Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dave Chami Interview

I'm kinda sitting here trying to get my head around how to usher this one in. F*#k it, here it goes. Mr. Chami is on super look up to status, his shots have been admired by myself and countless other skateboarder oglers, and they may not even know it, for a long ass time. For me to have him here and fielding questions and providing everybody with a gallery of some stellar stuff has got me all ramped up! So while I ride a high you all take a few moments to read and look and maybe catch a bit of a contact yourselves.


C: Name
D: Dave Chami

C: Age
D: Skateboarder

C: Location
D: Oakland California but originally from Pukekohe New Zealand

C: Profession
D: Photographer (Senior Photographer for Transworld Skateboarding magazine)

C: How long have you been shooting skating?
D: Since 2001 so 9 years

C: What kind of steps did you take to become the well published photographer you are today?
D: It just started out as a fun thing to do, to shoot photos of my friends skating and learn about photography through trial and error. I just shot lots of photos and when I thought the ones that I was shooting were good enough to be printed in a magazine I started sending them in. I never imagined that I could ever make a living from doing this but strangely enough that's what has happened

C: You get to shoot some famous people in the industry. That must be pretty exciting.
D: Yes but it's just as exciting to be shooting a photo of a buddy who is ripping. I do still get nervous shooting skaters that I admire, particularly if I've just met them.
Actually the first big gig that was thrown my way was to shoot the entire Lakai team in Australia in 2006, I remember O'Meally calling me and asking if I could do it and of course I said yes but I remember just sitting stunned for about half an hour or so afterwords. It was scary and exciting that I was going to be shooting some of my favorite skateboarders, especially Guy Mariano cause he had just gotten back on the scene.

C: It looks like you get to travel a bunch, is that fun?
D: It's definitely the biggest perk of the job, to experience different cultures and places, just to see how different people live. A few years ago my wife Sam really pushed me to travel, we were living in Australia and I was pretty content there but I finally relented and we went and lived in Europe for a couple of years. That experience of having to fend for ourselves in a foreign country where English isn't the first language was so valuable for me and ended up opening a lot of doors. Sometimes on skate trips you really don't experience too much of the local culture because you're so busy with demos or filming and shooting photos so I plan to keep travelling as much as possible no matter what I'm doing for a job, I have the bug now!

C: Outside of skating what is your favorite thing to shoot?
D: My wife Sam

C: Digital, film, or both?
D: This question is so hard for me because I still can't figure out how i feel about digital. I use both but I'm always happier with the film that I shoot, it just always looks better to me. I started out shooting film so to me digital is almost like cheating and you completely miss out on that moment of going to the lab with butterflies in your stomach wondering if you fucked it up or not, some photographers probably don't miss that but I do... I guess the process of exposing film and the care you have to take is more of an exact art than digital photography. There are also so many more options as far as equipment if you shoot film, like different cameras and formats, and I've always found playing with something new keeps it fresh. Of course there are the obvious advantages with digital, it's a lot faster, you can correct things on the spot and if you do make a pigs arse of it you'll probably be able to fix it in post anyways.

C: Formal schooling, apprenticeships, or self taught?
D: I went to film school and worked on movies and tv commercials as a clapper/loader in New Zealand so I understood the relationship between film, shutter speeds, and exposures, composition and lighting etc. I applied that knowledge to shooting skateboarding and picked up some tips on using flashes etc from a couple of guys who were kind enough to impart a little knowledge, thanks Rene Vaile and Mike O'Meally

C: What are the things you like best about going on a shoot? The things you most dislike?
D: I like being outside and having fun skating with friends and the fact that you never know what the day is going to bring, as much as you might try to plan things out shit just never works quite as you envision, and I like that. I like everything about shooting skateboarders but I dislike the cops and anyone who tries to tell me what to do.

C: What might be a dream gig come true for you?
D: Being given the opportunity to move to America and shoot for Transworld was pretty fkn amazing, my boss Skin Phillips took a chance on me and I'm really grateful for that, cheers Skin! Asides from that it would be awesome to get involved with a company and shoot a whole advertising campaign, but to be honest I'm pretty happy with how things are.

