafe. All are locations of iconic photos. 2) A new move (or trick) something that is new, cutting edge and radical! 3) The MOST important thing I believe is STYLE! Every iconic image, all the way back to Tony Alva’s first perfect tuck-knee frontside air in the DogBowl, to Jay Adam’s frontside snap at Krypto Bowl, where his Tracker Trucks and Green Kryptonics are hitting the coping so hard, it’s literally lifting from the force, were done without safety equipment of any kind. Now I’m not endorsing anyone to ride helmetless and padless, but there is just something SO Pure about just you, your skateboard, and the terrain that makes a photo timeless. Now go skateboarding! Wear your helmet!
God Bless, HACKMAN!
Thank you to David Hackett for the words and Aaron Sedway for the image. Skate – Ozzie