Skate Photography During an Age of Pandemic

We’re going on almost six months now with this pandemic and have all had to find ways to stay creative, beat boredom, and make a living—all the while keeping our families and friends safe. What does a skate photographer do with their time when they’re on lockdown and can't shoot? Like everyone else, I have had to get creative. I have been working on a variety of projects, some long-term and some quite new. I am still working on my photo book, which has been pushed back, probably to 2021 publication, due to these uncertain times.  


Right before the world changed in March, I shot photos of Tony Hawk for his new sponsor, Vans Shoes. (I talked about that in my previous blog post.) Tony and I reenacted some photos at  Sanoland, a legendary skate ditch that we had originally shot at in 1983.

 Tony Hawk sitting in skate spot

Hawk in 1983

Vans Shoes also started a program called "Foot The Bill," to help shops by putting Tony and Carlsbad Pipelines on a Classic Vans slip-on. They feature my ollie photo of Tony, and net proceeds from shoe sales go to the shop.


 Higgins/Brittain Hawk skate poster

One of my best friends, Josh Higgins, is an unreal designer, and I asked him to design a limited edition silkscreened poster featuring Hawk. I am a big fan of Blue Note Records and their classic jazz album designs, and this poster has that feel to it. I listed the signed and numbered prints in my shop, and all fifty went fast and were shipped all over the world.


I attended two Black Lives Matter skateboard peaceful protests in San Diego and Encinitas and managed to keep my distance, using my Canon 70-200mm zoom lens. I was so stoked on the thousand-plus skaters from my hometown coming together and protesting peacefully against racism and police brutality. I hope that the energy builds and everyone votes in November.

Black Lives Matter protest

I really wanted to contribute to BLM, so I collaborated with skater Tod Swank and we signed ten 18x24" Swank Push prints. We posted them on Instagram and Facebook, and they sold out in less than an hour—all the proceeds went to BLM.


Tod Swank wearing mask with Push photo

MasterClass, the online lecture/workshop classes, featured Tony Hawk, and I provided them with a lot of photos from his past. I watched the class—it was very well done and uplifting. I recommend their classes, which feature experts in a variety of creative fields.



 Tom Jones    Mike Blabac    Patrick Emerick    John Reeves

I also managed to shoot a few portraits of friends during different sessions in front of my favorite background down the street, while wearing masks and social distancing—again using my Canon 70-200mm zoom lens. From L to R: designer Tom Jones, photographer Mike Blabac, my friend Patrick Emerick, and skater John Reeves.


The latest thing I have been working on is a collaborative video with my buddy Mac Premo about my work—to be seen online during the San Diego Design Week in September. The Design Week is hosted by the Mingei International Museum and features San Diego artists and designers showing their work, portfolios, and workspaces in a safe virtual environment. Mac had been interviewing and filming me for a video project before the pandemic hit. We had been in the darkroom printing photos one day and paid a visit to the spot where the Del Mar Skate Ranch once stood—then to the underpass where I shot the Tod Swank Push photo. In Mac's creative style he has been able to pull together a great film. Stay tuned and check out


Finally, I uncovered this photo of Matt Hensley from 1989 and it’s available in my shop now.


Matt Hensley, 1989


One more thing, my son moved out, due to the pandemic, and I now have a killer office!

So, that's what I've been doing since March. Everyone stay safe, stay healthy, stay creative, and Go Skateboarding!


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