Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Photo of the Day

Chris Miller, fs ollie, Dead Frog Pool, 1990. Photo: Brittain

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sinisa Egelja RIP

Sin Egelja, a friend to many within and outside the Skateboarding world passed away this last weekend.
He was a unique individual, one of the funniest people I knew and had a giant heart.
Sin was a great skate photographer and was so creative in the many endeavors he took on.
My heart goes out to his friends and family and especially his daughter, Stella.
We will miss you Sin, rest Brother.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Remember street plants?

Rodney Mullen upside down in 1987.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


He's really good.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Tom Penny Photo I Missed

It was 1995. Went to Huntington Beach skatepark, the one next to the high school. Tom Penny rolled up and wanted to jump down the stairs across the street next to the police station.
It was kind of a bust, it would have to be a quick one.
I set up my lights and walked over to a good spot to shoot from, I was looking down at my camera, making some adjustments, f-stops and such when I heard the distinctive sound of rolling wheels. I raised my head and saw Tom rolling towards the set of stairs and was barely able to raise my camera and fire off a frame of film. He made the kick flip with ease and we got the boot and I knew I didn't have the shot. I had no time to focus my zoom lens. The photo was out of focus so I never used it. "If it's not in focus, it's out of focus.", Stacy Peralta. Photos of Tom Penny are rare and they rarely don't get used. A while later Swift went back and shot a frontside flip at the same spot, so I guess it wasn't in my cards all the way around.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How everything and everyone around us inspires us

Photographers are sponges, I know I am. I take inspiration from my surroundings and get a lot of inspiration from the creative people I meet. This is a portrait of Stacy Peralta I shot at a taco shop across from the Santa Monica skatepark in 2009. The digi file got corrupted and this is how it came out of the camera, I don't mind the cropping. Stacy produced the Bones Brigade videos back in the 80s and set the standard for skate videos that followed. I have always admired Stacy's creativity and passion over the years and watching his art has helped my own work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tommy Guerrero on his home turf.

Tommy Guerrero, China Banks, SF, 1986. GSD is in the background.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Perfect Timing or Just Lucky?

I shot this photo of Neil Blender at the park in North Van in 1986. The sun just peeked through behind him and gave the shot that little extra.
Photo: Brittain

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Mistakes

Before there were radio slaves to trip your flashes remotely, there were optical slaves. Lots of times they didn't go off, this is one time everything went wrong and I am glad it did. In today's era of Digital Perfection, the perfect image can become more of the same.It's fun to screw up.
Kanten Russell, late 90s, San Diego, CA.
Photo: Brittain

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Swift and Brittain posters now available

Get a high quality poster on heavy stock suitable for framing by Dave Swift and Grant Brittain

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Skate Photographer's Etiquette And Technique Or Lack Thereof

The fisheye lens has been the skate photographer's staple lens of choice for over 30 years since the late, great Warren Bolster(RIP) first captured images of the 70s skate legends on film. The fisheye is an essential tool when shooting skateboarders. Skateboarding is one of the few photographic subjects where the fisheye is used extensively. The lens has its uses and misuses. Many years ago, I can remember Thrasher's photographer, Mofo lecturing and regulating the younger photographers about their bad habit of not looking through their viewfinders, holding the camera out at arm's length and just shooting willy-nilly anything that moved. I admit, I was guilty of it in my early days of shooting. Making skate photos is no different than making any kind of photos. Photography is an artform and certain elements must all come together to make a nice photo, a certain amount of skill in operating the camera is also essential. In skate photography, the action, the light, the vantage point, the exposure and the composition are the main ingredients neccessary in creating an adequate skate photo. Anyone can learn the technical basics of the camera. I have checked out thousands of other photog's photos and the ones that have really stood out are the ones where the composition of the photo really put it over the top. The photo had balance to it, the horizon was straight, not tilted, arms and legs and boards not cropped out, it was composed. You can't possibly compose a shot if you are not looking through the viewfinder, that's why the manufacturer put it on the camera! Very few of those haphazardly taken shots come out. I was compelled to write about the fisheye and its proper usage after shooting at the Protec Pool Party yesterday. I was amazed and shocked that the old ways of shooting without looking through the viewfinder had again raised its ugly head. Ok, it was very crowded on the deck of the combi pool, five to ten photographers lined up at each trick spot. That's just part of shooting a big contest where anyone with a camera(phone) can obtain a wristband(or not) and sit shoulder to shoulder and elbow to elbow with skate photographers who have paid their dues to skateboarding over the years. Well, that's another story, back to not looking through the viewfinder. I hadn't really witnessed this nasty habit in a long time, I think a Munster Monster Mastership in Germany in the mid 90s was the last time, the habit had spread from the States to Europe, our gift to them. I thought it had thankfully died out until yesterday, it's back with a vengeance! Unfortunately, the practice of not looking through the viewfinder not only affects the practitioner's photos, but also affects the photographers' photos around them. In one instance, I had a photo framed(composed) and then had a hand holding a camera come into frame from Stage Right and at the same time a photographer walking by, stopping and taking a photo with camera held at waist level in front of me.
I actually shook my head rapidly from side to side like in the cartoons, I was amazed at the lack of etiquette, skill and manners. It was unbelievable. I finally had to call off one guy after he repeatedly ruined several of my shots by sticking his hand and camera into my viewfinder frame. This isn't all about ME, I saw this action committed over and over again to many of my peers and it's simply NOT COOL!
My advice to novices is to learn the rules of photography first and to realize what is an acceptable way to act when shooting around other photographers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Man does not live on Action alone

Don't get pigeonholed as a "Skate Photog". Shoot what's around you, keep that camera whirling, shoot everything.
The best skate photogs are the ones who can shoot it all, portraits, landscapes, street docu, lifestyle, oh and skateboarding.
The master of all goes on the trips and gets the icing.
This is Natas, Vallely and Gonz back en la dia, just farting around. I'd say it's a "classic" shot. I just happened to be there and just happened to shoot one frame. Right place, right time. Click on photo to enlarge and enhance.
Photo: Grant Brittain

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Atiba Jefferson Interview/Portfolio Soon

When I get out from under my deadline at the mag, I will get an Atiba bit going. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Coming Soon. A site dedicated to the work of Skateboarding Photographers and Skateboarding Photography. Stay tuned. Click on photo to ENLARGE.