Skateboarding and photography have long been two intersecting worlds. Multitalented photographer Jeff Howlett explores this intersection as he captures the skate community of Rock Hill, South Carolina, who is in need of a skatepark. We chatted with Jeff about his reason for joining the initiative and his dynamic body of work using our Lomochrome Purple, LomoGraflok Instant Back and 35mm CN Film.
Hi Jeff, welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers in your own words?
My name is Jeff Howlett. I am a father, photographer, musician, and filmmaker and I directed and produced a documentary called 'A Band Called Death'. I currently reside in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Today you're sharing some images from a very special photo project on skateboarding you're working on. Can you tell us how this came to be?
My friend Ryan Curry, a former coworker of mine, reached out to me and asked if I could sign a petition he started and anything I could do to help. He told me that in our town kids get ticketed for skateboarding down the street and that it would help the community if we could have a skatepark. I immediately signed on to help with the project. At the same time he mentioned the skatepark, Lomography graciously sent me the LomoGraflok Instant Back and some instant film to demo for a couple of weeks.
What were some of the most memorable answers you've received to the question of what skateboarding is to them?
"Skateboarding has saved my life more than once literally" and "We need a place where kids, parents can connect with their community."
Why did you choose to shoot this project on film?
I choose to shoot the project on film because it has been my favorite medium for photography for a couple of decades now.
What is important to you in shooting a strong portrait?
The most important aspect of photographing a strong portrait is to make the sitter feel as comfortable and natural as possible. When you click the shutter or pull the lens cap, I feel it is usually right then that I got a strong portrait.
What are you hoping to achieve with this project/ photo series?
I would like the city of Rock Hill, SC to realize that the community needs a skatepark, we already have world-renowned facilities for other sports, so why not skateboarding? As of now we have endorsements from the Tony Hawk Foundation and are urging the community and world to sign our petition at here
The skate and photo worlds have always been two colliding worlds. What do film photography and skateboarding have in common for you?
I love photographing people and skateboarders throughout my life and career. Skateboarders, and I being a snowboarder, have always been some of my most dear and down-to-earth friends in the world.
Any advice for our readers who might want to get started on realizing their own creative visions?
I say go out and pick up a camera, actually before you pick up that camera see the natural outdoor light you are presented with or have created with studio lights. Then envision photographing your subject, then pick up your camera and execute your vision.