Mike Blabac in the 90’s. Portrait by Aaron Meza
It’s been a great pleasure posting Mike Blabac’s 5000 Words contributions. Last weeks posts covered his favourite arty shots and portraits and there were some amazing shots and stories. The final part we are posting today is full of his favourite skate photos. This was a mammoth task for someone like Mike with so many iconic images in his files but he narrowed some down for us…
To narrow down my favorite 10 skate photos is a nearly impossible task for me. They all have so many memories, stories, historical significance, etc. These are 10 of my favorites at the time of editing everything down for this Slam City 5,000 Words article. Hope you enjoy!!!
1. Danny Way is the only person who can do something so gnarly, that it warrants 3 separate photographs of it! This photo of Danny gapping out to Nosebluntslide on the Mega Rail was the first cover of The Skateboard Mag.
2. Danny did this Noseblunt Slide several times this day. He wanted to lock into it as if it were a ledge. He skated until it was almost completely dark when this photo was taken. I used a 50mm Nikon lens wide open at f1.8, and used Tmax 3200 speed film pushed a few stops which is why it is so black and white with so much grain.
3. This photograph of Danny “fishing” is what happens when you’re going over 40 miles per hour while skating an un-capped piece of steel. This was shot just before the cover. I got chills thinking of what would happen to a human while staring at his board stuck in the rail. Danny didn’t think twice – he simply grabbed a 2X4, knocked his board out, smashed the nose back together, and kept skating!
4. Not only is this one of my favorite skate photos, but it’s been one of the most talked about over the past 18 years since Kalis and I shot this. We were just there shooting. He was doing his thing, and I was doing mine. We certainly didn’t comprehend the significance of it that day. I’m so thankful to have been at Love with Josh in the summer of 1999.
5. Tristan is young, but is already a timeless skater. He skates everything. We were at Washington Street Park in 2014 when the dog sat in the corner where T Funk was doing Hurricanes moments earlier. As soon as he sat down – I glanced over at Tristan, and he dropped in seemingly thinking the exact same thing as me. The dog’s reaction is priceless.
6. Night photographs of skating have always been so much fun for me. You can either light a spot up like a studio, or leave the shutter open to let the ambient light in. Kalis, Marquise, Greg Hunt and I were skating around Chicago when we came across this gap under the L Train. Timing the Treflip as the train went by wasn’t too easy, but we eventually pulled it off!
7. I spent countless hours at Pier 7 while it was being built. I love this photo of Mike York skating the middle of the block before it was filled in with glass tiles. Looking at this photo, it looks as though I framed it for York’s light trail. I’d like to say that it was that well thought out, but who knows, maybe subconsciously it was.
8. Kalis and I were in LA skating one day. We were having a bite to eat when he was talking about how dope the OG NYC photos of people skating cabs and cop cars. We decided to do our own version of it. We parked a cab at a gas station in LA, and shot this Noseblunt Slide in LA, 2008.
9. I love this photograph for so many reasons. This was my first cover. It was on the Transworld 1998 Photo Annual. I used to pour over the Photo Annuals as a kid – so it was an honor to have an image of mine grace the cover of one, especially considering it’s of Eric Koston. Rick Howard and Eric were skating both sides of Hubba – so I ran to a local drug store, and grabbed some high speed print film (Konica 3200) because I couldn’t set up flashes for both sides. I ended up pushing the film a stop because it was dark there which is why the colors are a bit muted, and the grain is so big.
10. I recently started shooting photos again for fun the same way I used to in the 90’s. I used to use only one or two flashes, leave the shutter ope, and hope for the best! Jamie is so rad – everything he does is so well thought out. I love the kit he picked out for this image!
That was the third and final instalment of photographs from Mike Blabac. We would like to thank him for these amazing submissions and the stories behind them. Stay tuned for a competition we will be running where you can win a signed copy of Mike’s book! We would also like to thank DC once again for flying Mike and Josh out to be with us. Shop for DC HERE