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

Photo Credit: Jack Belli Portfolio 018

Photo Credit jack belli what youth

Jack Belli’s portfolio of imagery is vast. What started as a surf hobby, has since turned into an art form featuring some of the world’s most beautiful girls. We tracked Jack down to find out how that evolution occurred. And if he knows how we can make it happen for us.

WHAT YOUTH: Where did you grow up? JACK BELLI: I grew up in Newport Beach. I was your typical surf kid: surfing and skateboarding everyday. It was all I thought about at the time so growing up in this area was pretty rad. I lived in Newport until I was about 21 and then moved to Costa Mesa. All my friends and family are here so I don’t have any plans to leave any time soon.

How old were you when you were introduced to photography? It was around 16 or 17 years old. My friends and I always had cameras with us while we were skating, so I guess that was my first introduction to something creative. Aside from skating I was surfing a lot too at the time and was able to travel. I wanted to have a good camera to just take photos while I was on trips so I bought my first dslr. I started noticing that I would rather shoot surfing than actually surf so it was a weird transition.

Do you remember when you realized that it had gone from a hobby to something that had a style of it’s own and you could do something with photography? I do have a pretty specific direction. I style and shoot girls now. Prior to shooting fashion though, I didn’t really give it much thought. I just shot photos that I liked. Having people say they can recognize it’s your photo before knowing though is a huge compliment.

Any other interests outside photography? Music for sure. I grew up playing the drums but haven’t for a while. I’m thinking its time to dust them off and give it a try again.

Who’s work inspires you? I think the first inspiration I had when I was younger was more documentary photos. Nowadays I draw inspiration from so many different places. Thats the fun about shooting fashion stuff now. I kind of take what I have learned in the past and apply that to new inspiration I find to hopefully create something unique.

When did photography become an art for you, or a career path? I never really gave it much thought when I was getting into shooting… I just knew I liked it. It was probably around the time I was introduced to David [Stoddard] and everyone at Brixton and started doing a lot of work for them. I was doing little jobs here and there but David really took me in and put a lot of trust into such a young kid to create content for his brand. I would say this was when I started thinking, OK this could be something I do for the rest of my life and began investing all my time into becoming better. David and everyone at Brixton are so rad and I am really thankful I was able to develop such a good relationship with them at a young age.

Did you go to school or have a mentor? I took a black and white photo class at OCC [Orange Coast College], but aside from that I don’t have any formal training. I just shot every single day. You start to notice things you like in a photo and things you hate. I am pretty hard on myself when I take photos which I think is important for any creative person. If you think your photos are perfect there wont be any progression or push to become better.

When you first started what did you shoot? When I started out, I was only shooting surfing and my friends hanging at the beach because that’s what my life was surrounded by at the time. When I was about 22 years old I started to think about where I saw my future as a photographer. I didn’t really want to shoot surfing for the rest of my life so I kind of took a step back from it and started focusing on developing a look in fashion that I wanted to go for, which was really hard.

Where did you work before photography became a job? Worked really shitty jobs. [laughs] I worked at a flower nursery helping customers carry things to their cars for a while. After that I worked at a coffee shop for a year or so. I went on a trip to Australia to shoot while I was working there. When I got home I remember my boss calling me and asking, “Are you coming back to work?” I sat there for a second and thought about it and just said nope. I haven’t worked another job like that since.

alec castillo photography

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

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…

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Photo Credit: Tobin Yelland Portfolio 028: San Francisco skateboarding in the late ’80s

Tobin Yelland picked up photography early. And it was skateboarding right away. The subculture and lifestyle surrounding it especially. He was first published in Thrasher when he was only 15. We caught up with him below to learn a bit more about his path to being a revered skate photog. WHAT YOUTH: How old were…

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Photo Credit: Michael Cukr Portfolio 027: A look back at Michael “Horse” Cukr’s year

Michael Cukr works here at What Youth. He’s a horse. We call him that because of another Warren Smith quote moment, but beyond that he’s an incredible filmmaker and happens to be ridiculously good at photography. Which we benefit greatly from. In fact, he’s so good that he shot the following over the course of…

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Photo Credit: Molly Steele Portfolio 026: Train-hopping, fantasy and photo journalism

Molly Steele’s photography caught us off guard. Poetic, playful and beautiful but also tough and raw. This Girl We Adore from a few weeks ago submitted a batch of photos so good we had no choice but to feature them in a new Photo Credit. She’s a badass train hopper with an affinity for getting…

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Photo Credit: Hunter Martinez Portfolio 025: In a busy California winter, this young photog’s work is a step ahead

Hunter Martinez is 21 years old and from Pasadena, California. Not exactly a spot many of you would know if you surf. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a major standout in what has become an overwhelmingly well-documented California winter. Hunter has the eye. And the hustle. And our very own Nate Lawrence saw…

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Photo Credit: Monroe Alvarez Portfolio 024: Studio, lifestyle and maybe the world’s most legit “selfies”

Monroe Alvarez might take some of the world’s greatest “selfies.” She once did a road trip solo just to shoot them. But her portfolio and website are filled with incredible lifestyle and studio images. We recently chatted to her about her style and got this impressive sample of images. Redefining “selfie” series included. What Youth:…

Photo Credit: Skyler Dahan Portfolio 023: Paris, LA and how to take a strangers photo

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Photo Credit: Wiissa Portfolio 022 features an exotic photography duo

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Photo Credit: Cory Hansen Portfolio 021: Classic Santa Cruz, flash, stars and Dane

When Nate Lawrence rings and recommends a photographer for a Photo Credit feature, we know we had better answer. Because it’s going to be a doozy. Especially when the name comes from Santa Cruz. We called up Cory Hansen and his submission blew our mind. A mix of beautiful and retrospective moments that define an…

what youth photo credit cole barash creed mctaggart

Photo Credit: Cole Barash Portfolio 020

Cole Barash photographed one of our favorite things we’ve ever printed in What Youth. You can find it in What Youth Issue 7, it’s called 6 Girls, 6 Cities and features 6 beautiful girls in London, Tokyo, Paris, Sao Paulo, Moscow and New York. It’s beautiful photography and it was no easy feat to juxtapose…

Photo Credit: Alana Paterson Portfolio 019

Alana Paterson is a reminder of the great things in life. The great outdoors, great times, travel, drinking beers and skateboarding with friends. Captured in such a transparent, honest way. She currently lives in British Columbia, and graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver B.C., as well as The Lesley University of Boston….

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Photo Credit: Terence Connors Portfolio 019

WHAT YOUTH: “Terrence M. Connors has been recognized by his peers as one of the pre-eminent trial attorneys in the state.” How do you feel about that being the first thing that comes up when you google your name? TERRENCE CONNORS: [Laughing]. That’s awesome. Where did you grow up? How did you end up where you are…

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