Gonna free fall, out into nothing…

My earliest memory of Tom Petty was seeing the video for “Free Falling” in the summer of 1989.  Guess that makes me 14, with long bangs in my eyes, dressed all in black and wearing vision street wear.  Skateboarding was our lives–my brother Dave and me.  When we saw that girl skating in the video it was a lightning bolt to the brain.  I’m pretty sure Dave bought the CD or the tape or the record or whatever that week.  All I can remember is that it was always on.  There was a period of our lives when we knew every word to every song pretty much backwards and forwards.  The future was wide open.    

Since then I’ve gone back and listened to his earlier work at the same time as following his later endeavors and as much as I’ve come to love the other albums nothing ever comes close to that feeling I get when I put on “Full Moon Fever.”  It’s not just the memories that come flooding back of that point in my life–it’s the music itself.  It’s electric and smart and real and raw and insightful.  There are these moments when Tom just howls at a point in a song or punctuates a chorus with a loud “hey”.  I always felt chills and still do… even now as I write this the hairs are standing up on the back of neck and it’s breaking my heart.  

He played here in Los Angeles last week.  I wish I had gone to see him.  So dumb to say “If I had only known” but that’s how I feel.  I wish I had known, because I would have gone but now he’s dead.    I thought all day about what I could possibly say to give thanks and tribute to a man I never knew and who never knew me but who all the same feels like he played such an important part of my life at such an important time.  Don’t think there are really words.  

Free fall out into nothing, leave this world for a while. Leica M7, Kodak Tri-X 400 +1

Shower time

I made this picture this past summer while we spent the majority of our time driving up and down the coast visiting as many of the beach cities as we could.  I’ll confess that while we live in Santa Monica and we go north up to Malibu quite often, we almost never tended to go south.  There’s all this traffic, it’s always pretty crowded and honestly Tower 26 here in town is pretty damn incredible beach-wise.  So this summer we decided to get out there and see a bit more of the surrounding areas on the south-side of town.  

So yes, there was a ton of traffic and yes the beaches were pretty much crowded as all hell but it was fun.  It was great exploring and shooting other locations.  Cool trying out different local food-spots, especially ice cream joints for the kids.  We got a chance to see the American-open for Surfing one weekend.  Other weekends it was frozen bananas, or small beach towns pretty much hidden from all view.  

I made this picture at Huntington Beach if I remember right.  There was this family that was just about to leave and we were waiting for one of our kids to change out of their bathing suit so we could head home.  I really liked how low I was compared to where they were standing–we were waiting in line for the bathrooms which are a flight of steps down from the sand and showers.  They were simple silhouettes and almost graphical.  I underexposed a stop and clicked.  

Leica M7 with the 35mm cron on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed a stop.   

At the end of the day

On the same day as the Hamburglar, Anna Maria and I continued on with the dogs to the skate park and shot some pictures until sunset.  There’s always a mixed bag of talents at the park… from beginners to people that can tear up the pool like they were born to do it.  The guy in the picture was absolutely the latter.  I waited to find a shot that was more dynamic than “this skater did a trick” and eventually I figured out what I wanted.  I moved over toward the deep pool and knelt down by the barrier.  The sun began to sink in the sky and as it did this guy moved over to the big pool to get a couple more runs in before the sun went all the way down.   

On his first run he slid around the edge right where I was waiting.  When he came all the way around so he was backlit by the sun I hit the trigger.  I knew I had something with that hair and that hand but when I saw the neg I was pretty damn happy.

Shot on the same Mamiya 6MF with the 50mm on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800.

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