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

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

what youth photo credit tobin yelland

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 you when you got into photography?

TOBIN YELLAND: I got into photography at 14 during the summer. I had a photography and darkroom class and took it with my good friend Luke Ogden. I grew up in San Francisco and I was introduced to photography through skateboarding. I watched the older photographers who worked for Thrasher, taking photos and skating at the same session. It looked fun, so I borrowed my step dads camera.

Do you remember the first time you realized “This is what I want to do?”

Yeah, the first time I was like, “Yes, this is what I want to do for sure was when I got to shoot photos of Mickey Reyes, Mike Alcantar and Julien Stranger at a session at Everet Middle School. They were shooting for Sick Boys (an amazing skate film by Mike McEntire) Bryce Kanights was shooting photos of these guys for Thrasher and also being filmed by Mike for Sick Boys. After the session I showed the photos to Bryce hoping to get some feedback. He took them to Thrasher and Fausto Vitello saw a sequence I shot of Mike Alcantar and wanted to use it for a Venture trucks advertisement. After the ad ran I got a check for $100 and photo credit. I was so stoked I was freaking out. I was 16 and graduating high school soon and had little interest in going to college so I figured that if I could do this in the future I could pay bills this way.

Click below to view the whole gallery: 

How did you develop your technical and creative skills?

My mom and step dad made me a darkroom. I coated the sink with fiber glass resin in a stuffy room and was so out of it after that. I basically developed my own film and printed all the time. I looked at books and tried to copy other photographers. I shot nudes of my girlfriend in my room and cloudscapes from my roof and skating every weekend and after school.

Did you go to school or have a mentor?

I took a few darkroom classes and one documentary photography workshop and got to meet William Kline and Larry Clark. I made a connection with Larry Clark and knew after this that I wasn’t interested in fashion photography but that photographing my friends skating and living life is what I wanted to focus on.

What is like to look back at all your ’90s photos and see where all the crew is at now?

I’m still friends with most everyone that I skated and shot photos with in the ’90s. I look at these images as a time when we only thought of skating and what we needed to do to skate as much as possible. My friends were broke. We ate a lot of beans and rice. I rented a closet for $80 a month for a while. I think the lack of money in skating — especially in the early ’90s during the recession made my goal clear. I just wanted to skate have fun and be the best photographer I could be.

What are you into shooting now?

I love shooting interesting people. For work I have been shooting a lot of lifestyle photos and also making commercials and documentaries. I went on a skate trip in the summer with some old friends and made some new friends and am really happy with the photos I took. I have young kids and love to shoot photos of them growing up as well.

what youth photo credit tobin yelland

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…

what youth michael cukr photo credit

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…

what youth photo credit molly steele

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…

what youth photo credit hunter martinez

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…

what youth photo credit monroe alvarez

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

Skyler Dahan is a Los Angeles based photographer who we were introduced to through industry legend and RVCA founder Pat Tenore. When he looped us in with Skyer, we were immediately blown away by the imagery and how evolved and intimate they were. We hit Skyler up and realized we all could learn a lot…

what youth photo credit wiissa

Photo Credit: Wiissa Portfolio 022 features an exotic photography duo

Wiissa is photography duo Vanessa Hollander & Wilson Philippe. They have roots everywhere from Minnesota, Brazil, France and Miami. And have photographed just about every strange subculture and genre you can think of in music and fashion, as well as mainstream outlets like The Huffington Post. But the thing that we love is their ability to take…

what youth photo credit cory hansen surfing photography

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….

photo credit what youth girls

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…

Photo Credit jack belli what youth

Photo Credit: Jack Belli Portfolio 018

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…

Sign up for letters from What Youth


By enabling this page, you are acknowledging and accepting our privacy terms and conditions.