C: Any advice you would share with up and coming photographers out there.
D: Get stuck in, don't be afraid to experiment or ask questions, there is a wealth of information on the internet too. Use different cameras, shoot your friends for practise and have fun with it

C: Thanks so much for your time, I super appreciate it. Any shout outs as we close this up?
D: Thanks to my wife Sam and anyone who has shot photos with me or run one of my photos

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Santa Rosa Meets Jersey Barrier

What to do today with a bit of spare time....something kinda boring or skating? Ok I'll go skate and see what shakes out. Berkeley filled my need for a session then what next? Oh yea that cat Antonio skates all the time so I will give him a call and see whats crackin'. He is down and with him is Steven, time for introductions. Antonio Gilmore and Steven Tran are homies from Santa Rosa. They both have great attitudes and are down to session what ever. They know some spots, I know some spots and between the three of us I see a lot of great things happinin'. These are a couple of shots taken at a jersey barrier over in Emeryville. Oh and there will be more to come from these troopers!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bruce Rodela Interview

Do I know much about Bruce? No. A cool guy? Seems that way. Been part of the scene for a while? For sure. In the game cuz he loves it? Hell yea. What does he do? All kinds of sweet stuff. Should I give a damn? Read the interview and decide for yourself!


C: Hey Bruce welcome, we will start with the basics. Name, age, location, occupation.
B: NAME - Bruce Rodela AKA: Rodzilla ,Juan Hector Smith, Sheki Larue the French Jew
Location- East Bay Northern California
1. Dad and Husband
2. Sales and Marketing Manager for ASF Distribution
3. Owner, Photographer, Team Manager, Marketing genius,
Snuggle Blogger, Spiritual Advisor, Joint Roller, Beer Buyer, Driver, Maid
and driving force behind Vertical Smile Skateboards

C: Give me a little bit of background with you and ASF/Vertical smile.
B: ASF came out of nowhere. I was just getting out of a real shitty business deal with some less than moral or intelligent business partners and was laying low looking for something good to sink my skills into. I just finished my morning bong rip (for medical reasons of course) and answered a job posting for the missing piece of a skateboard manufacturers puzzle. Steve, the overlord of ASF, got back to me and we discussed what we could do help each others incomplete lives and here we are 3 years later making those dreams come true.Those of you who don’t know ASF’s side of the skate industry we are the best choice in making those 7 ply shred sticks you step on everyday. Our wood fucking rules!
The idea of Vertical Smile started between a few years ago with my friend Keith Cochrane and myself when I was working at Think Skateboards .The basic idea is to have a home for skateboarders who don't really give a fuck about playing by the industry's narrow rules of engagement but deserve to be hooked up nonetheless. A place for guys you see murdering a spot one day and 5 years later you see them with the same shirt on and still killing it. The kind of dudes that just don't care about jumping through hoops for a free skateboard is what we are after. Our riders have attitude, moral, drug and social problems and instead of it being a deterrent for being sponsored I look at it as a big check in the plus column. It goes both ways though because I don’t care to be a big time skate photographer myself for the same reasons that the riders aren’t going for X Games gold. With Vertical Smile now everyone get boards, gets to travel, gets to film and take photos like everyone else but still be complete fuck ups. It’s pretty awesome actually. You can check a lot of the action out at
While VS was never going to get of the ground at Think I now have the unfair advantage of a full state of the art wood shop behind VS and we are exploiting it. I can say with full confidence our wood is the best in the business but instead of trying milk larger margins at VS we will always pass the savings on to the hardcore skateboarder by offering a top deck at better prices. I also put all of my profits back into road trips and filming/ photo missions and beer. It’s a killer situation.

