The ambassador from down south. This is probably the way I will forever remember our next guest photographer. I had the pleasure of meeting Theo at about 3 a.m. after road tripping down to the LA/ San Diego area with a bunch of guys from add a trick. We had been on the road for what felt like an eternity, and even though it was mad late Theo put us up at his pad. This first experience set a chill pace for the whole trip. On our way back to the bay I said to myself "I gotta get Mr. Hand up on the blog for sure". Oh and by the way Theo and I chat on "the book" from time to time and this particular interview went down while chatting. Hence the different format.
Welcome to the blog. Lets start with the basic background. Where are you from, where are you now, age, and what you do?
I was born in Vancouver Canada but my parents moved to Marin county CA when I was 7 months old
I lived in the Bay area until about 25 years old
After that I moved to costa mesa for a couple years. Thats when I was working with TSA which is now KREW
After that I went to France for a year and lived with Tom Penny and Ali Boulala to help film the first Flip video
When that was done I decided to move to Los Angeles where I've lived for the last 10 years!
(thats the longest I've lived anywhere!)
Oh yeah, I also lived in Australia for a bit like in 98.
I'm an old school skater now! 36 years old!
been skating and still skate for 25 years!
what else you got?
What do you do professionally?
I've always done both...Still photography as well as motion picture.
When did you and skating find one another?
Around 10 years old I had a friend with one of those little plastic boards and we would take turns sitting on it and bombing the hills by our house
i think by 12 we had some proper boards and we started to learn some tricks.
Street skating hadn’t really been invented yet so we would do bonlesses off curbs and bomb drops off roofs and shit like that
skating down hills was the main thing we did though
S.F. was our skatepark!
I used to play every sport there was. Once I was hooked on skating, i pretty much just forgot about everything else
I was a stoner/skater/jock, so I would get heckeld by the skaters for playin football and then get heckled by the jocks for skating!
You have to remember that this was way befor skating was even a remotley cool in the mainstream.
When you chose to pursue photography how easy/hard was it to get published?
Way easier than it should of been!
I got kinda lucky with that one!
You wanna hear the story?
Break it on down.
other photographers might get pissed!
hear it is......
in 1991 I graduated high school and bought a nikon fm2 from Tobin Yelland (best S.F. photographer ever) I really liked shooting photos but didn't know anything (technically) about it.
So for the next year I was shooting some friends and just trying to figure out how get a proper exposure!
I would go over to Pat Duffys mini ramp (he lived down the street) and shoot stuff over there. One day he told me that there was a new magazine that just started up called Slap and they need a photographer!
He said I should go down there and show them some stuff.
I got in touch with Lance Dawes and went down to there office (in S.F. where Thrasher is) with some random shots I had in a drawer.
Lance was stoked on some of the stuff and told me to keep shooting and he would give me film to see what i could come up with! (No digital cameras yet!)
So i figured i had a potential job if i showed him that i could get some good shots with the film he gave me!
I went back to Slap in about a week or 2 to drop off the film and Lance showed me the advanced copy of the new mag. and it had my picture on the cover!
I kind of thought he had made a fake cover to fuk with me but soon realized he actually gave me a cover shot with one of those shots that I brought in the week before!
I was trippin! First published shot for me was the cover of Slap! It was the Nov. 93!
That's a rad story.
ok next question...
I know you travel a bit does that stoke you?
I would not live in L.A. if I didn't get to travell!
There's really nothing better than getting to experience new spots!
It's the best way to learn!
You are involved in a pretty sweet project right now...could you tell us a bit about it?
I'm in the process of producing a t.v. show with 7 professional skateboarders
Were trying to show the world what it is that we really do in our world.
No corny scripted fantasy life
I don't think the public has much of an idea what this life is really like.
Rob and Bam have shown a really fun and entertaining side of the life but it doesn't really show a more realistic view of what it takes to maintain a professional skateboarding career!
So that's what were trying to do as well as promote all the projects that were involved with.
I'm really excited about it actually
Go to www.skatelifeshow.com
I’ll link that up for sure!!
The 7 skater list is pretty amazing!
Go to the full length promo vid.
I have only met you once but I have to say you are super down to earth. Is that hard to maintain considering the big name skateboarders you hang with?
The great thing about skateboarding is that no matter who you are (pro am) whatever...If you have a bad attitude you will get put in check!
I think that everyone is the same as far as wanting to be treated well, (Treat people how you wanted to be treated) so that’s just a human thing
But skaters are raw and if your a dick we will let you know!
Your favorite format to shoot?
I love my Nikon D3. It just works so fast and can do pretty much everything I want (35mm)
I still like the idea of having a tangible item (film/negatives but it just makes more sense for the work load and time to shoot digi).
How heavy is your post process procedure?
It's good not to get to comfortable with any format. keep it creative
I really don't do any post work
I come from the days of film where you have to get everything right before you even pull the trigger
Remember light meters!
I did a project on the Skatebook where Ballard did some minor adjustments that looked really cool.
I like that stuff but If a photo is to retouched it looks strange to me.
If you played in a band...lead singer, lead guitar, bass, or drums?
My dad is a Drummer so i grew up with all kinds of drums all over the house
Alright Theo that should do it, just want to say thanks a ton and do you have any shout outs as we wrap this up?
Big shout out to everyone who is doing what they love! Peace to all!