Grant Brittain is a pioneer. A legendary skate photog who showed us how to look through the lens at a genre he essentially created. Grant’s work has influenced generations of shooters as well as skaters all over the world, for many decades…and he’s still going strong. Grant Brittain is also a total bro’, and What Youth recommends you have a good look at these timeless images and then buy some to hang on your walls. Your fleabag friends who always seem to wake up on your couch will thank you.
Neil Blender is one of the most creative skaters of all time, both on and off the board. There are two photos in one in this 1984 Ollie photo at the Del Mar Skate Ranch, the shadow lends a whole other dimension to it, and actually stands on its’ own by itself as a nice photo.
I had been looking at these small full pipes near Corona, CA for years and wondering if they were rideable? In 2015 I saw some photographic evidence of their rideability on Instagram and heard they were getting jackhammered, so this would be my last chance to get a photo. I talked Chris and Zach Miller into driving out there and we walked in through a hole in the fence and there were maybe six pipes still standing amongst the rubble of the many others. This shot is proof that “Style Matters”, Chris is the Style Master, after-all.
Hosoi – Christ Air
There are a lot of tricks that are named after or by their inventors. The Bert (after Larry Bertlemann), The McTwist (after Mike McGill) or The Andrecht Handplant (after David Andrecht) are a few. In 1987, the “Perfect Ramp” at Patty Sellars’ house in Mesa, Arizona was one of the best ramps around and some heavy sessions went down there. Christian Hosoi had this new move he wanted to get a photo of and thought that ramp would be where to do it. The “Christ Air” is a backside air where Christian’s feet leave the board and his legs thrust straight up towards the heavens and his arms go out to the sides while holding the board with one hand and it all looks like an upside down crucifix.
Hosoi – Powerslide
Christian Hosoi and I met up in Del Mar sometime in 1988 and were going to shoot a Blunt slide or Nosepick at this downed street light spot. After a few shots neither one of us were really feeling it for the mag and Christian just started hauling ass up and down the street and doing big Powerslides and I started shooting him just having fun. I held my Nikon FM2 slightly above him and was trying to get the manhole cover in the composition too. This is just one of those photos that’s more about the ‘Feeling of Skateboarding’, and looking good while doing it.
Jay Adams – Del Mar
I did not get to shoot Jay Adams very often and I didn’t start shooting photos ’til after the Dogtown Era. I did however work at the Del Mar Skate Ranch and was quite fortunate to have some of the best skaters visiting the park and being able to sneak out from behind the counter and document them. Jay Adams showed up one day in 1984 and he and Steve Olson and a few others began to shred the seldom ridden Banked Slalom Ditch. This photo of Jay demonstrates the style of the Z-Boys, low to the ground, full of energy and looking great.
Mark Gonzales – Oceanside
The Gemco Bank in Oceanside, CA was near a Gemco store, go figure…and in 1985 Mark Gonzales was this young street shredder from LA who was quickly making major vibrations in skateboarding. You can safely say that The Gonz was a force who was changing street skating, taking it from the ground and onto the handrails, benches and the urban architecture. “A photo is worth a thousand words”, and this Frontside Boneless photo screams “The 1980s”, from Gonz’s wild 80s deck graphics to his Life’s A Beach Skull Pants and right down to his Converse, all markers of an era.
Natas Kaupas – Venice
This was an eventful day of photographing with Natas Kaupas in 1988. Pretty sure I shot the Fire Hydrant sequence in Santa Monica this day and a few others and ended up at Venice Beach High School Bank at dusk. Natas grew up skating this bank and tried a few Airwalks and started doing Meloncholies and this is the one that ran in TWSkate. It has been said that this was also the first skate photo that had a Public Enemy t-shirt in it…at least that’s what I was told.
Natas and Gonz
In 1987, GSD did a feature every month in TWSkate called “Street Sheet” and he wanted Gonz and Natas to go Thrifting and this is what they came back with. They started skating and dorking around, they’re good at that. I am pretty sure that if people on the outside of the skate world ever saw these photos, they would think this was Skate Fashion. This is still better than the Big Pants Little Wheels Era of the 90s.
All photos by Grant Brittain
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