Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

Photo Credit: Alec Castillo Portfolio 029: The epitome of youth on the run

alec castillo photography
Photos: Alec Castillo

Alec Castillo is the bassist of self-proclaimed “boner rock” band The Nude Party. He’s also a photographer dedicated to depicting the world and lifestyle he inhabits. Whether capturing antics on tour or portraying the most intimate of moments amongst friends, this dude’s eye has our attention. And he’s only just begun. “I use photography to tell stories that can hopefully live on,” he says. Good thing we like stories. –Maya Eslami 

WHAT YOUTH: Do you remember your first photo you took? 

ALEC CASTILLO: I could be wrong, but it was 2002 and my mom gave me a disposable camera to take with me to this skate camp I went to over the summer called Hang Loose. Tony Hawk had a skate demo tour that made a stop at that Hang Loose and I saved it for that day. I was seven years old and worshipped all those dudes that came to skate.

Mike Vallely was acid dropping what seemed like 15 ft into a quarter pipe. I remember him breaking his face on the concrete and trying it over and over, and thinking that was super gnarly. I used the entire roll on that.

Describe your approach to photography? 

I like shooting people, and I’m fascinated with human interaction. Most of what I’ve made are personal projects revolving around my every day life and the people that are involved. I use photography as a vehicle for exploration of relationships, intimacy and self identity. I’ve always been an awful storyteller verbally, and quite embarrassed of it actually.  I use photography to tell stories that can hopefully live on. Having my photos be in a sequenced, tangible form is important to the end outcome of my work, whether it be displayed in a gallery or a book. Tangibility gives access to a longer life.  I hope to have my first book out in the next few years.

Click below to view the entire gallery: 

Were you classically trained at all? 

I taught myself how to use a camera growing up shooting my friends and skating.  I didn’t really have any classical training until I got to college where I learned how to develop film and was introduced to a lot of photographers that resonated with me.  Over the past year, I took on an internship with my friend Mike Belleme, an incredible photographer, storyteller, and overall human being based in Asheville, North Carolina.  I’ve learned so much about how to tell stories with photos, how to use light and the importance of it, and how to adapt myself into different situations that I’m not familiar with or comfortable with. The list could go on. And I still have a lot to learn.

Whose work inspires you? 

Cole Barash, Alec Soth, Mike Brodie, Mike Belleme, George Etheredge, Bryan Derballa, Larry Clark, Graciela Iturbide, Sacha Lecca, Jessica Lehrman, Ryan McGinley, Danny Clinch, Tommy Nease, Cheryl Dunn, Jake Giles, Tomasz Low.

Have you ever photographed something that made you uncomfortable or scared? 

I recently started a project that deals with just this. Most of what I shoot is about people that I’m close with and that doesn’t really make me feel uncomfortable. I’m starting to realize that stories that I want to take on don’t involve people that I’m familiar with and I don’t have much experience outside of that. First interactions make me very uncomfortable and nervous. So I decided to start shooting portraits of strangers around my college’s campus. I tell them that I’m shooting a project on fear and I share a personal story about a bad first interaction that I’ve had and I ask if they would mind sharing a story with me about something they fear. Once I gain some trust, I ask if I can take their photograph. You can learn so much from someone in less than five minutes of their time. For me this is more about the experience than the photographs.

What makes a good photograph? 

A good photograph has feeling. A great photograph hits on all cylinders with feeling, composition, and aesthetic.

Favorite camera? 

That I’ve ever used, Hasselblad 500cm.

Any interests outside of photography? 

Family and friends, skateboarding, photo books, playing music, going to shows, travelling, dancing, parties, swimming holes, mountains.

What pushes you outside your comfort zone? 

The thought of regret, and impulse decisions.

Why do you take photos? 

I take photos to tell stories, for those brief moments of clarity, and to leave something behind when I die, even if it’s shit. Photography also gives you access to people and places that would be difficult to reach without a camera.

Photo Credit: Zara Mirkin Portfolio 017

“I love music, its my biggest passion in life except I can’t play for shit so didn’t pursue it. In saying that I try to make my work as musically involved as I can and spend the majority of my money going to watch my favorite bands play, and buying silly band merch.” –Zara Mirkin…

Photo Credit Larsen Sotelo what youth girls

Photo Credit: Larsen Sotelo Portfolio 015

Being resourceful. And making the most of what you have. That’s been the ticket for a lot of successful photographers. And Larsen Sotelo became an expert at both of these things, and now his photography comes with built in edge and raw energy. We had him select some of his favorite photos and asked him a…

Photo Credit: Luke Schuetrumpf Portfolio 015

He’s young. He’s talented. He’s hustling. And he literally rode his bike here to meet us. Australian photographer Luke Schuetrumpf started by filming surfing and then quickly abandoned that when he realized he could photograph beautiful girls instead. And the call has worked out. “Where I grew up had a big influence on me: girls at…

photo credit kyle lightner what youth surfing

Photo Credit: Kyle Lightner Portfolio 014

The return of a really talented photographer

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Photo Credit: Patrick Trefz Portfolio 013

Patrick Trefz is originally from Düsseldorf, Germany — a long way from his current Santa Cruz home and surf lifestyle. But it was there in Germany his love of skateboarding got the ball rolling for his current passion. It was a few well-timed jaunts into the jungle, barefoot and eating bananas and coconuts off the…

Photo Credit: Stefan Kocev Portfolio 012

A beautiful array of images from a friend of a friend.

what youth surfing waves

Photo Credit: Seth Stafford Portfolio 011

Seth Stafford spent much of his career shooting photographs for the now out of print TransWorld Surf Mag. Now he spends his time surfing and skating and shooting more photos. And as you’ll see below, the New Jersey native has accumulated quite a surreal catalog of photographs during that career — working with and shooting both…

Photo Credit: Gutterdust Portfolio 010

Gutterdust is the epic alias of Andy Wauman, artist, photographer and wanderer.

Josh Zucker shoots Geoff Rowley what youth photo credit

Photo Credit: Josh Zucker Portfolio 009

Josh Zucker hangs with a sick crew. At only 21 years old he’s already worked for Vans and Flip, is practically an honorary member of Odd Future, kicks it on Fairfax casually and has traveled the world with “it” crews as well as a solid batch of skateboarding legends. His demeanor is polite, friendly and…

Nolan hall photo credit what youth

Photo Credit: Nolan Hall Portfolio 008

Working for Vans puts you in some pretty good company. And when your’e a cool cat like Nolan Hall, you’re going to get to document dudes authentically. In the wild. How they are. Unique, creative, fucked up and amazing. Nolan has been traveling the world snapping photos for a long time and we hit him…

Woody Gooch photo credit what youth

Photo Credit: Woody Gooch Portfolio 007

When we asked Woody Gooch about his name, all he said was: “Woodya mean?” Followed by: “I don’t really have a fucking clue how I got the name of two male private parts. I still haven’t asked my parents. No one ever believes me that my name is Woody Gooch.” But we’ll be damned if…

Photo Credit: Isaac Zoller Portfolio 006

Isaac Zoller is a photographer from Laguna Beach — which must fucking rule because his photography is a myriad of rad and inspiring things. Waves, women, scenics, bands, models, rebellion. He’s not a one trick shooter. We asked him to curate some images and he submitted like 6,000 images that were all worthy. We somehow…

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