Time Travel Photo Gallery
‘Dave Swift is a skater first and foremost – a photographer who knows the inside and out of skateboarding cause he knows how it feels to slide , grind and catch air cause he’s damn smooth on the board himself and has been for years.
While many photographers work hard to make their photos “pretty” or “artistic” – Dave has always held the move itself , the gnarly and stylish side of skating as his priority when capturing the heaviest skaters out there.
As an editor of skate mags, young photographers could count themselves lucky if they came across Swift, since he made no bones about a photo if it was “cut” or “hot”. And this is the way things should be. Without Dave at the helm of Transworld and then at The Skateboard Mag for years, the standard of skating and published skate photography would unequivocally not be as high. That’s a fact! – when it comes to his photos – they are always the ones that make you wanna go skate – he brings the stoke to life on the page.
What’s the point if you’re not doing that?’
‘In case you were wondering the spot that this photo was taken is the inside of a dam! Yep, a group of skaters and myself climbed up into this pit to find out if it was even skateable. The dust from pigeon shit was practically unbearable and there was no space to really shoot from (I am tucked up against a wall). Basically I was shooting this blind and when Wes landed it he nearly hit me while riding away. I do love the shot though.’
‘Sometimes you only get one chance to get the photo right. Well, on this occasion I got two chances to light this spot and catch Alex Perelson at just the right moment before he rode down the wall. I don’t like asking people to do something gnarly, twice.’
‘Swift is the best. I think he’s really funny and a he’s a good man. I’m stoked to be his friend. I first met him skating the Clairemont skatepark when I was a kid. Later, I got to go on trips with him like this one to Houston, Texas where this photo was taken. I think we stayed there for a week or two and it was fun the whole time, even on days when it rained and we couldn’t skate.’
‘Street skating is the best, especially when it is done in such scenic places. As a photographer it doesn’t get any better than this shot of Daniel Malkovich bumping up to a frontside boardlide at sunset as ocean waves find their way to the shore. So California.’
‘The way Jake Wooten was tweaking these stalefish around the corner there was no way I wasn’t gonna shoot a photo of it.’
‘Dave Swift is one of the most prolific photographers in skating boarding history. And it is and was beyond an honor to get to shoot with him. And if Dave says he wants to shoot it, you better fucking try to land it because if you see the photo and don’t land it it’ll haunt you.’
‘Most of the time when dealing with the best skateboarders in the world the photographers job is easy. Set up the flashes, compose the photo band, hit the shutter buttom—boom, amazing photo. Ha, Ben Raybourn has been one of my favorite subjects over the years.’
‘For a big part of the 1990’s the UCSD campus in La Jolla was a hot spot for local and out of town skateboarders who wanted to film tricks on one of the many spots. This ledge was nearly shoulder high on me but Brian Anderson had no problem sticking this tailslide in only a few tries. Brian was on fire in 1999.’
‘Honestly, I don’t even think Lance Mountain knew I was shooting this photo. He was skating and so was I but I stopped and set up my camera gear just in case something cool was gonna go down. I noticed Lance try one of these and I immediately took my pads off, grabbed my camera and lens and walked up to the deck of the vert ramp. He tried it one or two more times before making it and this was the outcome.’
‘Dave Swift was a Del Mar local & I only travel there when we had a contest so I didn’t know him well when we were younger although everyone knew who everybody in skateboarding at that time because it was so small. Most of us were in amateur contest called ASPO. I knew of Dave & see him him shooting photo early 80s. I shot photos for TWS in the beginning & Dave started working there & riding for Schmitt Stix till late 80s as it changed, he became full time photographer & this is really when I took more notice of his work. For me his documentation of Heath Kirchart is my favorite. We have shot together over the years. I don’t remember the first photo he had printed of myself but we went out here and there over the years. When Dave worked for the skateboard mag we might have shot more than before but definitely crossed paths a lot more than when I wouldn’t drive to Del Mar as he came up this way with Peacock on backyard pool missions. I now have got myself to drive down and skate with him at his clover pool much more than ever before maybe 10 times now because he is fun to skate with and wants to have a good time. Dave has been involved with skateboarding for a long time and loves it. Fun to enjoy the old and new times with.’
‘The fact that Eric Koston out of the blue called TransWorld Skateboarding offices and asked for me (I think he was 17 at the time) still blows me away. We had not met but I was willing to pick him up and drive him to some spots because he needed a photo for a possible Union Wheels ad and we got more than enough. I gave them something else and this photo was used in the TWS photo Issue of 1992.’
‘I’ve shot so many photos at Washington Street over the years and I just never get bored of them. I feel like there is always a new angle you can shoot from to make the place look different from how someone else shot a trick. This front feeble up the piano keys was shot more than ten years ago but still looks great today.’
