If you keep up with the East Coast scene, or really the Deadline, The Trip or Fiend guys, there’s a good chance you have seen Chris Marshall’s name in a photo credit or ten. Chris is one of the guys that riders like Garrett Reynolds, Ty Morrow and Augie Simoncini trust to get the photo when it counts.
We’ve been seeing his name pop up pretty much everywhere between all of the magazines and different websites and figured it was more than time to get ahold of this guy and find out what he’s all about. We have a damn good Photos: interview that is a great read below along with a PHOTOGALLERY with a few of Chris’ favorite photos for you guys to get stoked on! So let’s get into this and find out just what this guy behind the lens ( and mask?) is all about.
Name: Chris Marshall
Location: East Coast
Years riding: 14
Years shooting photos: 9 years
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
This is gonna sound whack but honestly my first exposure to BMX was watching Mirra and Miron Kill it in X-games. I didn’t know anything about riding at all. But watching those guys do crazy shit got me wanting a bike. My dad’s friends son just moved back in with his dad and came over and he had a sick DK. So that was the first bike I ever rode. We would just take turns riding it around. Eventually I got my own bike and we just started riding street and building shitty ramps in my backyard.
What about photography? Was it something you picked up because of BMX?
For some reason I never really had an interest in photography till I was about 18.
I got a 35mm film camera and I never really used it much. I took a photo class at the local college when I was 20 and started to get really into it. Around this time in my life I also started traveling a lot with my friends to ride and I also moved to digital. Got a Nikon D70, started trying to take pics of my friends while we were out and about.
What was your very first camera?
The first camera I had I have no idea what it was. I know it was Cannon and it was film. The first camera that I really started shooting with though was when I moved into the digital world and that was the Nikon D70.
What are you currently working with?
Nikon 50mm 1.8mm
Nikon 16mm fish
Nikon utility lens
2 sunpak 622’s
1 quantum qflash with turbo 2×2
3 pocket wizard receiver
1 pocket wizard transceiver
4 foot tall step ladder
8 diff tripods/lightstands
1 4” tall table top tripod
Animal, Deadline, Lotek, Fiend, The Trip, Primo, LFS, and Chocolate Truck stickers
Some loose Bamboo’s
2009 Imac running on OSX Mountain Lion
Mighty Mouse all day
Do you have a dream setup you want to be working with or are you pretty content with what you are working with?
Id love to upgrade my 622’s with some quantum batteries so I could have better recycle times but realistically I’d probably just switch ’em out for 2 Einstein’s. If we were to talk true dream give me that Hassleblad H3
Who were some of the first people you shot photos of?
My first BMX photos were of my friends and anyone that came to Hackettstown Skatepark back in the day. That’s how I met everyone pretty much. Because of that skatepark I shot photos with Mike Hoeder, Mike Brennan, Mike Spinner and a shit ton of other people. Wade Young and I started shooting and filming together too and that’s how I met Garrett Reynolds, Chase Dehart and others.
Who are you regularly shooting with these days?
It’s winter time right now on the east coast, so I don’t shoot with anyone but the clients that come into the portrait studio that I work at, haha. When the weather was nicer I was shooting mainly with the LFS and Chocolate truck dudes.
Over the years you have had the chance to shoot with some of the best street riders in the world. I know Garrett Reynolds is a regular for you. Do you feel like your level of photography would be where it is today without having those opportunities?
Definitely not. When Garrett still lived at his Mom’s house in South Jersey I was going down there every weekend. We would ride everything and anything so I got a shit ton of practice while in the “field”. I learned everything I know about photography during that time. It’s mad funny to me to say but Steve-O has always been a huge motivating force for me too. Steve is always on it. If something’s not right Steve’s gonna tell you right away. Plus, Steve is one of my favorite people to shoot photos of and to chill with. We always seem to get into some crazy scenarios together. It’s scary at times but always fun. Hahahaha
The whole Deadline crew is hugely responsible for the way that I shoot. A lot of people may not know, but Ty and Auggie both shoot photos too. I think it’s super beneficial to just have a group of like minded people who like to talk about shit when the day winds down.
