‘Unfortunately, maybe 70% or more of the shots you see published weren’t the actual make, maybe more.’
You are from Tasmania, lived in Long Beach, California and now you’re in Brisbane, Australia. Ever wondered how you got there?
As a young skater growing up on the other side of the world watching skateboarding evolve in California it had always been a calling card for me. I’ve been obsessed with skateboarding for my entire life so why not completely immerse myself in the birthplace of it? Also, most people wouldn’t know that Tasmania is cold for most of the year – so living in a warm place like California is a dream come true, oh…and of course the street spots are amazing! After 4 years in America a better standard of living, family and home called – so sunny Queensland was the answer!
Assuming you started off skateboarding at what point did you move to photography and why?
I actually picked up a camera around the same time I started skateboarding, so the two have always been interrelated. My mother was a photography lecturer at the University before I was born so you could say it was in my blood. I try to capture the good times and to share a story to look back on later in life. Skateboarding and photography have always been a push and pull for me, as I love doing both equally – but skateboarding is normally number one! (laughing).
Is there one skateshot you wish you had taken?
Oh man, that’s tough question. There’s too many to name so I’d say any crucial moment in skate history – like the first ollie, kickflip, grind in a pool or handrail trick would have been pivotal. But then again shooting some of the famous portraits or lifestyle shots would have been just as incredible. Although, I’d be pretty happy shooting anything of Matt Hensley at the peak of his career.
Proudest moment as a photographer?
I’m fortunate enough to have had quite a few proud moments, but what really stokes me the most is shooting photos of people that might not have many photos of themselves – so that they can have photos to look back on in years to come and remember the good times. Sometimes it’s not always the hardest trick that means the most to someone and I’m grateful to capture those moments with a considered eye. I’ve been shooting photos for over 33 years and have enjoyed every time I’ve had a magazine cover, a featured article or even just a photo in a magazine. Being published is always fun when you can share your vision with other people. Putting on art shows has also been fulfilling and the one we did just before the pandemic struck was the best! I curated a fundraiser art show and hosted a silent auction with my wife where we raised $13K to go towards to the Australian Bush Fire Relief. We were lucky enough to have some amazing photographers that donated work like Michael Burnett, John Bradford and Ed Templeton as well as a lot of renowned skate visual artists like Bigfoot, Spanky, Sebo Walker, Michael Sieben and lots more – the list is too long! I’m proud to have had my work hang alongside so many inspiring artists and even prouder to be able to help the wildlife rehabilitation back home.
Just the usual things that happen to most photographers like forgetting a battery or memory card. One of the hardest things is feeling that you missed something when you’re at an event, especially when so much is going down at once. I get serious FOMO, but you eventually learn to live with it, as you only have a body that can be in one place after all!
‘I also had the fortune of meeting Chad Muska and he recommended using a specific herb and it was a game changer!’
What is your take on skateshots that have not been landed?
Unfortunately, maybe 70% or more of the shots you see published weren’t the actual make, maybe more. It’s been talked about a lot over the years and some photographers care a lot or don’t care at all. I think I’m somewhere more on the side of caring. The trick has to be landed during that session or none of the shots count. So, I’ll sit there until the roll away.
What gear are you shooting with?
I’ve shot photos with Canon and filmed with Panasonic most of my life, but at the end of the day I don’t really mind what I shoot with. Some of my favourite images were taken with disposable film cameras or a phone, so I think it’s the intent, moment and composition that really make a photo great for me.
Let’s talk about THE CREAM, Skateboarding Liniment for Fast, Effective & Affordable Recovery from Bruising, Swelling, Muscle & Joint Pain. How did you guys come up with that?
As a teenager growing up I had weak ankles and had snapped tendons countless times, as well as dislocating an ankle. I was over being injured and frustrated that mainstream medicine had been unable to fully help my recovery, so I started to look to other ways to help myself heal faster. I also had the fortune of meeting Chad Muska and he recommended using a specific herb and it was a game changer! I’d been using my own prototype versions of The Cream for almost 20 years and now the rest is history.
When I reached out you mentioned that you are doing an interview for a magazine? Which skatemag are you writing for and for how long?
I think I had my first photo published in 1992, so it’s been a while. I’ve usually got a few long-term projects on the back burner. Most of my work is freelance so whoever is down to run it I’m hyped. Confusion magazine just dropped the interview I did with the good homie Shonn Oquendo recently and I just had a clip playing on the Thrasher site. I’ve constantly got a few things in the works but currently I’m concentrating on filming a montage showcasing some of Brisbane’s great skaters and spots.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
A Sasquatch! They have a huge footprint, yet tread so softly on the earth and remain out of sight. Living in harmony with the planet is something we can all strive for.
‘Although, I’d be pretty happy shooting anything of Matt Hensley at the peak of his career.’