C: Photography is the shtick here so lets discuss that a bit. A brief background on how you got into photography.
B: I was wondering aimlessly through life on a drug fueled skate mission and luckily was asked one day what I was going to do with my life. You pay a little more attention to the question when it’s your future mother in law asking you so I blurted out the first thing I could think of- and that was photographer. I don’t give shit in my life much thought, I definitely act on impulses and first ideas, so I bought a camera from a drug dealer friend of mine and signed up for some photo classes the very next day. Luckily the little po dunk school I went to had incredible teachers and I ended up learning all the technical and artist aspects of photography one could hope for. My schooling for skate photography however came from my homey’s back in the day- dudes like Jacob Tillman , Bobby Wass, the Parente brothers, all the OG Think dudes like Paul Zuanich, Tim Mckenney, Jesse Paez and most importantly Phil Shao. It was just so easy to shoot those guys back then and it never felt like work. The tricks were made faster and smoother and they always let me re take the same shot over and over till I got it right. It was real fun back then, it was all new and my friends were the best skaters around- you can’t beat that ya know. So I started getting stuff published pretty fast –about 4 months after I picked up my camera I believe. The photo that got used was a small Thrasher AD of Joe Lopes for a small company out of Oakland by the name of Confusion Skateboards- I was hyped.. A little while after that I got a small photo of Phil in Slap then came the ads for Think and their various companies. I needed money though, skate photos didn’t pay shit, so I took a sales position at Think that Phil pushed for. I figured make some of that big sales money and work my way in deeper at the mags in my spare time. I started to string a few words together and began writing articles here and there for Slap, Strength, Heckler, Concussion and even one article for Thrasher. The articles sucked ass though for the most part, it just wasn’t working out being a full time rep and continuing to pursue the photo thing. That coupled with the fact that Phil got into a unfortunate accident that took his life. It was such a pleasure shooting him that everyone that came after with the exception of Jacob Tillman was just a second place finisher. I mean I kept it going for a while after his death but I was just going through the motions. Skating was changing big time too -photos got harder to get because of the difficulties of the moves, the guys I were shooting were getting younger and my responsibilities at Think got more intense. That and I just wasn’t skating enough and that can get you depressed as fuck. So shooting just wasn’t fun anymore so I made a conscious decision that I would start shooting photos again when I couldn’t skate at a certain level anymore and that’s where I am at now. I am finally at a point where I can say I am fucking ruined- I can barley walk down stairs at this point and if I want to other physical activities for the rest of my life I had to put myself on mellow mode on the board. Surprisingly though I am accepting my lot in life and enjoying taking photos way more than before.

C: I can remember first seeing your photography and being very impressed, do you shoot film or digital or both?
B: All of the stuff you are referring to is digital. I fucking love digital! I’m not one of those old film guys that waxes poetically about the good old days of film. They both serve a purpose and they both fucking rule. I am not taking sides in either formats battle of supremacy.

C: Any photographers out there that provide inspiration?
B: You, Ansel Adams, all of group f.64, Daniel Sturt, Kate and Gier Jordahl, Glen Friedman, Joe Brook, Richard Avedon, micha bar-am, Atiba, grant Brittan, Margaret Boaurke white, Henri Cartier Bresson, Gabe Mordford, Phillipe Halsman, Robert Doisneau, Andre Kertsz, W. Eugene smith, Alfred Steiglitz, Jerry Uelsmann and Brian Gaberman

C: How do you handle post production?
B: Smoke a joint, drink some wine and get into some Photoshop / alien skin exposure action- mostly in my underwear. I haven’t printed in the darkroom in years so I won’t go into that process.

C: Besides shooting the vertical smile team do you work with other skaters?
B: Not at the moment. I mean if I see somebody I don’t know and I want to shoot they end up becoming a part of the smile. I am only here to get my friends some nice photos they can show their grandkids.

C: Any piece of equipment you favor or could not live without?
B: Nikon d300! I love that thing!!!!!

C: What is your favorite thing about shooting skating?
B: When the trick, lighting and composition all come together in big buttery image!

C: What is your least favorite thing?
B: Sore back and neck! It also bums me the fuck out when I forget to change from sequence size to still size and I get a beautiful shot that is super small. I don’t smoke weed before I shoot anymore to prevent that tragedy.

C: A bit of advice you might give to would be photographers out there?
B: Shoot everything at a feverous pace- not just skating
Know the basics- just cuz you have tight pants, a track bike and a old 35mm camera around your neck it doesn’t mean your lame out of focus shots are art.
Have rich parents to support your habit.

C: Thanks a ton for fielding my questions, I super appreciate it. Anything the folks should be on the look out for, and or any shout outs?
B: My beautiful wife Noel and my bad ass son Nick Cash, my dogs, Steve and the crew at ASF, Antonio Lalo Pimental from Calsiskatz, 621, Joe Virchis, Tim Marting, Skatepark Victoria, AUOK, Davis Street, all the people involved in the OG Think crew especially Phil Shao and Keith Cochrane, yoga chitta vritti nirodha, all the shit heads in life that showed me how I shouldn’t live, and last and certainly not least all you Vertical Smile fucks- James, Zach, Ryan, Gerardo, Jack, Moose, Jesse, Jesse, Muff, Stinky Steve, Ralph, Mikey P, Yunker, Allan, BDK and Struve- You guys fucking rule.

