The is not surfing. This is running, full-sprint, launching into oncoming waves, 360 aerials, tube-riding before landing back on shore, ideally untouched. This is Skimboarding.
I’ve never really known much about skimboarding, but after seeing a couple of guys casually goofing around at the waters edge in Santa Monica, I figured there has to be more to it. So I decided to follow my curiosity about this under the radar sport. I’m always looking for interesting subjects to shoot for personal projects, ideally that have not been covered too much. What I found was not just a great visual feast of a sport, but a whole sub-culture, all focused at one spot, Aliso Beach, just an hour and a half down the 405 in Laguna Beach, California.
Aliso is where skimboarding was invented in the 1920’s and is still generally considered to be the best place in the world to skim. People move here just to build a life around skimboarding and compete against legends. So I set out to capture the character of Skimboard culture and with the portraits a cross-section of the devotees who make Aliso what it is today.
I shot over the summer months of 2015, leading up to the World Tour event at Aliso called The Vic, on the last weekend in August. After a few weeks I got to know who’s who and a great set of characters were becoming apparent thick and fast. I love to shoot portraits of people who are still effectively in their element, maintaining that authenticity and intensity. I want you to be able to almost taste the salt-water just by looking at them.
But no matter how global Skimboarding becomes, Aliso will always be its home, its proving ground, its Bansai Pipeline. For more go to: gallagherphoto.com/galleries/skim
I was interviewed recently by PDN about my work, my process and my Clickbooq website (seriously, the best websites in the business, for photographers, in my view). Here’s an excerpt and you can read the full thing here.
“Robert Gallagher’s photography career is dynamic: One day he’s shooting a travel feature in Bora Bora for The Guardian; another day it’s the cofounder and CEO of the dating app, Tinder, for the cover of Forbes. When we connect over the phone, he’s brimming with excitement over a shoot in Los Angeles with singer, songwriter and musician John Lydon, who is best known by his former stage name as the Sex Pistols’ front man, Johnny Rotten. The shoot was a treat for the photographer, who having grown up in England in the 1970s, notes that it was “Margaret Thatcher vs. the Sex Pistols” in the spectrum of cultural iconography. He had the opportunity to get to know the family-man side of the infamous English punk rock singer when he gave him a ride home from the shoot. “That’s why I love my job,” he says. “You never know who you’re going to meet from one day to the next—I love those little vignettes of life.” But what really struck him about Lydon was that he showed up to the set with only a simple plastic bag full of his belongings. “He still a little bit anti-establishment,” Gallagher laughs.”…….
Congratulations to our buddy Rickie Folwer who finally won his first Major tournament this past weekend, and what a nailbiting playoff to decide it too. We got to have fun with Rickie during my first ever assignment for Golf Digest, one of my favorite clients.He’s a first rate Motocross rider it turns out and apparently could have turned pro there too. I think he made the right choice. Good on ya Rickie, although it appears your girlfriend may have stolen all the headlines!
Go whoop that sucker, Manny!
What a team these two make. It’s clear when you see Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao working together that not only are they a great team, but have a genuine friendship too.Freddie has Parkinson’s pretty bad, but the astonishing thing is, once he’s in the ring, gloves on, pads on…it’s gone. Not a sign of it. Clearly he’s operating on another level.Much respect to him and his life’s work…. Manny the Pacman Pacquiao. Poetry in motion.
Ok, so this is cool, I just found a little film of the Imagination Masterclass 2011 which I was fortunate enough to be asked to take part in, all the way over in Maastricht, Holland. Thanks to Roy Wanders and all the team. what a great event. The gallagherphoto show begins at 3:03 on the timeline:)
It makes for an interesting life when one day out of the blue an email can come in and the very next week you’re off to a South Pacific Island for a few days to tootle around and shoot beautifully inspired pictures. What i love specifically about travel photography is that in its very essence it’s your job to immerse yourself in the travel experience. You have to feel it to capture it. That does mean long hours though, as you’ll always be top and tailing the day (shooting at sunrise and sunset) which means up at the crack for the best light, but it does make for a memorable experience!
This assignment was with esteemed writer and columnist Andrew O’Hagan, who was a great travel partner and portrait subject. Like me he had no problem getting into the zone!
And as an extra added bonus to myself, I managed to wangle my return flight at my own expense……
Flight change fee: $100
Extra nights stay on Tahiti: $150
Rubbiing lime juice on hand, feet and butt after getting dragged over the reef surfing Taapuna: priceless!
