We recently spoke to Patrick Driscoll about Jonathan Pierce, working for the magazines, Evan Okeson and choosing photography over the conventional – Enjoy


Patrick Driscoll - Photo by Bert Wootton Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord


Can you tell us the story of how you got into skateboarding and along with, it shooting photos? 

I remember going over to my friend’s house who had just gotten a skateboard for his birthday. He also somehow got another board that was a Walmart-brand type set up. I borrowed that from him for awhile and learned how to skate on that. Then I eventually started skating real boards and such. My friends and I skated so much back then and wanted to film all of it, and that interested me more than actually skateboarding. So I began filming first and then skating if they were done doing tricks. Then around that time, I had gotten in two really bad injuries back to back and have since been terrified of doing anything on a skateboard other than rolling around. I’d say I was around 14 when I became seriously interested in shooting skateboarding photos.

Bad injuries?

The injuries weren’t that incredible of stories. Just typical skateboarding injuries. I broke my ankle and foot a few times as well as my collarbone once.

Back to the photography – what sparked off the interest?

My interest in photography pretty much always existed. I was really young looking at negatives my mom had shot and also negatives I had from going to skate camp for a week. The whole negative thing really confused me, but I was pretty hooked on taking photos. I fell into a phase where I was playing basketball exclusively all day and night for a few years, while occasionally skating and reading skate magazines. I wasn’t learning photography at that period. I taught myself photography after the basketball thing. I saw a Corey Duffel interview that Gaberman shot in an issue of Skateboarder and immediately fell in love with it. I dropped basketball pretty much overnight and started shooting skateboarding stuff.


Corey Duffel, Frontside Boardslide - Photo by Brian Gaberman Patrick Driscoll Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord


What equipment do you use?

Yeah, I use digital mostly. A 5d Mark II. It’s a nice camera, the resolution is nice. The latitude is really great on it as well as HD video is pretty great too. I have a mix of flashes, some Sunpak, Nikon, and Elinchrom. I’ve been shooting lately with a Pentax 67, which is a really great camera. Might try to shoot skateboarding with it soon.

Can you tell us the story about any personal  favorite photos you have shot yourself? 

I think some of my favorite images I’ve shot don’t really have any extravagant stories behind them. I have a photo of my friend Chris taking off a sweater that reads ‘school sucks’. I really like that one a lot. We were on the road travelling at that time for about a month and a half. Day by day I felt an increasing feeling of vagrancy, having slept on floors consecutively for thirty plus days in a row. Also I had decided to take that trip with my friends in lieu of going to school. So the photo says a lot, I guess.


Patrick Driscoll - 'School Sucks' Interview Deaf Lens skateboarding Photography


As far as skate photos go, I shot a photo back in 2008 or 2007. It’s my friend Dan Zvereff  50-50ing on a rail on a wall in NYC . I was in town searching for schools to go to – a recurring theme in my life. We went out and skated one day just a few hours after I had met him. After asking “what did Jake Johnson do at this spot?” across the city, we found the rail on the wall and knew we had to get a photo on it.



Dan Zverref, 50-50 - Patrick Driscoll Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord



Where did the trip take you?

On that particular trip, we loaded up two cars and headed east. Our destination was my friend Jackson’s house in a small town in Michigan. He’s my best friend and a legendary skateboarding filmmaker. We took that trip to film for his new video

What about searching for schools?

At that point I was trying to find some sort of validation at a high level that what I was trying to do was meaningful. There’s a large part of my brain that wants me to think I’m a lame person for not following a set of guidelines or directions. So, I looked at schools to basically reason with myself what I was doing. I decided against it, and I’m glad I did. I’d probably melt from the impending stress of student debt as well as time spent away from my friends.

Are there any common misconceptions about the lifestyle of a skateboarding photographer?

If you’re out there trying to solely make a living off of skateboarding photography, then I don’t have to tell you much. There’s not much money in it, you’re gonna have to go out and skate with a guy you might not like in order to try to sell an ad, and the secure jobs are countable with one hand. The upside is you’re exposed to unique, interesting, and creative people whom you share a strong feeling with. You won’t be shorted of interesting conversations, experiences and life lessons in the meanwhile.

Can this dishearten your enthusiasm and passion for photography at times?

I think bringing financial responsibility into a creative field will be stressful in more cases than not. I don’t know of many people who blast right out of the gates and do well for themselves. It’s a tough gradual process that puts everything in my life into perspective on the daily. I use it to work harder and motivate myself to shoot and submit more. The passion will always be there though.

Can you tell us about the photo of Evan Okeson’s frontside flip?  Whats Evan like as a skater? 

That photo has an interesting story attached to it. We were in Albuquerque, New Mexico at a college out there.  A homeless guy approached us while we were at the spot and asked us for cigarettes. He then went on to saying he’s “inherently nice” and that his “mother doesn’t give a fuck about me”. He then continued to dance around and stumble and finally left on his bike. As funny as those moments are, I can’t help but feel incredibly sad after they happen. In any event though, Evan is an incredible skater. He doesn’t struggle much at all with anything he tries. He’s even an excellent roofer and construction worker.


