Locals Only, a selection of Hugh Holland’s 1970s skateboarding photography, opens October 23rd at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles.
Hugh Holland is a self-taught photographer who developed his interest in the medium in the sixties while living in Oklahoma and working at a photo lab. After a trip to Spain in 1968, he moved to Los Angeles and began to seriously pursue photography – building a dark room and photographing everything around him, especially people. While driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard one day in 1975, he discovered the subject that would dominate his photography for the next three years. Off the side of the road he saw the bodies of skateboarders, dipping and arching in the air, and was immediately inspired. At a time when there were few cameras aimed at skateboarders, Holland was welcomed into the scene and soon began driving the kids all around Southern California, documenting the riders and their culture. Although not a skateboarder himself, Holland has a true appreciation for the sport that resonates in his dramatic, awesome images.
The empty pools, schoolyards, and parks featured in the photographs are the stuff of skaters’ dreams – huge, vacant expanses made even more deluxe by Holland’s ultra-wide lenses. The lines and shadows created by the curved and cut-out landscapes make for beautiful, trippy compositions that glorify the skaters – simultaneously capturing the speed and poise of their movements.
Compared to the graphic, fat-shoe, ankle-twisted skate photos of today, these works have a laid back, unaffected quality that speaks to a time when the sport was more about personal feats of gravity and unmeditated risk-taking than triple endorsement-seeking one-upsmanship. Locals Only is a chance to see skateboarding the way it once was – unembellished, hazardous, and imperative; truly skate or die.Hugh Holland: Locals Only
M+B Gallery, Los Angeles
October 23 – December 4, 2010
Artist’s opening reception and book signing is October 23rd, 6 PM – 8 PM