I’ve always dreamed of surfing Tahiti, so couldn’t let this opportunity pass, but definately had no plan as to how to make it happen (there’s nowhere the rent boards on the island it turns out). But after meeting some awesome people within 24 hrs, I was also able to turn an amazing work trip into a fun little surf trip as well. Life is what you make it and take chances when opportunities arise. Oh, and the $150/ night place on Tahiti? The Tahiti Airport Motel. Great place, very clean, friendly and literally right across from the airport. I walked to catch my flight!
Part of the job description of being an editorial photographer is being able to pull all kinds of productions together in a relatively short amount of time, without of course compromising any sort of quality. It’s a fun and exciting aspect of the game, as well as a nerve-jangling one (but i suspect that’s what keeps us in it, right?). And although this was’nt a huge production challenge in terms of what could have been needed on any given day (which basically consists of literally anything!) it’s always somewhat of a tricky challenge to create an entire photo- studio in someone else’s workspace, one that’s high quality enough to grace the cover of a major newsstand magazine, all within a limited time-frame.I mean, it’s not exactly like working in a studio where you’re lighting, spacing and set-up have some consistency and familiarity. No, in this instance we basically have two hours to park, haul a studio up to the ninth floor, construct, concept, test, adjust, back-up concept, test, think, re-think, decide if you actually like the light or even the idea, sometimes start from scratch, hopefully have a cup of tea, enough to re-build your energy, ‘cos guess what, in 10 minutes your subjects gonna arrive and you’ve got to shoot a kick-ass cover. And oh yeah, he’s not someone who makes a living in front of camera, so I’ve really gotta bring it, to get him be there! So, it’s challenging, but also fun in a sort of self-mutilating/ testing ones- self kind of way! Ha. Oh yeah, and we also need a double page spread shot too! Yep, that’s got to be creatively worked, concepted, lit etc. So there’s a lot of work that goes into these location cover shoots in a very small amount of time and I couldn’t even come close to doing it without a great team, who act as a spare set of eyes as well as literally muscle. The trust allows it to become a great little creative menagerie, a melting pot where i’m nothing more than the head chef, as well as kind of circus ringleader! Thanks to a great team guys….Thomas Hencz, Leah Christensen and David Fearns.
It’s not everyday you get the run of the entire 20th Century Fox studio backlot, $250,000 worth of Ferrari, oh and yes, the venerable Mr. Jim Gianopulos, CEO of said studio, to play with. But thanks to The Official Ferrari Magazine, that’s exactly what happened back in June.Jim was actually awesome to work with. I’ve shot plenty of business types, and some you just can’t loosen up, but he seemed to totally enjoy the process and had fun with it. Partly due to the location, the car, and his Godfather-esque looks, i was feeling a kind of ‘Little Italy tough guy from the streets done good’ kind of vibe, and Jim was right there with me. Hey, forgetaboutit! It’s almost like he hangs around with famous actors all day!Great working with you Jim, hope we get to do it again some day. Thanks also to the excellent production team at Ferrari, and Amy Trezise and the location team at Fox.
Romo and the Cowboys are a rollin’, with talk of being the best team in the league! We’ve done a couple of shoots with the Cowboys QB over the years for Sports Illustrated and Pepsi. Stand up guy!
Much of the life of a professional photographer revolves around creating self- funded personal work, re-enforcing the old adage “show what you want to get hired for” and these projects often become our self- promotion pieces. I also try to tie into what’s current, so i decided to create a piece for the World Cup Brazil 2014.
As my studio is near the beach, i thought it was a perfect opportunity to create images that have a little Copacabana Beach football- style as well as the classic Brazil World Cup aesthetic, thoroughly encompassing the flamboyant visual beauty that is Brazilian football.
The World Cup starts June 12th and will feature thirty-two of the world’s top national teams. Even larger in both viewership and revenue generation than the Summer Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world will take place in twelve separate cities around the country, ranging from the beachfront metropolis Rio De Janeiro to the Amazon rainforest capital of Manaus.
Big thanks goes out to Devin Trafford and Tadeo Cuerpaso (facebook.com/CUERPASO) for help on this shoot.
Get your samba on!
Stanford University’s Technology Ventures Program is Silicon Valley’s incubator for the next big thing. A business program where playtime is problem- solving. The brainchild of innovation gurus Tina Seelig, Ph.D and Tom Byers, Ph.D, the program is dedicated to accelerating high-tech entrepreneurship. It’s a high value prize for all at Stanford, and enrollment is limited to a dozen outstanding students each year. Plus you get to wear paper cones on your head all day and call it work!
We spent a couple of days with the professors and students of the STVP, poking around the creative hub on campus that is the d.school and generally soaking up the chilled out yet intense vibe that is Stanford for The Times magazine, and let me tell you, these kids know they’re at the center of the business world.