Sam McGuire, And Fun With Interviews

03.05.07 – The Skateboard Mag

A month or two ago Sam McGuire posted a quickie intervew with Todd Bratrud on his blog, and I was like, “Damn, that’s a rad idea.” I stewed for a while trying to figure out how to jack his idea without looking like I was jacking it. So I decided to interview him, and post it up. Sam’s a good friend of mine, we’ve lived together in the past, we’ve seen each other freak out, we’ve stolen a keg together and he still crashes at my house every summer. Here’s a quick but kind of long interview with the most prolific Iowan skateboard photographer of our time. I’ve gotta note that I’m still getting used to the new WordPress blog, so the formatting is kind of jacked. Sorry.

Did you make a conscious effort to make skate photography a viable
profession, or was it something that just happened?

It was kind of a mix of both. I got camera when I moved here to go to school and just started shooting random stuff, slowly gravitating towards shooting skating. I figured skateboard photos would be a good crash course on photography while I was in college and Id figure out what happened after I was finished with school. If skate photos happened to magically work out than cool, I was just having fun shooting with dudes around here trying to figure out how cameras, film, flashes, all the crap worked. After a year or so I made a goal to get at least one thing published in a major magazine just because I thought it would be cool.

Last year it started changing when I finally got enough courage to send one package out and sent in that Tulio sequence and luckily it got ran. Shortly after, Kevin called me to shoot Top Shop and it just started unraveling from there.

After that I think is when the conscious effort came in, After I got some things printed and met Kevin, I just decided Id run with it and start asking for work, submitting more and just being more persistent about making it happen, I probably got a bit annoying at times but I figured I had nothing to lose. I was going to stay in school so if the photo thing didn’t work out than Id just get a different job and skate or shoot on the weekends. So yeah, basically I just got lucky and ran with it.

Weren’t you sponsored?

Are you mocking my demising skills? Just kidding. I think luckily I’ve got some good friends that are and were more than willing to use there resources to help me out where they could. I hesitate to say it was based on any sort of skill, more friendship. With a sponsor me tape alone I probably couldn’t get a free sticker.

Where’s your favorite place to live?

That’s a tough one. I think one of the only reasons I would reply with a certain city is because of the people living in that given city, so people withstanding ,Utah.

Who are your top 3 skaters to shoot with, people who most have probably never heard of?

I think a list on who I dont like shooting with would be a lot easier to come up with than a top 3 because almost everyone is fun to shoot with. Here are three really interesting people to shoot with:

Chris Anderson, he lives in Florence, KY. He just talks a lot, I haven’t gotten to shoot with him too much, but when I have he just rambles the whole time, he’s complaining about something or talking about this or that.. He’ll start talking while he’s falling; in Winnipeg we were at this rail and he was falling and just rambling about how much fun it is falling, doing weird stuff likefalling and diving on his chest. Just a funny dude, he makes things interesting.

Seth McCallum, aka Zed. First off, Zed will get up at 7am to go skating, which is a huge plus in my book because I’m an early riser. Plus, Zed is the same way {as Chris}, he just talks, he’s funny, you can tell he’s having fun. Plus he skates rad interesting things, or normal things in a different way, so you can always expect to be shooting something interesting.

Finally, I thinkJackson Roman, Nick Riley, Spencer Pratti. I lump them together because they all live here (in Iowa City, Iowa) and are usually skating together anyway. Jackson’s been skating for years and canskate anything, Nick’s somewhat of a natural, and Spencer’s style and energy is usually really fun. Plus these dudes have had the patience over the years to let me mess up tons of photos and still call me all the time to go shoot so they have to make it up on the top 3.

Why were you obsessed with finding a girlfriend for so long?

I’ll try and explain it best I can. So sometimes I don’t like to spend time or energy thinking about things I don’t care about because my brain is over-active as it is. So trivial (trivial to me) things I like to get out of the way. For instance, I eat a lot of the same meals each week because I don’t like thinking about what I’m going to eat. I eat because I’m hungry and I need food, so I usually cook the same thing days in a row just so I don’t have to spend any mental energy deciding what I’m going to eat because I don’t care about it that much. I’d rather be skating or shooting or anything than eating or deciding what to eat.

The girlfriend thing is similar; I wanted to hang out with a girl, preferably a good-looking one. So with this mentality I thought instead of spending hours combing bars or clubs or wherever girls hang out, I could get a girlfriend and then I would have a girl I could hang out with whenever without thinking too hard about it. Then I could spend more time skating, shooting or anything other than looking for a cool girl to hang out with. Does that make sense? Man I probably sound so crazy.

What’s the the term “Gay Cowboy” mean?

Oh man, well it’s a term Keith Spettle coined for my hardflips. Not all of us were born with Gino like hardflips and I’m pretty sure mine are the worst. He was good at them and would always beat me at S.K.A.T.E. I don’t understand how that trick works, so I just do half a frontside flip, then do this seizure type move to get my body back to regular and try and land on the board. To him it apparently looks like a Gay Cowboy and the name stuck.

