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.
D: Dave Chami
D: Oakland California but originally from Pukekohe New Zealand
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