ART, Photography, Skate, , , ,

#features: hugh holland, capturing the beginning of something great

Miércoles, julio 20th, 2016 | T: lamono

The right place and the right time; camera on the passenger seat ready to shoot; the year is 1975, and as Hugh Holland drives along the Hollywood Hills, the early skaters are flying through the air. They are, as he baptized them, Wild Boys, and radiate the characteristic overflowing energy and enthusiasm for challenges so present during youth. Dreamlike photographs in empty pools bathed by sunlight. Now, four decades later, those images of fun and sensuality transport us to a place and time that seem almost mythical, to the birth of a subculture, of a new lifestyle, to the birth of modern skateboarding in the California of the ‘70s. Veteran photographer Hugh Holland reminisces for lamono those days of change and frenzy: “in a few words, beauty inspired me”.

www.hughholland.com

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M+B-Holland-SidewalkSurfer

Freedom, youth, fun, sensuality; how do you remember those days of youth? All of those things! Today, I don’t think I thought of those times as anything special back then, but now, 40 years later, looking at the photos, they transport me back to an almost mythical place and time. We didn’t think then that we had so much freedom, for instance, but in so many ways, we had a lot more than we do now. Youth, fun and sensuality were definitely in abundance, even if we didn’t realize it at the time. I have always been stimulated by visuals, and when I look at how I recorded those days, it’s obvious that I was stimulated!

When and how did your interest in portraying the first skateboarders was born? One day, in 1975, I was driving by the Hollywood Hills and saw some skaters flying up vertically on the walls of a drainage bowl, the kind they have in the urban hills for flood control. I stopped, had a camera, and they were eager to have me take pictures of them, that’s how it started. I had never seen anyone skating vertical surfaces before that, and it was beautiful. I was hooked!

What do you look for in each portrait? Whatever I’m looking for, I don’t usually know what it is until the second before I shoot. That’s a method I developed during my 3 years of shooting California skaters and their world. Usually, I first recognized the subject of the portrayal and what the scene was, then, I came to recognize in an instant the crucial moment to capture and the composition. I became a candid photographer for sure in that skateboard series. What I was looking for was always a beautiful moment in time. What do I look for? Freedom, youth, fun, sensuality, all of it. Briefly… beauty!

Who was behind your camera? I’m not sure what you mean. I was behind my camera most of the time.

How were these Wild Boys and how was your relationship with them? The Wild Boys were just boys being boys. They had an excess of energy and enthusiasm for the challenges that they were discovering every day in those days, and that is what inspired me. My relationship with them was mostly the relationship of a cameraman (as I was called by some of them), with the subjects of his art. They were inspiring to me, for sure, and they liked very much having their picture taken doing the feats that they were doing (there were not so many cameras around in those days). I was 30 years old and they were mostly teens, but as one of them said to me recently, “we definitely thought of you as “old”!” Well, an adult anyway.

M+B-Holland-LeftTurnOnly

Hugh Holland

Left Turn Only, Orange County (No. 58), 1975. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

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What do I look for? Freedom, youth, fun, sensuality, all of it. Briefly… beauty!

M+B-Holland-TeamLineUp

 Hugh Holland

Team Line-Up (No. 60), 1970s. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

How was your creative process? You went out to the street and on what did you focus your attention? I focused my attention on whatever was in front of the lens, and on how I could capture the best aspect of the scene. Really, I was captivated by the subjects and their wild boy lifestyle. I was doing tons of action shots, but in between I was always interested in composing pictures of skaters resting, waiting their turn… atmosphere pictures, which now are some of my favorites.

How did the arrival of sponsors and trademarks affect the originality of this lifestyle? From my point of view, sponsors, trademarks and all that kind of things, as they multiplied rapidly, really ended my participation, because the scene changed in front of my eyes. It was no longer interesting. Who wants to photograph logos? I liked the wild boys better!

What was the aim of your photography? The aim of my photography was, then and always, just to make beautiful and interesting pictures. I tend to like the kind of pictures that make the viewer imagine things, even a whole story. I like photographs of people that are candid, and maybe look like a scene from a movie.

What do your images explain about yourself? That’s a question that I don’t know how to answer. It would be better to ask the viewers of my images.

Do you agree with the expression: the good old days? I don’t think that ANYTIME was better than now. Don’t memories tend to paint a better picture over time? That time was very good, alright, and in a lot of ways, yes, it was better than now, but not completely.

Which other movement would you have liked to photograph? I wish I had been able to afford the film and processing to do much more street photography in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, like during my year in Barcelona, especially 1968. That’s one period. I think there are many, many more movements or times that I missed and would have been nice to photograph.

Youth goes by too quickly? It is true, for sure! It goes by way too quickly!

M+B-Holland-ArthursAttitude

 Hugh Holland

Arthur’s Attitude (Arthur Lake), Kenter Canyon Elementary, 1976. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

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Hugh Holland

Hang One, Burbank (No. 84), 1975. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

M+B-Holland-HandstandingOnTheBeach

 Hugh Holland

Handstanding on the Beach, Danny Kwock, Balboa (No. 67), 1975. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

M+B-Holland-SidewalkSurferPitStop

 Hugh Holland

Sidewalk Surfer Pit Stop, Huntington Beach (No. 70), 1975. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

M+B-Holland-DownOnTheCorner

 Hugh Holland

Sidewalk Surfer Pit Stop, Huntington Beach (No. 70), 1975. chromogenic print

© Hugh Holland, Courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

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