This is a short interview that I did a while back. Originally published by Segue Magazine.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jon Humphries has made a name for himself documenting the careers of some of the biggest names in skateboarding.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, what kind of hobbies did you have?
I played baseball and rode BMX, and then I discovered skateboarding and that’s all I wanted to do.
How did you get into skate photography. Who were some people that you have shot in your earlier days?
When I came to the realization that I was never going to get sponsored as a skateboarder is when I picked up a camera. I just started shooting my friends and then I shot photos of Matt Beach, Jayme Fortune, Neil Heddings, and the rest of the Burnside crew.
Was there a particular photo that really made you realize that photography could possibly become a career?
Honestly my whole career has just been one giant snowball. I never really planned anything, I just shot thousands of photos until someone noticed. And then I finally made some money and realized that this could be a career. It took a long time, but I finally made it, sort of?
What brought you down to southern California? Who were some of the first people you met and worked with after making the transition?
I basically got tired of shooting the same stuff in Portland, and I wanted to go down and work with Lance Mountain and The Firm. I already had a lot of contacts from going down there so much, so it was a pretty easy transition.
What inspires you?
I like NYC, Elliot Erwitt, anyone who pushes the boundaries, Ceon Brothers, Eugene Richards, Brian Gaberman, Spike Jonze, these are all huge influences.
Grant Brittain and Glen E. Friedman have definitely paved the way for photographers within the genre of skateboarding. Who are some of the your favorite photographers that have influenced/helped you along the way?
I love Grant Brittain, he has always been a big mentor. I also like Atiba and Gaberman. My friend James Rexroad that I grew up with helped me with style and lighting. He would give me little assignments and things to learn about lighting and exposures.
How is the transition between skate photography and editorial/celebrity photography? How is the approach different between the two?
It’s all about the same. You have to be really sharp on your people skills. I’m still learning. I was really shy when I was a kid. I’m a social mess.
Are there any future projects that you would like to let us readers know about?
Jason Hernandez and myself are making a new skate video for Nike SB based around the Amateur’s on the team. I got some new article in The Skateboard Mag coming out as well. Also this skateboard company called Manik in Seattle is doing a line of boards and shirts with my photos.
Visit jonhumphries.com to see more of his work.
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