Behind the Lens

Let Us Roam

Skateboarders, as a group of individuals, are probably the most creative group of people I know. I remember picking out my first skate deck at the age of 16. It was a birthday present that I’d been begging for, a box with trucks and wheels and a chance to go down to Cal’s Pharmacy in Portland and pick out a simple piece of wood that would become the gateway to an alternative perspective on the world. I had no idea what to choose and went for the purple Salmon Agah Pro Model from The Firm, probably because I liked the color.


I used to take that skateboard down to the grade school by my house and every day after school I would try to teach myself to ollie. This was before cell phones and youtube clips. I had only my imagination and the occasional tips from others to help me learn. It took 3 weeks of trying every day to get it down. To this day, I’m still proud of the fact that I can ollie. It may not be the most beautiful thing in the world, but I can get my wheels off the ground and feel the satisfaction in my stomach when I properly snap the tail and raise my knees to float through the air with my board magically following underfoot. Skateboarding changes the way you see the world, but I also think that those of us who are attracted to it, already see the world from a different angle and skateboarding becomes a vehicle for that creativity. When I saw this clip from Leica and watched the preview of their 4 part short series about photographers, artists, film makers and musicians inside of skateboarding, I remembered being a kid hanging out at Cal Skate in Old Town, hearing the news about the next art show at the shop. Skateboarding and photography, or any kind of art really, have always gone hand in hand. I love to see people explore this timeless theme in new ways.


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