PDN Photo of the Day

A Seductive Look at 70s Skate Culture

A new show presents Hugh Holland’s photographs documenting the rise of Southern California skateboard culture in the 1970s. While Holland is best known for the color photos he made of the scene, the show, “Silver. Skate. Seventies,” on view at M+B Photo in Los Angeles until January 31, highlights Holland’s black and white images, an archive that has never been shown before. While Holland’s color photos record the sunny mood of the scene, his black and white images highlight the grace of his lithe, long-haired subjects as they fly through space. Included in the exhibition are many of the earliest images Holland made, starting in 1975, when he came across kids on LA’s Laurel Canyon Boulevard skating in the drainage ditches on the side of the canyon. As he told an interviewer about his first encounter, “I saw these little heads bobbing at the surface of the road, because the ditch was below ground level. I pulled over at the nearest street, walked back and started taking pictures.” Holland spent three years photographing skaters, who were was busy taking advantage of the region’s empty swimming pools caused by an ongoing drought to practice their emerging sport. For the project, Holland traveled around LA, the San Fernando Valley, Venice Beach and as far away as San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Baja California in Mexico. Says Holland in a statement, skate culture “spread like wildfire all over Southern California. I know it happened in other parts of the world too, but California felt like the center of it all.”

Related Stories:
Tintypes of “the Restless Soul of Skateboarding”
Dotan Saguy: Street Photography on Venice Beach
A Skateboarding Wet-Plate Photographer’s Year-Long Cadillac Project (for PDN subscribers; login required)

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