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The Rules of Skateboarding #5: Giovanni Reda

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The Rules of Skateboarding #5: Giovanni Reda

Village Psychic

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To continue our series on the 'rules' that exist in skateboarding, Ian Browning asked Giovanni Reda about the ups and downs of being a skate photographer in the age of social media.


Have you ever had someone poach a trick that you were trying to shoot?

Nah, that’s never happened, but people have shot stuff I was shooting. Like Mike V ollieing the banks wall with the fence on it—people shot that. I think they might have put it in a zine or something. But that’s never happened. Maybe at contests, but I guess you can’t really count that.

There’s been times where I’ve shown up to shoot a trick of somebody and there’s another photographer there and I’m like “Dude, what the fuck? You called me to shoot this.” Maybe sequences, like back in the film days. I’ve shown up to shoot photos and somebody is already there. They'd be like, "Oh, I didn’t have a quarter to call you.” and I’d be like "Are you fucking kidding me?" But nobody has ever poached a photo that I was shooting and then their angle ran (over mine) or anything like that.
 

Chomp on This will always be the best.

Chomp on This will always be the best.

Do you think it’s harder to keep a trick under wraps now that everyone is walking around with cameras in their pockets?

Yes. And with social media, now everything is instant gratification. It’s fucking tough. It’s definitely tough to keep shit under wraps. I remember in the early days of Twitter videos, I shot this kid back noseblunting down a handrail and then Kerry Getz put it up on his Twitter. Ben Colen texted me and was like, “Damn, some heavy fucking skating on Kerry’s Twitter!” and I’m like “Take that down bro, what are you doing?” And then he took it down, but you know, shit happens.

So I guess social media ties into the next question: with social media and all the digital platforms to run photos, is it even necessary to keep a trick under wraps these days?

I guess it depends on what you’re doing and what you want to do, and what the end result is supposed to be. Look, I guess you just gotta ride the wave of technology, it is what it is. Social media is a presence now. Magazines are better—there’s only like, what, two magazines now? But I think they’re better with curating what they’re putting out, so that stuff won’t have to stay under wraps for as long as it used to be. I mean fuck, you didn’t see Marc Johnson for years while he was filming that Lakai video. Everything was just under wraps.
 

When the real tricks go down, Reda is there. Guy Mariano, pivot kickflip to fakie.

When the real tricks go down, Reda is there. Guy Mariano, pivot kickflip to fakie.

And that’s just not really possible in this landscape anymore.

It’s not. And people just want to see skateboarding, you know what I mean? Maybe it gets too much and you get overloaded with it. Maybe there’s some sort of happy medium. I don’t know.

Do you think print is still an effective means of sharing photos? Or is it just nostalgia at this point?

Absolutely. I think it is. I mean, print has been around for hundreds of years and social media has been around for what? 10 years? Look at Thrasher and Transworld. I think print has its place.

I mean, that’s the wrong question for me because I’m 44 years old. I came up doing print. I love print. I love magazines still. I still shoot for magazines. It has its place, just like radio or TV. The medium might change a little, but it’s never going to go away, you know what I mean? Magazines are smaller now.
 

Make no mistake - your boy has moves. Heelflip.

Make no mistake - your boy has moves. Heelflip.

Magazines are smaller, but the cover of a magazine is still the cover of a magazine.

It’s the cover. It’s nostalgic but it also has meaning. There’s no skater that’s going to see a magazine and go “I’m not looking at that, that’s some old shit.” People still look at the mag and they flip through. It doesn’t matter if there is one or if there's 20. Skaters will look through every single magazine. That’s how it is.

I think they definitely still have their place and they will continue to have their place. There might be new ones, old ones might get thicker. It’s always going to exist. That’s what I think.
 

Luckily NOT blowing it with Mike York.

Luckily NOT blowing it with Mike York.

Have you ever have new technology backfire and cause you to miss a shot?

I’ve had that with not new technology, old technology. Flashes don’t go off. Or the camera breaks. Shit fucking just happens, you know? Like, changing rolls of film and they land the trick. Battery dies and they land the trick. I’ve never had a “I can’t believe I bought this piece of shit and it doesn’t work anymore because this technology sucks.” Shit happens.

One time with Ollie Barton, I remember, Gino did this crazy backside heelflip and I was like “Ollie, you missed that fucking shot? What happened?” He was like, “That’s what we call being in the business of blowing it.”

Every photographer, every videographer has blown it. I once didn’t wind film through my Hasselblad. You've got to wind it through, and I was rushing. Somebody did a lipslide down a big handrail and I was like “Can we do that again? I forgot to wind the film through the camera.” That’s blowing it. That’s not technology. I backfired.
 

"...if someone is trying something really hard, they don't want to do it twice." We get that. Daewon Song, wallride grab to fakie. 

"...if someone is trying something really hard, they don't want to do it twice." We get that. Daewon Song, wallride grab to fakie. 

With DSLRs that can shoot HD video now, do you foresee consolidation to just one guy that’s filming and shooting photos?

I think a lot of that is happening already, but it’s kind of hard to do both. They’re very specific things, so it’s always better to have the photographer and the filmer. I just feel like it makes for a better outcome. Because the thing is, if someone is trying something that is really hard, they don’t want to do it twice. Filmers want their footage to be dynamic, just like a photographer wants their photos to be dynamic, so doing both kinda doesn’t work as well.

You could do it, put the camera on the tripod, press record and walk away, you know what I mean? But I think you need both. What is that expression? Jack of all trades, master of nothing? Do one or the other. You can do both, but do one at a time.