‘I’ve known Swift since the early 90s 92/3ish pacific beach days. Loved him from day 1 a true OG. Top level pro skateboarder in the 80s to 1 of the best photographers skateboarding has ever had! High level Skateboard collector he’s truly 1 of kind! We’ve been bumming smokes off each other on missions for decades, always down for anything from the crusty desert ditch mission, inland rails, hidden empty backyard gems to slappies on the beach. Swifty gets what it’s all about. Making memories with friends laughing smiling skateboarding. And I know If I called him tomorrow with a spot in mind, he’d be there!!!! Fact. Thank you Swift for all you’ve for skateboarding!’
‘This is probably the most famous bail photo I have ever shot. Just the fact that Heath even tried to kickflip this gap at UCSD in 1996 is mind blowing. And to catch it that good only to slam a fraction of a second later and not try again is just the way it goes sometimes. In the end, no one ever kickflipped this gap.’
‘The kid is truly killing it on so many levels these days. Just so you know, Kristion can also skate vert!’
‘I feel lucky to have been able to travel over to China to see Danny Way and his mega ramp creation taken to the limits. Jumping the Great Wall of China? Who in 2005 even thought that would be possible? I know I didn’t but I never doubted that Danny was the one to prove any doubters wrong. Seeing the set up was unbelievable, this giant skateboard ramp/jump amidst the backdrop of centuries old Chinese architecture. Can you imagine how blown away those in attendance were? Anyway, this is the bail that nearly cancelled the whole thing.’
‘Shooting skateboarding with my friends and the influential locals from my hometown of San Diego, California is the best. When Alex Horn asked if I wanted to shoot this trick at Qualcomm Stadium all I wanted to know was “When?” We got down there and the late winter afternoon light was looking amazing and we got several angles of this move but the Zoom lens version was my favorite. Funny fact, another photographer shot this exact same trick of another skateboarder right around the same time. Shit happens in California.’
‘David Swift, how can I try to sum him up? Well, he has one hell of an eye, trigger finger, sweeper and tail tap for starters. He’s a full blown skate rat to this day, and always seems to be down for the backyard pool mission skating the bowl at the local skate park or even hitting the streets with some new talent. He just loves skateboarding so much and it shows.
I owe a lot to Dave, he looked out for me early on when I started to get hooked up in skateboarding. In fact he gave me my very first full page shot in any magazine. The 2003 Transworld am issue. Not to mention many full page and double page shots in the skateboard mag. He’s always had my back and looked out for me and I am supremely grateful for that. He really knows how to make my mediocre tricks look much better. Case in point on this shot here. It’s actually one of my favorite shots is ever taken of me, it was at Jack Murphy stadium where the chargers used to play…..I had been toying with that wallie layback/Tim Jackson maneuver and thought it might work into that little bank so I met Dave there and he snapped a couple photos, and one of them is the one you see here. Shit, I used to take him to the worst spots and truly not doing anything bio, yet he would still make something happen. I was never the raddest skateboarder but Dave somehow saw something in me and maximized the radical in the photo. Thank you so much Dave! I appreciate you exponentially and my gratitude is eternal.
Big love baby!
Love Cranny (Alex Horn)
‘Pools to me are all about the shape and fitting the entire thing into the frame. That’s the cool factor of backyard pools to me. This California arrow shaped swimmer had some good walls and bad walls but Omar found the line.’
‘The first year that I shot skateboard photos it was pretty hit and miss. Luckily I had a lot of friends that rode skateboards and didn’t mind me experimenting/learning how to use my camera and expose film. Bill and I were longtime friends and he was working on a Pro Spotlight for TWS and I just happened to tag along on a shoot down in Tijuana at an old 1970s relic skatepark called Skatopistas.’
‘Dave Swift was one of the first people I met when I moved to DelMar in 84. Loved to skate with him cuz he made the sessions fun and took me to a ton of different spots all the time. Got to shoot with him a few times like this shot from TJ with the Fletchers for some Astrodeck promo stuff for Alva rip grip. I’m proud to call Dave a lifelong friend. He even did my TWS interview way back.
You want to throw this in maybe only Dave will know the meaning of this:
Swift says to Cameron Cabbytight ‘Hey, nice haircut’. Cameron says ‘where did you get yours’. It’s classic if Swift remembers Del Mar parking lot.’
‘Everything about this photo of Chris Miller makes me love skateboarding even more than I normally do. His style combined with the height of this frontside air is pure magic. In 2004 Chris was the Founder/CEO of Adio footwear and this moment was years after his illustrious professional career but that didn’t stop him from going big on the mega ramp. Dude is one of the best skaters to ever live.’
‘When this image of Truman Hooker was first published in The Skateboard Mag I processed it more as a silhouette. Not long ago I found the original RAW file and messed with it in the latest version of Adobe Photoshop and brought out some of the details I wasn’t able to nearly 12 years ago. Either way, I really dig this photograph.’
‘This was supposed to be the very first cover of The Skateboard Mag but was used for issue 2 instead. The reason for this was because Danny Way was blowing minds with his mega ramp antics and we finished the article just in time for that first issue. Heath understood and he still got the cover he deserved for this mind blowing truck grinder.’