Evan Okeson, Frontside flip - photo by Patrick Driscoll Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord


The photo of Evan’s bluntslide is great too -

The bluntslide photo is actually a funny story as well. He had filmed it already for his part but we both really wanted to get a photo at that spot. I knew the wall was textured so I wanted to take advantage of that somehow. Matt Price had shot a few photos on that thing so I took some inspiration from him on that one. I set up my stuff in a matter of a few minutes and thought we might be there for a bit. Low and behold, first try, he gets on it, I snap the photo, he sticks it and falls. We both looked at the photo and were so hyped we started taking down the lights and such. He tried one or two more so I could shoot from a different angle. But that’s how Evan is. Really really skilled on a skateboard and unpredictable at times.


Evan Okeson, Bluntslide - Photo by Patrick Driscoll Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord

How has skateboarding changed since you began shooting?

The skateboarding world I’ve built for myself hasn’t really changed much. I guess more so now I try to meet new people and skate with them. I feel comfortable going out and meeting new folks and shooting with them.

Has skateboarding photography changed? 

Skateboarding photography in itself has changed a lot though and I’m not much of a fan of new skate photos. I’m sure I sound like an idiot to most people, which is fine… But as a whole I don’t enjoy looking at new skateboarding magazines. I miss flipping around to see new Pommier work or Sturt’s even. Sturt was a bit before my time but still one of the most classic photographers to date. Ryan Allan’s new stuff is great. I appreciate the guys out there who take time for new perspectives and techniques, which seems to be a little stagnant lately.

Which photographers influence you?

I draw inspiration from Brian Gaberman, Scott Pommier, Daniel Sturt, and lately Ryan Allan. Their take on skateboarding photography is just too awesome. I take notes from them more than anyone else I think. Their work is more of an ode to motion rather than some popular skateboarder’s trick. As far as non skate stuff goes, Pommier’s stuff is on point. I just made a new friend Mo Neuharth, I like her stuff a lot too.

What’s Johnathan Pierce like to shoot? 

Jonathan Pierce is a classic dude. Really great guy and shreds harder than mostly everyone I know. He’s a really big fan of watching Vanilla Sky with me everytime we hang out. He’s working hard for the Zero video right now and hopefully it works out that he gets stuff in it.



Jonathan Pierce, Frontside Smith - Patrick Driscoll Interview The Deaf Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord Zero Cold War



You watch Vanilla sky over and over? 

Jon’s just a big fan of vanilla sky. He’s super obsessed with certain things like a certain movie or a certain joke. He’d be bummed if he read this in an interview though hahaha.

How often do you get kicked out of spots? What way do you deal with confrontation when this happens?

I get kicked out of spots pretty often. I normally just sink into my shell and try to take down my stuff as quick as possible so I can leave.

What do you think of skaters who hassle those that ask them to leave spots?

Within reason, I understand why we shouldn’t be out in certain places skateboarding. It’s illegal and destructive in mostly all scenarios you can conjure up. I don’t necessarily like to walk away from a spot like a dog who’s being punished, but normally I wish people would just keep their mouth’s shut. Sometimes you end up skating with an idiot who thinks it’s his duty to be a tough guy and yap away at security guards or bystanders.

What sort of relationships you have built over the years from shooting photos? 

Yeah I’ve met some awesome people in the past seven or so years doing this. I can’t really recall any times where I was over it or over a certain person. One person that sticks out is Marisa dal Santo. She’s probably the coolest person to bullshit around with. Top five favorite skateboarder too.

What about working with the magazines?

Working with magazines is fun but it’s the kind of work that comes few and far between for me. I interned at Transworld for a while. I don’t submit as much as I’d like but I need to get on that starting tomorrow. I finished Airplane Mode for The Skateboard Mag recently that I’m happy with.

How was it interning at Transworld?

Interning for Transworld was cool. My friend Sam helped me out with getting it. I moved out to California and started doing stuff with them. I mostly scanned every page of every issue they put out from 1984-1992 I think. If you want to crunch those numbers, it started off at around 44 pages per issue, 6 per year. Then by ’92 it grew into a large monthly magazine.

And what about The Skateboard Mag? 

The dudes at The Skateboard Mag are great. I’m close with Price over there who I consider one of my best friends. He’s helped me out a lot. Swift and Brittain are both awesome people too. Can’t beat their experience!

Can you tell us about ‘Miles’?

Miles was just me exploring my new environment in Oceanside/Vista California. I shot them with the mindset that I wanted to show my deceased father where I was and what I was doing. That’s a bit deeper than the skate photography!


'Miles' - Patrick Driscoll Lens Skateboarding Photography The Deaf Word TheDeafWord


Can you tell us about some future projects? 

I want to expand my portfolio and work on some new series. I’ve finished some new work that is abstract and different from what I do and have done. I’ve been doing some commercial work lately outside of skateboarding that I’d like to work more with.

What commercial work have you been doing?

I did some work with Red Bull recently that was a cool experience. I’m trying to build a portfolio with commercial related stuff, as well as continue to shoot skateboarding. It’s an interesting mix but I’m always up to expand my horizons. No weddings though, sorry.

Can you recommend a song for us to finish up with?

Not much beats the Beach Boys! – ‘Don’t Worry Baby’


Check out Patrick Driscoll’s work at http://patrickrdriscoll.com/

Follow Patrick Driscoll on Twitter: @driscollphoto

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