We talk a lot about where skating is going, the uncertainty of the future of our industry seems to be perpetually on the minds of skaters everywhere. Recently, I started to think about my personal past with skating. I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota called Glenwood. Glenwood is about two hours north west of Minneapolis, where I live now. Skating in Minneapolis is unlike anywhere else I have ever been. Seasoned pros like Chris Farmer and Jeph Howard regularly skate with people who have only been skating a short time, and everyone gets along. Everyone is so friendly, they would allow a kid from a small farm and lake town in an unheard of part of the state to crash on their floors, which I did frequently while in high school. Their hospitality influenced my skating and helped me become a photographer. I am still friends with all those people I met in my 16th year, and as they influenced me, I like to think that I gave them a little taste of Greater Minnesota. These photos were taken in Glenwood or the surrounding area over a span of eight years, and with any retrospective you get to see progression. Progression of my friends as skaters and progression of my photographic talent. This is what happens when you take the city kids out of the city. — John Haynes
Dereck Larsen is one of the first out of towners who came to visit me. These rails are in a town of about 150 people called Osakis. Full Cab kind grind, 2001.
The town just to the north of Glenwood is Alexandria. Alex is the hub of everything because they have a Wal-Mart. There is a tech school there and they used to teach flight training. This photo is awful but the trick is insane. Dan Fabiano, wall ride off the wing in pitch black, 2001.
Nick Brenden would visit pretty frequently because he lived in Minneapolis but was from Moorhead which is on the North Dakota/Minnesota border. Ao topporn revert, 2002.
For a while I was sending photos to Zeb Huset for his zine called Any Given Day. This kid Adam Knorr lived in a town similar to Glenwood, but about 300 miles away. This is the only trip him and his friends made to Glenwood. Soul, 2002.
This is still the most insane trick I have ever shot. This rail is huge and has no run up and landing was a 2×2 foot wet board. Jeph Howard, topsoul hop topsoul, 2002.
Anders Carlson-Wee is a Fargo–Minneapolis transplant. This is the last trip to Glenwood he made before I moved to San Diego after graduating high-school. Cowboy, Alexandria, 2003.
Anders Carlson-Wee did this backslide too. I really like the picture. 2003.
Ben Fredrikson had a lake cabin close to Alexandria. I used to work at a Bible camp in Alex and one time I saw this kid skating one of the ledges there. This was insane because I had never seen anyone besides my friend Grant Kjos and I skating in Alex. This was taken two years after our meeting. Sweatstance, Alexandria, 2003.
By 2003, I had fully committed to living in San Diego to hang with Nick Brenden. In an extremely strange chain of events, involving Nick destroying his knee shooting for a Be-Mag interview, and moving to Glenwood of all places, he drove my friends nuts with his tales of San Diego. Glenwood, 2003.
One of the very few people who started skating from Alexandria was Jamie Boetler. I graduated high school in 2003 and was given a Nikon f4 as a gift. This was my first real camera. Nugen, Alex, 2003.
I shot this when I came back from San Diego and had to live in Glenwood for the summer while I waited for my lease in Minneapolis to start. Spencer is another local (one of three). 180 through the window, Alex, 2004.
Nolan Hutton is one of my best friends. He promptly came to visit me after I moved to Minnesota. He hails from San Diego and is the most foreign person to skate Glenwood/Alex. Royale to royale 270 to flat, Alex, 2004.
Jeff Dahamen came back with me in the spring of ’05 in search of fresh terrain. This rail which we named “scary rail” because it was probably the hardest obstacle in Glenwood and had only been done by Nick and I. Dahamen really upped us with this tru topporn, Glenwood, 2005.
This rail is really, really, really, high, and is nuts. This is also one of my first real problem-solving experiences in photography. Jeph Howard, fishy to 180 over the rail to flat, Alex, 2005.
Photos © 2001–2009 John Haynes