Do you think you would be shooting photos if it weren’t for BMX or having those people around to push your work?
I think I would definitely still be shooting BMX. I don’t know if I would have the same drive if it wasn’t for my Deadline fam though. The whole East Coast squad that I shoot with too. I don’t know… I don’t think I could stay away from it. Most of the people I shoot with I’ve known before I even really started shooting, so it’s crazy to me think how I would shoot now if it weren’t for all of them.
I’d imagine you have a good list of guys you really want to shoot with some day, but haven’t had the chance. Care to drop a few names?
About a year ago I got to shoot with my all time number one; Butcher. It was everything I thought it would be plus more, haha. I was so fucking nervous.
I haven’t ever met them really but Dan Lacey, AK and Ben Lewis would be the dudes I’d love to shoot with. They all have sick style and look at spots completely different than most people. I would also be very nervous in all 3 cases just to get it perfect. I would be mortified if I fucked up, haha!
I know I have seen your work all over from different websites to magazines. Where all have you had your photos featured? What are some of the brands you have shot for in the past?
Haha, I get around, I guess. I’ve had photos in almost every magazine over the years. My first ones were in BMX plus! and then Ride BMX followed by Dig. I’ve had photos in The Albion, Soul, and Ride UK as well. I used to do a lot of work for ESPN.com when they were doing a lot of galleries. As far as companies go, I’ve done work for Nike, Kink, Eastern, Deadline, Redline, We The People, Federal, Premium, Merritt, Stereo, Defgrip, Vital and Osiris.
Do you shoot outside of BMX much? Do you get into weddings or anything like that?
I shoot a lot of portraits. I work at this portrait studio nearby. To be honest at times it’s equally as crazy as dealing with the weirdo’s while out riding. So it’s interesting to say the least. I really hate weddings. People are far too crazy for me to want to deal with them like that. I do photography for restaurant’s, like the food and interiors, when the work comes up. That’s a super tough one to get into for some reason. A couple months ago I did some headshots for these actors at the Cheese Ledges in Philly. That was sick as fuck. I only had to shoot like 5 shots but we ended up chilling underneath that bridge for mad long. My boy Yock who rides too ( Yock doesn’t just ride, he’s a psycho on and off his bike) was there with me as well. So it was a mixture of two totally different worlds for everyone.
What’s the weirdest thing you have been asked to take photos of?
Just recently at the studio I work at, I had to do this gnarly maternity shoot. The client was already bigger than me then add in the fact she was about to pop. So, she wanted to do the shoot nude with Pink heels on. Not your norm for maternity photos I’d say. It was also the first completely nude client I had ever shot at this place. So everyone else that worked there was uncomfortable and awkward too.
Who are some of the photographers that really inspire you?
Ralph Eugene Meatyard would be a non-BMX influence.
Everyone known or not has been shooting so sick lately so it is hard to narrow it down. I always get pretty hyped whenever I get to see a Jeff Z., George Marshall, Dan Benson or Tommy Blanco photo.
Have you had the chance to travel much thanks to being a photographer? Where are some of the places you have been?
Before I started shooting my friends and I would take trips all up and down the coast to different cities. I didn’t do as much traveling as I have with the whole Deadline crew. There were so many times where I showed up at Garretts mom’s or Auggies and they would be packing shit up. Out of the Blue we were taking a 5 day road trip somewhere.
We’ve been to Boston like 8 times, took a two week road trip from NJ down to Miami, we all went to Barcelona for ten days. That was insane. Almost the whole crew didn’t sleep for the first 3 days. There was just too many drinks and spots to visit, haha.
So many other countless places but Barcelona and the Miami trip were trips I don’t think any other trip could top or that I would want to top.
Where are some of the places you have never been, but hope to get to some day?
Tel Aviv! I don’t give two fucks about the culture even though it would be a sick part of it. The architecture there and how everything looks is calling me too hard.