Augie Photobloggie

This kid I know, Augie, gets good grades, cleans his room , makes his bed, and regularly touches base with his mom while out on skate sessions. He is one of those know what I mean. The other thing Augie is, is a what do they call em? Oh yea a Ginger. Apparently Gingers have no soul, but when Augie gets on his board soul or not he is down for the cause!! A few snaps of "Mr. no soul" doing what he does. And by the by I'm Ginger too and I know I got soul sucka'.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weston Colton Interview

"Gunslinger" right? Yup for me that's the kind of image that comes to mind when I hear this guys name but let me tell you the thing he is slingin' is bomb photos. I came upon Mr. Colton on the flickr, and as I began to put him under the scope to get a better handle on him it was clear he would get on the blog. Hunker down by the fire and give a listen as Weston and my self exchange chatter, and don't forget to take a gander at his right purty photographs. Get along you little doggies.


C: Name, age, location, profession?
W: Weston Colton, Utah USA, Photographer

C: What got you started shooting skating?
W: Skateboarding is actually what got me into photography. I have skated for about 14 years. My friends and I used to make our own skate videos, and we were filming all the time. At some point, I thought it would be cool to document our sessions with photos too. I borrowed my dad's old Olympus OM1 with a 28mm and a 50mm lens, and started shooting. All I knew was that I needed to adjust the aperture and shutter speed until I got the light meter needle in the middle. I started reading this old Time/Life series of photography books from the '70s and learned how to use my camera.

C: Your work is tight. Have you had any work published?
W: Thanks. I have had some work published. As for skateboarding, I shoot for a couple Utah magazines. SLUG Magazine is a Salt Lake City based mag that covers music and culture, as well as the local skate and snowboard scene. Every summer they put on a renegade street skating contest at 3-4 local spots around the city. It's pretty crazy. This summer was the first time the cops have shown up.
I have also had work published in Arkade Magazine, another Utah snow/skate mag. I have also had a few photos published on the Element website, Hurley website, DLX distribution site, and I shot the photo that Greg Hunt uses as his blog profile photo on The Skateboard Mag's website. I was super pumped on that.
As for non-skateboard work, I shoot for Utah Valley University with University Marketing. Part of my job is shooting for the schools alumni magazine.
I have shot some album covers for local musicians that have gotten major coverage. I had a photo published in Paste Magazine of one of the artists. I was pretty pumped on that.

C: Film or digital or both?
W: I learned to shoot on film. I still love the aesthetic and everything about film, but out of convenience I've shot mostly digital the last 4 years or so. I'll admit, learning to light skate photos came a lot easier with digital. However, I am very glad that I learned to shoot on film first.
The Polaroid shot of the crook was shot on a 4x5 view camera. I want to shoot more large format skate stuff.

C: Do you have any photographers you look up to or that inspire you?
W: There are so many. As far as skate photographers, I really like Brain Gaberman, especially his older large format work. I like Scott Pommier, Joe Brook, Jon Humphries, Jonathan Mehring is really underrated. French Fred shoots some amazing photos.
Other photographers that I like and that have influenced me are Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, Richard Avedon, Steven Klein, Carlos Serrao, Eugenio Recuenco, Christopher Griffith, Jeremy and Claire Weiss, Sam Milianta, John Rees... too many to list.

C: Thoughts on the flickr community?
W: I think Flickr is great. It is a place where anyone can show and share their photography with a worldwide audience. I was really surprised when I had people from Europe and South America adding me as a contact. I am also amazed by how much great photography and skateboarding is out there being done purely for the love of it. I consider myself one of those people shooting skating for the love of it. I'm not making money shooting skateboarding.

C: Is there a publication or site out there you would be super juiced to be published in?
W: Communication Arts Photo Annual would be amazing. I would be pumped to get a photo into Slap, Transworld, Skateboarder, or The Skateboard Mag.

C: Do you get support from folks to continue what you do?
W: My wife is my number one supporter. If she didn't back my dreams, I would probably be doing something else for a living. My parents have been supportive too.

C: Do you travel much to get material?
W: I shoot most of my skate photos in the tri-county area around Salt Lake City, UT. I would love to take more skate trips, but being married and having a child, and a job make that difficult. If only I could get paid to take a road trip and shoot skate photos...

C: I see you skate, thats tight. Photography or skating first love?
W: Skateboarding was the first love.