What’s your best mental breakdown?

Wow, that question kind of makes mental breakdowns sound fun. I guess I should preface that question by saying that I might have a slightly over-active brain and maybe a slight case of OCD, but who doesn’t right?

Anyways, well, probably the most entertaining (for others) breakdown I had was at this girl’s house about 2 years ago. It had been winter, and so as you know, I was on the prowl and this girl and I were hanging out. I had stayed the night at her house the weekend before and absolutely couldn’t stand it. Her bed was a twin, and I’m over six feet tall, and the heat at her house was turned up wayyyyy too high. It was such a miserable night’s sleep. I’m cringing as I type this. THAT miserable.

So the weekend after the debacle I was previously speaking about above, I get a phone call at about one in the morning from her seeing if I wanted to come over. I shouldn’t have gone over because I really didn’t even like this girl, and I hated her room even more but I went over anyways and we hung out for a while. One thing led to another and we were back in her room, on that horrid bed. During all this passion she starts saying a few things, typical girl things, like I hope this doesn’t change our friendship, yada yada yada. For some reason it shook me up. I got super freaked out. Just the thought of awkwardly sleeping in that horrid bed in that sauna-like room, with this girl, who was nice, but who I wasn’t that into, just made me have a huge panic attack and I just bailed. Not like, ‘Hey I’ll see you later,’ bailed, but literally just got up and left. I didn’t really see the point in explaining how I didn’t want to stay over and sleep in that god awful bed because she would have just thought there was something wrong with her, so I figured the easiest for both of us was that I just leave without saying a word.

But that’s not the worst of it. So I’m all freaked out walking home and I text message my friend about the whole situation and he texts me back a joke about jerking off too much. So I jokingly text him back, ‘yeah, I must jerk off too much,’ and hit send. I thought I was sending it to him, turns out I accidentally sent it to her. A few seconds later I got a message back that said, ‘It’s ok’.

Otherwise, I’m not sure, it’s such an everyday occurrence. I guess I’m kind of a hypochondriac, so over the years I’ve thought I had just about every cold/disease. A few weeks ago I thought I had a tapeworm because I was eating so much and never got full. When I was a kid I would get convinced I had bronchitis, diabetes, hypoglycemia; something random like that. My parents were supportive for a bit, take me to the doctor to get tested, until finally they were sick of it and were just like, ‘You know what, if your out skating your not sick so get over it.’

You’re kind of a celebrity on campus in IC. How did you end up on cardboard cut outs, their websites, etc?

Where I work we do all sorts of advertisements for the school and when you first start you have to sign a release form stating that they can pretty much use any of your work, or any photo of you for anything they want. One day they needed
a picture and no one else was around so I said I’d be in it.

Next thing I know the photo is everywhere. Big six foot poster cut-outs, printed on posters, printed in full page advertisements in the newspapers, on the website and in the schools planners they hand out to EVERY student.

I’d be sitting in class and someone would turn to the page with that photo on it, turn around to look at me and then turn back around to the picture and start laughing. It still surfaces, every once in a while I open up the paper in the morning and that stupid picture is there.

Do you still ever wear your headphones connected to nothing so you
won’t have to talk to people?

Yeah, but not so much anymore now that I have an I-Pod, that was back when I didn’t have any musical source. It’s not that I don’t like talking to people, but I just got sick of running into people I met one time for a few seconds, that insist on talking every time I see them. Inevitably, those people are the ones that drone on forever. I just saw the headphones as a way out of those awkward conversations, and rocked them so people would think I couldn’t hear them call my name and just not even try. The only downfall was sometimes I’d get busted out and someone would ask me what I’m listening to. Luckily I’ve got something to listen to now.

True or False, every future company skate trip you go on will suck because the first ever trip you took was with Nike?

Ha ha. True to an extent. I was definitely jaded after that trip,
nice hotels, nice meals; it was definitely hard going back to living in the basement and eating oven pizzas. I think ultimately that’s how everyone would prefer to travel, but there’s still something fun about piecing a meal together at a gas station or sleeping on a couch here an there.

When you’re rich and famous will you buy me a new Matix travel bag?

Still harboring a bit of animosity for that one huh? Understandably. I’ll get you a new one, I thought Bovee had ordered another one but he was probably busy cleaning out his pool or cleaning off his rims.

Sam skates too, and rips at it. Here’s some photos I shot of him last summer on the hottest day of the year, after it wasn’t so damn hot (note, the photos were shot with his gear, and he set it all up, so basically I was a hired digit in the whole affair).
Ollie Sequence
Backside 180
I’m furiously searching for his sponsor me tape, I’ll post it if found. All other photos were shot by Sam, here are a couple more:
Brian Brown, hop to no comply
Dave Mayhew, nose grind pop out, again
Donny Bandy, drop in of doom
Sean Malto, gap to crooks
Quim Cardona, japan
Emeric Pratt, tailslide
Jamiel Nowparvar, blunt fakie
Some Randoms:
Eric Fletcher
Benji Meyer
Steve Nesser