Maybe its a byproduct of that strange Irish American feedback i grew up with that was strong bordering on abusive, but i have always felt that the best judges of quality are those who are difficult to impress. If you want to know how good a restaurant's food is ask a skinny, picky eater because really, how choosy is that fat foodie? A "hmm" grunted by a curmudgeon is higher praise than that hippie-space-cadet guidance counselor that thinks you'd make a great doctor (sorry kid). Empty praise is just as detrimental as a lack of support.
i absolutely hate having my picture taken. Possibly the Native Americans were right when they first believed that cameras steal your soul but most likely it has to do with some poor self image (Irish American upbringing, remember). My driver's license and passport pictures look like mug shots that should be hanging on the Post Office Wall under the 10 Most Wanted. i'm amazed i ever make it through customs. As a teacher i am abused yearly with those 'school pictures' they need to use for ID's. i have 13 years of pictures of me looking like i am about to take a swing at the photographer for the annual torture session. Now that has got to be a thankless job.
Because of this, i have a strong argument for being the Siskel & Ebert of photography. If you can take a picture of me that i like then hell, you must have some talent. With this incredible list of credentials i must praise the talented eye of Louis (Huck Photography).
In the time since April where i have been living out my dream as a skate shop owner i have been fortunate enough to meet an amazing group of people. All ages and all walks of life - some will just check in regularly and slip out while others will come by and shoot the shit with me for hours. We've exchanged friendly nods, schemed possibly-not-exactly-legal ideas, and waxed old skool. Louis is one of these great characters and has now taken shots of the Long's Board Shop Team on two occasions.
He has taken inspired pictures of these talented skaters as we work to promote them in their goals of sponsorship. The still pictures capture a bit of their character which i hope compliments the video footage they all pursue on a regular basis. As i work to wrangle the talent i, to my chagrin, end up in shots on occasion. On our most recent outing Louis has managed to take a picture of me that i don't only not mind... but actually like. A huge endorsement indeed.
Both skateboarding and photography are, at their best, ART. What makes us human is not our use of tools, chimps and crows use tools. It's not our language, as dolphins communicate elaborately through sounds. It's not our intelligence, as we are the only species to ever cause mass extinction. What makes us human is our art. It saves our souls. Getting on that board, taking those pictures, making that music, and sketching those images - that is what defines us. Far more than how we make our paychecks, how we make our art is who we are.