Do you remember when you started blading and you would blade so hard every day and tell yourself how good you would be in a year, two years, five years, ten years? I do, that’s what I told myself for hours on end every day, skating the tiny skate park in my tiny town. Ten years ago I was sixteen. I mainly skated in my home town, and mainly with skateboarders besides my friend, Grant Kjos. I periodically got my hands on various cameras, from my mom’s point-and-shoot 35mm camera to my sister’s SLR on which she was showing me the basics. I really liked taking pictures and always wished I had more access to different skaters. Grant was/is my favorite person to skate with, and I certainly took pictures of him. I also set up shots that other people would take of me. Most of the pictures I was involved with at age sixteen were actually of me skating. I was not better than anyone at skating but I was more interested in skating for photos. As I say that (I have not thought about this before now) I realize that the idea of skating for photos as opposed to just skating around was something that always appealed to me, though at first I preferred to be on the business end of the camera.
Early file management.
Grant Kjos / Back Farf / Glenwood, MN
John Haynes / Zerospin X-Grind / Glenwood, MN
John Haynes / Royale / Glenwood, MN
Tyler Schilling / Soul Grind / Glenwood, MN
Many of these photos I have not even looked at in many years. To be looking at them in this context, is very strange. They are photos of a different life, a different time in that different life, and it seems familiar in such a foreign way. I remember the tricks I was doing, I remember where and how I was standing when I was clicking the shutter. I remember how horrible the ledge down the street slid, and I remember how good I thought it felt. Even though I remember the pictures, the way in which I remember them is eerie. Now I think of a picture I was involved with three years ago, I remember the angle, the challenge presented, and the way it was solved. However, when I look at these pictures I remember how they physically felt. My memory of them is more vizierial than intellectual. I remember how humid the day was or the feeling of the film winding in the camera. Oh, to be young again…
— John Haynes
I know I am very late to this “party” but I would like to throw in my own 2 cents (although singular cents don’t exist here in Canada anymore) to this little, very personal article.
As you remember it like a song once sung long ago, or a lucid dream, I remember it far different. I grew up in a little town where most kids played hockey and figure skating, so skating was almost a natural skill everyone developed at a young age. I was of an academic family and so something as wild as inline skating was only advocated as a past time or exercise so I never asked myself “how good will I be by X time.” All I would really be doing is enjoying myself and not worrying about how good I was, even though all I did was skate in circles around the block. By the time I saw various other forms of skating, thanks to the X-games at the time, I was already “grown out” of it. Sure, I did think about it from time to time as to asking my parents to buy a new set of skates but I had swimming and martial arts to keep track of (both of which I like to say I’m very accomplished at) and skating was far too “wild” for myself. or so I thought and was told to believe. Looking back now I think that was a very narrow point of view, very closed minded, but what was a young teen to say when all they knew was the “straight and narrow.” Believe me, when I look back on this particular view I sometimes am disappointed in myself.
Now, 30 years of age and getting back into it, I feel like this is more like meeting a part of myself that I’ve ignored. You know, that part of you always standing in the twilight or that image in the corner of your eye that you never really saw. I feel silly, stupid, but also happy and more of a fuller individual. Skating to me has become a way for my to fly and simply express myself to the world. No, I probably won’t be waxing up everything I think is skate-able (which I think of a lot hilariously enough) but I do wanna skate for hours on end and simply enjoy that freedom skating has brought to me, or rather, brought back. These days I DO think, “how good will I be after X time” but in much shorter time as I would like to think I’m more physically capable than my child self.
But regardless of said “how good” I become, skating has brought me a very unique sense of peace and freedom to my life. Sure, I would like to effortlessly do a 180 fishbrain onto a rail and then hop off with a little flair but even without that I think skating is here to stay in my own life.