This week I am proud to present an interview with Brett Banasiewicz. If you don’t know who Brett is, stop reading this immediately and go do some research. Once you take care of that, and get out from underneath the rock you have been living under, come back to this and check it out. I have known Brett for years now and have seen him come up in the crazy BMX world and rise straight to the top. I have been lucky enough to document Brett’s riding over the years at most major contests and it’s been obvious for a long time that Brett was ahead of his time. He was one of the youngest riders in the game for a while there and was holding his own against the rest of the BMX world. He has a huge fan following and although Brett has been dealing with the recovery process after his crash in 2012 he has been taking it all in stride and has the positive mindset of a true champion. His determination will inspire you to get out there and accomplish your goals. His focus and drive to get back to where he was is motivating to say the least and he has nothing but love for BMX. Check it!
This past weekend was the last stop of the year for the Dew Tour in San Francisco, California and I decided to take a trip up and put in some work. I stopped in Santa Cruz to shoot a session with Ron Wilkerson at his favorite skatepark, I worked on an upcoming project with Drew Bezanson for Red Bull, shot a feature with Chris Doyle for ESPN, stacked some future TTL content that you will be seeing soon and also managed to shoot a little bit of the downhill street contest on Sunday before heading back home to Los Angeles. I have shot contests for so many years now that when it comes down to it, I am always looking for an excuse to do things a little differently. Everyone is on the same playing field as far as photos go and everyone is shooting the exact same thing. I decided to try and mix it up a bit and put together a few animated gifs from the contest to show something unique and it’s always rad to see them come together.
Today’s column is all about a single photograph that I shot a few months ago. It is crazy to think that a single photograph could have so much of a story to tell and that is one thing about the still image that will never go away. No matter how technically advanced we get as a society, even if they try to pull stills from Red Camera video and use them as “photographs” that’s fine. I’m good as long as no one ever tries to call a video still a photo because it’s not. Shooting with film has an entirely feel to it compared to digital. Although as a photographer I think in detail about every shot that I take whether it’s film or digital, I still seem to spend a little bit of extra time to compose and dial in my photo when I’m shooting film. Not only that but film just has an entirely different look to it and that is part of the reason why I love it so much. You can’t re-create the look of film with a digital camera; it’s just not the same. Sure, they have apps, and plug-ins and preset filters that try to mimic certain styles of film but at the end of the day, it’s just not the same. There is also an old legend that photographing people on film steals a piece of their soul and a little part of me, as weird as it may seem, believes that. That brings me to the story behind this photo. If you want to find out what’s going on here, keep reading.
When you spend a long enough time in the BMX industry there will be people that come and go out of the spotlight and Joel Moody is one of those people that seem to do just that. But, don’t be fooled, it’s all for the love of BMX. He has ridden longer than most BMX kids have been alive; he gets supported by one of the best companies in BMX and does things his own way. Joel grew up in a city that supports BMX to the fullest and a place where riding thrives and has thrived for years. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue other goals away from riding but still rides and stays on top of his game. He got into filming years ago and has worked on some solid projects like Empire’s “Chill Bro” so you know he can work a camera. He’s a talented rider and keeps himself busy working in the industry whether it be as a filmer, actor, editor or anything else he can handle. I caught up with him in Silver Lake, California recently to catch up, and just shoot the shit.
If you are as curious as I was to get an update from Joel you will enjoy this for sure.
For this week I decided to take a close look at some of my favorite pieces of gear. As a photographer there is nothing more essential than your gear and over time you really learn exactly what it is that you like, and what it is that you don’t like. In this case, I wanted to focus on a few things that I enjoy shooting with and talk a bit about each individual piece. Some people have a favorite lens, some have a favorite flash and if you’re anything like me and love all aspects of photography, I’m sure you have quite a few favorites. When I sat down to think about what I actually wanted to focus on I decided fairly quickly and got the project going. Take a few minutes and find out what gear that I can’t live without in this week’s TTL #84.
Well, this week is a little different than most. This week is all about what it takes to be a current day photographer in today’s society. I have been working as a photographer on many different levels and in many different aspects for almost a decade now and figured that I would offer some insight to anyone looking to do the same. Find out what works, what doesn’t work, and anything else that I think might help you out along the way while I write this up. If you haven’t noticed, the column has been the place to come for original interviews, photo how-tos, and basically anything that I think might help aspiring photographers find their path. It’s been an interesting place for me to do just that. I’ve honestly learned so much about myself, as well as my personal photography since the first column and continue to do so week after week. Let’s see how this one goes.