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Just Skateboarding.

Photographer/Writer: Clay Hadley

Pictured: JoJo Santos, Evan Jones, Kyle Sims, Hunter Priest, Von Pearson, Tanner Wilson, Gus Baldwin

Layout Designer: Jaina Wong

I created this collection out of a need for myself to visually capture skateboarding and the feeling it gives me and my friends. I’ve been skateboarding seriously for 14 years and I’ve seen it undergo every trend, every level of acceptability in society, and every stage of popularity. When I started skateboarding, my mom was worried I would turn into a deadbeat and the idea of success in skateboarding was exclusive to Tony Hawk. That was over a decade ago and the version of skateboarding we see now is completely different than how it was perceived at that time. Even though it’s undergone these massive changes in regards to public perception, it still feels the same to me. I still escape reality every time I step on my board and get to be a part of an insane community that’s more welcoming and open than anything else I can imagine.

The e-boy you see on the social media platform “Tik-Tok” with padlocks on his neck carrying his skateboard as an accessory is not a skateboarder. The kid who’s been in his driveway for 5 hours sweating his ass off trying to land his first kickflip is a skateboarder. The guy in the camo cargos and dirty white t-shirt trying the same trick on the same ledge at the park for the last week is a skateboarder. It’s not someone trying to capitalize off a trend or portray some level of coolness they think this piece of wood with four wheels will give them. It’s pushing down the street with your best friends not thinking about anything other than what’s happening right then and there.

So let’s talk about this collection in particular. When I came to UNT, I started skating with a whole new group of people and we grew bonds similar to ones I had when I was a little kid. I hadn’t felt what it was like to be a part of a solid group of skaters in a very long time and it was long overdue. We started hosting BBQs at Denton Skatepark and really started to bring Denton’s skate community together and it felt like we were building something that was beyond ourselves. At the same time, I’d been changing my style of photography to include more people and life as my subjects as opposed to buildings and objects. I wanted my photos to breathe and have emotion weight attached to them and be things I could look back on as memories. I wanted to start shooting the evolution of Denton’s skate scene.

I knew these photos had to be different, though. Because nothing’s as bland to me as slapping a wide-angle on and getting a bland, up-close photo of someone skating a handrail or stairs. It’s the skate photo equivalent of 50 photographers standing in the photo pit of the Olympics with the same lens getting the same photo. I wanted the photo to be not only of the trick, but also of the environment, the feeling, and all the in-between-moments. After all, that’s what skateboarding is to me. It’s not the tricks. It’s the moments we all share as friends in-between the tricks. My best memories aren’t of tricks I’ve done --they’re of running around playing tag on our boards in the park and goofing off being dumb kids, only with skateboards in our hands.

We planned a trip to Austin in the first week of October, I brought 7 rolls of black and white film and shot these images. These are my friends. These are photos of them skateboarding and doing everything that encompasses. They’re raw, unplanned, and unfiltered. They’re not staged, they’re not edited, and they’re honest. Just like skateboarding.

The spreads below are in the 2nd issue of Over Magazine "Self". You can view this issue by clicking HERE.

And if you're interested in a physical copy, you can click HERE.

These layouts were made by Jaina Wong


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