Ewan Bower • FS ollie • California, US • 2013

‘This was one of the best skateboarding experience of my life.’

Cristian Benzoni

November 2023

Where are you from?
I’m from the north of Italy. I live in a town 30 minutes away from Milan. I spent here most part of my life, except 10 years living in Milan, where I had chance to get closer with skateboarding scene.

What is your journey into skateboard photography?
I started taking photos in year 2000, when I inherited my uncle’s camera. My first subjects were my friends skateboarding. After two years I had my photos published in a magazine for the first time: it was a report of Marseille Bowlriders. I continued shooting for ‘6:00 am’ skateboard magazine until 2013, when me and a group of friends started our own magazine called ‘Share Skateboarding’, which quickly become the reference point of Italian skateboarding. I quit with the magazine in 2018 and had a break from shooting. Actually, I did shoot skateboarding during my free time.

Why did you quit the magazine?
Skateboarding photography has always been a passion for me, not a business (skateboarding in Italy is not a great business deal) and in the past it paid for film rolls, fuel to get around but nothing more. When I started the magazine, I tried to have a more professional approach, hoping that it could be at least a part time job (at that time I was doing graphic design as other part time job). However doing things in a proper good way takes a lot of time. Going on with the years, there was less money from sponsorships. So, after five years I needed to get focused on my main work and I left the project.

Jacopo Carozzi • FS Smith • Milan, Italy • 2013

Is there one skate shot you wish you had taken?
There are some iconic photos that made skateboarding history: one is printed in my head since the first time I saw it and it’s the fs ollie of Matt Hensley under the highway bridge shot by Daniel Harold Sturt. In my opinion it represents skateboarding at 100%: the search of the spot, the mission to get it, the diy work to skate it, the hyped crew.

Proudest moment as a photographer?
When people tell me that they grow up looking at my photos and saying that I left my mark on Italian skateboarding.

Can you talk us through one of the most memorable skate shots you have done so far?
When I was in Sacramento, back in 2013. During a skateboarding trip in the States, I asked my American friends if it was possible to have a session in a specific place and they were down with that. They told me that the only problem was that the spot was only approachable by water, so we had to figure out how to get there. We rented a canoe, tied it on the top of the van and drove a couple of hours to the river. One by one (we were ten) we were ferried to the spot. Five minutes paddling and…wow… the scenario was amazing, approaching this big hole at the base of a dam. We skated there for about 4 hours and navigated back in the dark, after sunset. This was one of the best skateboarding experience of my life.

Most embarrassing?
One time I was shooting a guy doing a boardslide on a tall hubba. He did it pretty easily and asked me if I want another take (it was the time of analog photography with obviously no preview on camera) and we did it: things went wrong and his board bounced off the ground ending on his face and broke one tooth.

‘I spent some good time with them in the past and I can tell for sure that they’re the dopest boys out there.’

Andrea Rolesu • Ollie • Cagliari, Italy • 2015

You mentioned Italian skateboarding. Can you explain the skateboard community in Italy throughout your career as photographer for more than 20 years?
A lot of things changed the past 20 years: evolution but also involution. 20 years ago we had 4 printed magazine and now only one, which is born this year (there’s another one mag but it covers European scene). We have no reference website which covers and unites the scene. Major brands (except a few) don’t support skateboarders through distribution anymore. Little local board brands (including skateshops) are everywhere. Do we need all of them? A lot of new skateboarders but less filmers and photographers. Many new skateparks that help to grow up skateboarders and the level of newcomers is rising up. Giorgio Zattoni is still in the Powell team and rocking at 46 years. Jacopo Carozzi is pro for Baker and he deserves the love everybody shows him.

What is on your wish list?
The next skateboarding tour. I didn’t have one for a while and need to hook up with the Samurai Suicide’s guys for some crazy mission. I spent some good time with them in the past and I can tell for sure that they’re the dopest boys out there. Their tours are always an epic experience.

Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
I like to hear about street stories and I think Thrasher’s Michael Burnett got a lot to tell.

‘In my opinion it represents skateboarding at 100%: the search of the spot, the mission to get it, the diy work to skate it, the hyped crew.’

Luri Furdui • Ollie • Milan, Italy • 2014

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply