With modern developments in handheld communication devices meaning photographs can be snapped, uploaded and digitally ‘liked’ in a matter of seconds, quality levels have been forgotten in favour of lighter backpacks and healthy spines.
There are more riding photos knocking around than ever before, but when was the last time a truly sick photograph was scorched into your mind?
One man still putting the effort into taking decent riding photos is Rob Dolecki. Whilst most people happily settle for a badly timed snap sniped from fifty feet away on an iPhone, he’s rigging up flashes in back-alleys around the globe (and printing the results in his Maintain zine series).
In this article, he talks over some gems from his archives…
Brian Wizmerski, Philadelphia, 2005
Wiz was always ahead of the curve with every trend, whether it was the tricks he invented or just the type of stuff he rode. When we shot this photo, it was before the pole jam craze really started to take hold, and Wiz was pushing the envelope yet again.
This might be the first pole jam barspin… could be wrong, though. The clip appeared in his “Props” interview, and took place not long before his signature dreads were gone forever.
Edwin De La Rosa, Philadelphia, 2013
In all the previous years of Edwin occasionally going to Philly, for some reason I never rode with him there. But then Ed came down a few weekends one autumn to ride and chill (much more chilling than riding, as one would imagine) with Rat, Bob and Tom. I had already been a few years deep into my current Philly stay, so it wasn’t too hard to meet up, when everyone was riding less than a mile from where I live (though I’m sure I was at least a half-hour late).
Bonus info #1: This is currently the fifth closest-to-home riding photo I’ve ever shot. Bonus info #2: There’s a Ratkid half-cameo in the background.
Vinnie Sammon, New Jersey, 2004-ish
This was around the height of the infamous Passaic rail assault, where it became the go-to rail for a while, and seemed like new shit was going down on it almost weekly. Vinnie had dusters on lock, though I rarely saw them, probably since it required removing a peg for him.
Bonus info: I continue to claim I was the first to see this rail after it was installed in 2000, while I was going to my tile job at the time. I wish I could also claim I was the first to grind it, but someone else out there owns that one.
Garrett Byrnes, Toms River, NJ, 2006
T-1 used this for an ad back in the day, where there were a bunch of babies photoshopped under Mr. Byrnes. A few months ago I was cruising around Toms River, NJ, and rode right through this gap and didn’t even notice it. We passed by it again later, and then I realized what it was. It’s way larger than I had remembered.
I can imagine Garrett riding around here on occasion and randomly firing it out without a second thought; he just keeps on going like he hit a normal curb jump. That would be typical Garrett.
Butcher, Paris France, 2009
I was on a trip that went from Max Gaertig’s hometown Bonn, Germany, to Paris with Max and a van full of dudes. Butcher met up with us on the Paris leg for some jam and a few days of riding. Despite breaking a finger the week before, he thought it was a good idea to cross the Atlantic for such a short trip.
He still managed to ride and also filmed a few gems for his Cuts part. Then again, what else would you expect from one of the rawest riders ever to grace two wheels.