I hear the weather and food sucks but any big city in England could be sick too.
If I were talking pure vacation I would go back to Venice. That city is fascinating to me.
Let’s say you get a fat budget to take 5 riders anywhere in the world for one week to shoot. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
If I got a fat budget why can I only take 5? Well obviously the whole Deadline crew is coming and Tony Ennis is filming. There are so many places to go. That’s crazy to narrow it down but if I had to pick I guess Barcelona again. Plus we’d get to meet up with Fernando Gomarin and hopefully Juan Thill will come meet up from Argentina.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on? When can we expect to see more of your work surface?
I have an article with LFS in the works for Ride BMX. Thats about it honestly.
Is this all you do for a living or are you working a real job still?
I’d love for this to be all I did. For awhile I was just doing BMX stuff and other freelance work but about 8 months ago it was just going too slow, so I picked up a job at this Portrait studio. My Dream would definitely be to have a staff position at one of the magaziness and be shooting BMX all day, every day.
A lot of photographers have mixed feelings about college and photography. What are your thoughts? Did you go? Do you suggest people take a look at it?
I don’t wanna shit in anyone’s cereal but college for a lot of things is usually a huge waste of time, energy and money especially in an art related field. I know countless photographers that have gone to school, wasted so much money and think they’re hot shit and don’t know a fucking thing about taking photos. Its ridiculous. Obviously, there are going to be the people who go and just never get it because it was never there, but too many think they know shit just because they have a stupid piece of paper that says so. I learned everything on my own or from Youtube and all it cost me was my time and the money for the equipment.
I know there’s a lot more to being a professional photographer than just taking a photo. What are some of your least favorite parts of the job?
I fucking hate heroes. Like whoa. Nothing gets me more raffled then some stupid ass pedestrian sticking his/her two cents in on what we should be doing with our lives. I encounter so many that I just started fucking with them mad hard. I ask them if they think getting shot or stabbed would be worth the time they were taking to bother us. Not like in a threatening scary way just a reminder that there are really crazy people out there who don’t give a fuck and that they should remember before doing something so trivial.
What kind of advice do you have for the people out there looking to get into photography?
Don’t be afraid to try stuff out and get into it. If you’re not doing something you’re into then why are you doing it? Be professional when you need to be but don’t be a stiff when it comes to interacting with somebody.
Did you ever expect to be where you are today when you first started?
I don’t know where I am today but I don’t think I would have never pictured doing the things that I’ve done and seeing the things that I’ve seen all because I ride a bike.
Are you available to take on jobs right now? How can people get ahold of you if they’re looking to give you a job?
Always open for business. People can email or Facebook me. Serious Inquires only, please, haha!
Did you know there is another Chris Marshall that is a professional photographer? Do you think your photos are better than his? Would you be pissed if he tried to get in on your BMX work?
I didn’t until I googled it. The dude who takes snowboarding and MX photos?
Everyone has their own style of photography, but his stuff doesn’t look bad. Damn if he tried coming at my neck like that, I’d probably have to take ’em out. Throw a magnet in his camera bag or something.
How can people check out more of your work? Do you have a portfolio site or anything?
I have a website thing. http://chrismarshallphotog.carbonmade.com. I don’t really update it much. I probably should, haha.
Are you on Instagram, Twitter and everything? How can people keep up with you?
I have a Facebook and I have an Instagram @chrismarshallphoto that I post photos I’ve shot on a weekly basis. Tweeting is for the Burds.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
My girl Colleen for putting up with my BMX shenanigans. Jeff Z. for always giving me pointers. Of course the entire Deadline Crew. LFS all day. Choco Truck is on the move… Lock your daughters away. Atown Trash Texas take over 2014! Butcher’s the Block shop poppin off. #fourkegs. Contrary to popular belief Abdul is not a fool. Zack Gerber for being a complete psycho. Watch out for DeRosa Kids a wild man. If you wanna be swag then you already know The Trip, Fiend and Deadline got you. New shit always coming.
Anything else you want to say?
Wu-Tang rule the East.