Pete Thompson Breaks Down the Art of the Chill Shot

In honor of the upcoming release of 93 Til, Will Harmon interviewed fellow North Carolinian, Pete Thompson, for Free. It’s an extensive piece that digs into that ‘90s golden era, and features fantastic accompanying photos and footage. One really interesting insight is on the art of the chill shot in skateboarding. It started as something completely utilitarian, but eventually took on a life of its own.

And I remember once you told me you’d shoot a whole skate sequence and then you would have one or two shots left on the roll and then that’s when you’d take a lifestyle type photo. Kind of not really thinking about it…

This is something that just doesn’t happen anymore because most people don’t shoot with film. But when you shoot film you’re stuck with that roll of film in your camera. If you’re shooting black and white and you want to change to colour, you got to get through the rest of the roll. So you had to snap the rest of the roll away and if you were shooting sequences and the roll only had four more frames left, you’re obviously not going to try to shoot a sequence, so there’s four frames that you could shoot of whatever is around you. And I remember seeing other photographers just aim their cameras at the ground and burn through those 4-5 last frames. And I’m sure I did it too, but I also would point the camera at whatever was in front of me and then take a few photos… And looking back at those few photos I sort of beat myself up knowing that I could have made more of an effort to take a decent photo with those last few frames.

Also, shout out to the O.G. Pulaski crew

Except for in (Washington) DC though, ha ha! Remember how stoked they were to shoot ‘chill photos’?

(Laughs) Yeah chill shots! Yeah but I think that speaks more to the scene in DC having this underlying sense of humour… They didn’t take themselves as seriously as a lot of other scenes that were happening in big cities.

The sarcasm!

Yeah those guys (Andy Stone, Eben Jahnke, Pepe Martinez, Jim Gordy, Pooch, etc.)… I think that’s the reason I had such a connection with them ‘cause they had such a rad sense of humour. Everything was funny and that was the goal of the group: even if you weren’t that great of a skater if you cracked jokes at the perfect time and made everybody laugh you were part of the crew.

Read the entire interview here.

Images Via Pete Thompson