Skate photography's local hero

Four decades ago, a breezy Cali skater created a photo genre. See his best pics inside

Fashion Insider
Locals Only 02
Courtesy of Sandro/Hugh Holland

Californian Hugh Holland is the first skate photographer. His images of West Coast youth surfing on land propelled a genre, documenting the rise of a 70s subculture in its geographic home. Publishing a book, Locals Only, distilled from thousands of his archive images, Holland has also hooked up with Paris brand Sandro to offer a line of t-shirts and a custom board. Here Holland shares with Dazed Digital how it all began...

"My first experience I had with skaters was on the street, but I remember driving up the Laurel Canyon Blvd and seeing them really bobbing up and down in and out of sight in this little drainage pool up in the Hollywood hills. I had my camera with me so I pulled over to the side of the road and started taking pictures. I was welcomed right away – because they all wanted pictures recording the tricks they were doing.

Growing with them and documenting them, oh yes, that was exciting. Tribe is a good word, there were several tribes. There were the lowlanders and then there were the flatlanders, and the canyon kids. Sometimes they overlapped. There was a lot of talk on how they didn't get along, but I didn't see that. I experienced everyone having a good time, having fun. And they went from one place to another. There were no cell phones or emails or anything like that, by word of mouth they knew the latest spot was.

And so one thing led to another. I had my car so I was giving them a ride. I have a lot of favourite memories, too difficult to pick one – there are thousands and thousands and thousands of pictures. It was about having fun and not even thinking about it."

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