C: Ok lets wrap this up with the "what would be your dream job" question, also feel free to give shout outs at this point. Thanks for your time and continue to do what you do.
W: Dream job...getting an inhouse position with a company like DLX. Take Blabac for example. He is in-house photographer for DCShoeCo. He has a salary, job security, gets to shoot skating, portraits, product, travel the world, access to top skaters, magazine connections for editorial work, etc. Sounds pretty good to me.

I want to thank my wife, Erin, for all her support and believing in me, my family, my skate crew growing up Team Monroe, Sam Milianta. My photography professors -- John Rees, Paul Adams, John Telford, and Val Brinkerhoff. I want to thank all the skaters that I have shot with. And thanks to you, Christian for asking me to do this interview.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mind If I Cut In?

Christian you would expect someone else. I'm excited to say the reaction to Jason's gallery was tremendous. Looks like folks appreciate a great piece of art when they see it. I have about 5 count em' 5 assorted interviews and other peoples stuff brewin' out there as we speak. So I decided to put up a few shots I have managed to capture over the past few days, seeing as how there will be a big push to get other folks up in here. Keep you eye on the blog to see some hitters stepping up to the plate to slap one outta the park like our good friend Jason.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jason C Arnold Interview

Can't say where I first came across Jason's work. It was one of two places, King Shit, or maybe Fecal Face. Actually now that I'm writing this I feel pretty sure it was King Shit. Bottom line I was stoked on the work. As most folks know, Stick It was originally launched with the idea of photography as the main drive but the blog has evolved to cover all kinds of skating related material. Jason is gonna break the cherry on what will hopefully be a long standing representation of skate related art. Lets see Jason's "o" face as I grill him and display a small gallery of his work.


C: Name, age, location, and profession.
J: Jason Arnold, 33, San Francisco California. Layout/graphic design.

C: Some of your work is heavily skate influenced. How long ago did these arts collide?
J: The last 8 months I've pretty much been working on this skate series….It just makes sense because I love skating and I love painting so I thought it would be cool to combine the 2. I also like the fact that you have to skate, or know about skating to get most of these paintings. But on the flip side it seems harder to get art shows, but fuck it. My overall goal by the end of summer is to have a huge portrait collection of all the OG legend skaters like Tom Penny, Gonz, ect…

C: How do you come up with concepts like the Anti pope, Gandhi, Ollie lama series?
J: Just from books/photos….I'll come across an interesting photo and then try and figure out how to incorporate skating into it.

C: Are you contracted by any companies or individuals to generate your work?
J: Naw, I just do it all on my own for fun. I’ve done a few commission paintings for some people but that’s about it. I really don’t like doing commission paintings because I'd rather just paint what ever I want without being stressed out about it. It sort of takes the fun out of painting. But that’s the good part about also having a full time job, it lets me just keep painting as a hobby.

C: What is your favorite medium?
J: Oil paint….its harder to figure out, but once you have it figured out its easier to use…if that makes any sense. The shitty part is that its really expensive…..painting keeps me poor as shit but its worth it.

C: I saw on your blog that you can belt some stuff out. What is the average pace at which you work?
J: It depends on the size…..the portraits usually take 2 to 3 days. The first day is the drawing…inking…under painting…second day is the next layer…then the 3rd day is detail. Highlights and darks. The bigger paintings take about a week.

C: Could you talk to me a bit about your training. School, apprenticeships, or just busting your ass?
J: Yeah I never went to art school….I just figured it out on my own. I figure it’s like skating…there is no skate school, but people still figure it out. You just have to be motivated to want to figure it out on your own. It takes time but its worth it in the end.

C: When you aren't painting what else are you up to?
J: Skating the Potrero park or skating San Jose with the homies. Drinking…. And I also have a full time job. But my all time favorite thing to do is to watch skate videos with a few tall cans with the homies.

C: Do you have any opinion on gallery shows?
J: I used to be really into them and would try to go to them a lot (that’s one of the reasons I originally moved to San Francisco)….but now I'm just sort of over the whole art scene here is SF. But there is a good gallery here called White Walls and their shows are usually pretty good. And you can drink 40’s in there while looking at art. And there is always hot art chicks in there.

C: Hey Jason I just want to say thanks a ton for fielding my questions. Is there anything we should be on the look out for from you in the near future?
J: Yeah I just shot a photo for that “canvas” section in Thrasher that should be out in April/May….other than that just trying to finish this skate series. Right now I'm at 22 paintings, but I'm sure when the weather gets nice I'll slow down.