mike blabac

The Faces of Skate

Photography: Mike Blabac

Action sports photographer Mike Blabac on the unique culture of skate photography and the relationships that have taken his career to the next level.

Mike Blabac got his first camera, an old Nikon F3, at a swap meet in 1987. He’s been photographing his friends skateboard ever since, only now his friends are legendary athletes like Torey Pudwill, Danny Way and Wes Kremer. 

Starting his career shooting on film, Blabac’s initial response to the evolution into digital photography was to vehemently oppose it. That is until he took the iconic photo of skateboarder Danny Way jumping the Great Wall of China in 2005; a shot that to this day circulates the web. Since then he’s adapted fully to an industry that continues to change on a daily basis, claiming a stake in the action sports photography space with a career spanning two decades. While Instagram heroes may ebb and flow, photographers like Blabac that have years of experience honing their craft will continue to rise through the noise.

His portrait shots of some of the top skaters in the world illustrate the unique dynamic between photographer and athlete.

Wes Kremer
wes kremer

He’s a really fun guy to travel with, always positive and always ripping, never complains about anything. He’s one of the best skaters I’ve ever had the opportunity to shoot. People will look back on his photos for years to come because his skating is timeless. He’s like a baseball card; you can shoot tons of photos of guys like this and people are asking you to buy prints of them for their wall.

Felipe Gustavo
mike blabac

I’ve been fortunate to see his path into excelling at contests and his story is amazing. His father sold his car to get him a ticket [from Brazil] to Tampa Am and then he won it. That’s how everything is for Felipe. He’s very goal-oriented. I feel lucky to work with him. 

Torey Pudwill
mike blabac

Torey is an amazing character. One of my first experiences with him was for a shoot for ESPN. I called him at like 10 at night last minute. I tell him, “I’m not going to get to your house until midnight, so if you have a white wall I’ll just shoot there.” And then I hear him yelling at his girlfriend and I’m like what are you doing? He goes, “I don’t have a white wall, I’ll just paint one.” I say, “What do you mean dude. You don’t need to paint your house at midnight.” He’s just down for anything, a funny dude. That was my first experience with him and every other one since has been awesome. 

Chris Cole
mike blabac

This was Cole after practice; he was laying on the ground and I just tried to sneak up on him before he saw me to snap his photo. With any portrait shoot, I try and make them forget that they are being photographed. A lot of these dudes are not actors or models. Some of them stiffen up pretty quickly so I try and talk to people and slow things down to make them more comfortable.

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05 2015 RedBulletin.com

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