We’re pretty much dying to get our hands on a copy of Pete Thompson’s new book. His latest interview with VHS Mag heightens the anticipation. Everything that he’s shared thus far evokes a keen nostalgia for eras and locations from the past, which we are looking forward to revisiting in print form. In this latest bit of Q&A, Pete shares some key insights along with archival images from what’s become skateboarding’s most celebrated era in recent years.
We’ve pulled some of our favorite takeaways below.
On skate media:
I don’t know if skateboarders today can really understand what that whole experience was like. When a magazine came out, you stopped everything you were doing, sat down and read the magazine cover to cover four times. You wanted to see what was happening, what was cool, what tricks people were doing. Everything was changing so quickly. If you weren’t living in California at that time as a skateboarder, you were living in the wilderness. So when I looked at skate magazines, it was like a fantasy world that you’re having a peek into. I loved the still moments and the curiosity that your mind would conjure up looking at these still shots. I would wonder, “What was this day like? What was happening before and after this picture was taken?” The perfect moments were printed in a magazine. It’s a really beautiful moment to look at and absorb in a way that really connected with me.
On Pepe Martinez:
He was a pretty quiet guy. He was an observer who wasn’t that talkative. But when he did talk he was super funny. He would just crack jokes. I mean, he was a really, really good friend to that crew of guys in DC at the time. He knew his talent level was above and beyond everybody that was around. He knew how good he was but he was so humble. He was adored by everyone around him. He had a lot of dignity and a lot of class. And if you mix all that with his skating, it’s easy to see why people have such an undying love for the guy. Sensitive, compassionate and fucking amazing skateboarder. He was probably the first color sequence I ever shot, a switch backside kickflip tailslide at Pulaski. It was an Element ad. I shot maybe four or five rolls, and that was on my last roll. He bails and picks up his board and I’m squatting on the ground. And as he’s picking up his board, I was like, “Dude, I got one more left.” And he’s like, “Alright, I got this.” And he goes back, turns around, pushes towards the ledge. Does it perfectly and rides away.
On creating the book:
I don’t know if inspired is the right word, but what really struck me about this entire archive collection of pictures was that my view of it had changed. I don’t know how I could have ever done this had I kept shooting skating, because in your mind what you’ve created has a certain worth to you and everybody else that you carry with you. And if you can somehow step away from that mindset, you may be able to see your photos in a different light, maybe see your pictures from the perspective of another person’s eyes who doesn’t skate. That was the main thing, was I wanted the pictures to obviously be appealing to skateboarders, but I also wanted people who don’t skate to be able to look at the book and be, “Wow, there’s a lot of cool pictures in here.” So you have to detach yourself from the pictures that you have been told your entire career as a skate photographer are the good pictures.
Read the entire interview here.