Sunday, December 20, 2020

So here's what we do. Taylor and Ryan take me to these places where I would probably never end up otherwise. It's a bit like being a National Geographic photographer and I get these little assignments to travel to new places and cover these stories. Ryan is my hype guy and he smooths things over with the locals and gets the door open. Taylor is my security blanket as she encourages me to slowly wade out further and further until I'm right in the middle of it. I see things. I shoot them. I share what I see. Simple recipe but it's delicious and I never get tired of it.
I don't know anything about skating. My friends in high school were into skating and punk music and that was their thing and I had mine, and I never really got into the subculture. The thing about what I do is that I can go anywhere and show you what I saw, but that’s easy. There's another level beyond that. To reveal what it's like to be someone on the inside, from the perspective of the subject, is ultimately what makes great documentary work. Going from the outside looking in, to being on the inside looking out. That’s the goal. That’s the vision. It requires time. It requires trust with the subject and familiarity with the environment. It can’t be done in one night. Photographers can spend years working on stories and come away with only a few dozen photographs that really hit that mark. That's what makes this so much more interesting and challenging than other genres of photography. I can spend all day photographing trees or buildings but they all end up looking the same. When you engage with people and really observe and capture these moments - human moments - you create something that's one of a kind. That collection of events will never happen again exactly the way they happened. Sure, there are millions of pictures of skateboarders out there, but not with these particular people at this particular time and this particular place. It doesn’t have to be a huge, breaking story. A small but honest story is just as relevant and should be told. That’s my responsibility. That's the whole spirit behind what drives my work.