They’ve been viewed as misfits and trouble makers. Definitely not calm and collected but more reckless and disorderly. A personal view of the rebellious, loud, and dirty subculture through 35mm black and white film.
Skateboard culture is different. These dudes at the skate park aren’t worried about what’s going on in the world. Just their board and its wheels. Focusing on the trick they’re practicing, playing a game of SKATE with their homies, or sometimes just chugging beer and smoking doobies.
This is a culture that I am familiar with. I grew up skating with my buddies, Blaze and Lucas. Riding through town trying to find spots and going to skateparks was life for us. We spent our time figuring out flip tricks and trying to have the guts to drop in on different halfpipes. Most of which we learned in time.
Each person I have met through skateboarding shares a few characteristics. A courageous, gutsy, and an out on a limb attitude. Skateboarders are also smart in what they do. They analyze the place they are skating at and see what they can do there. In other words, they are aware of their surroundings.
When I started going back to the skate park and talking to people there I felt like I was at home. I knew the language they spoke and I felt like I could not only get back into skating, but also shoot some film out there. That's when I started bringing my film camera.
I knew the choice of black and white film would be great for portraying the culture as I thought it was, gritty and harsh. Being gritty and harsh isn’t bad though, it’s actually something I prefer. It’s something I look for when shooting because I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy shooting in places that are clean and modern; I prefer beat down and old. These places have more flavor, as I would describe it.
One day at the skate park, there was this van parked close to the entrance and there were more people at the park than usual. I asked one of the kids and he said that it might be the Birdhouse's skate team. I immediately said, “There’s no way Tony Hawk’s skate team is here!"
I started watching them and yes, these dudes were great.
Some of the best tricks I’d ever seen. The park suddenly became different when they started skating. You could tell that they were professionals.
I knew that I had to talk to these guys and ask to shoot some photos of them. They were surprisingly friendly and they confirmed that they were Birdhouse’s skate team. I met Reese Salken, Shawn Hale, Clive Dixon, David Loy, Clint Walker, and a whole lot more.
I truly had seen skate culture at its finest. They had a bass speaker out there playing the latest Kodak Black and also old punk rock hits. They were drinking beers and smoking joints. They had a dog on a leash with them as a traveling companion. Turns out they were headed east to Kona Skate Park in Jacksonville, Florida. It was really cool to see in person and I wish I had a couple more rolls of film that day.
Skateboarding will always be familiar to me and I hope the loud and daring culture never dies.