Traveling as a skate photographer is complicated. Schedules are like wishes. Planning is rigorous, but can often become a distant memory when coordinating with team managers and skaters. In the case of Sam McGuire's One Day on July 9, rolling with all of the random changes is where the magic comes from: he wasn't even really planning on participating for One Day, but before the day was over he was capturing street celebrations of Bavarian proportions.
McGuire's One Day In Skateboarding features Silvester Eduardo, Trevor McClung, Chris Joslin, Ryan Lay, Barney Page, and the incomparable Willow.
Camera Gear Used: Canon 1ds Mark III, Sony A7II, 24-70mm, 25mm sony lens, 8-15mm Canon Fisheye, and a handful of moody Lumedynes
Tell us a little bit about yourself as a photographer.
I’ve been shooting for about ten or so years, maybe a little longer. But I think in 2006 I got some flashes and my good friend and great photographer Michael Stenerson taught me a lot—all the basics: how to balance light, etc. From there I just got a bit obsessed, as I tend to do with things, and just kept shooting and traveling. I really liked shooting people on the road or on tour as it lent to a more unique portrait of the person than would be possible if they were at home and preoccupied with normal life things. So I just wanted to travel as much as possible.
Professionally, it’s probably been more like six or so years. I randomly met Mikey Taylor at a skatepark in Canada through my friend Chris Anderson from Kentucky and we’d skate together. Then Sean Malto grew up near me in Kansas City and I’d go down there a lot and shoot with him. When they went to etnies, they pretty much took me with them. I moved to LA and that sort of started things.
I still work a lot with etnies and I have been working with Red Bull a lot, shooting and producing features on epic destinations for a web series on their website, which has been incredible. I regularly contribute to just about every magazine but mostly with stories I’ve pitched or projects am working on like an interview, a story, or a tour.
What was your plan for July 9, 2016?
My original plan was to stay up all night/day and just shoot a bunch of random photos of Bristol, and then when the boys woke up I would start shooting them. However, dates got shifted around for this demo and the plan was then to go street skating on that day, and from what I had heard the plan was off so I got some sleep. When I woke up, I walked to get some coffee and it turned out to be Gay Pride in Bristol and there was a big parade going on. I was drinking coffee and just waving to my fellow queens, then I wanted to get some pictures so I ran back to the hotel.
When I got back, Jameson DeCew (etnies TM) told me that he thinks we are now going to do the One Day In Skateboarding after all! Perfectly fitting for a day on tour as it’s always sort of changing day-by-day, so I just grabbed my camera and started shooting around 10:00 a.m. when everyone was waking up.
Would you consider July 9th to be a pretty typical day in skateboarding for you?
Personally, it was incredibly typical. I was on tour with etnies through the UK and Spain and we had a stop in Bristol. We were supposed to do a demo that day but it got moved back a day, we were supposed to start skating early but it was raining. Anyone who has toured knows that planning while on the road is just hoping or wishing, and pretty much everything changes minute-by-minute. So the fact that I woke up thinking we had a demo—that I wasn’t going to shoot the ODIS—to me running around panicking, getting everything packed and making sure to cover the day since it was already halfway over.
Then we stressed on the weather and then of course the first spot dried up and it ended up being a beautiful British day. Probably one of the better days of the tour! If I were a kid back in Iowa, though, I don’t know. I probably would just have gone swimming until 7:00 p.m or 8:00 p.m. when it cooled down, and then I would skate.
Explain your approach to shooting on that day.
I think I approached it just like any other day except maybe trying to shoot little moments that happened to bring the viewer on the tour. Like when Joslin broke his board trying to heel flip over a rail, he kicked his board away just sort of like, “Well, that happened. I’m over it.” Everyone else wanted to see him do it, though, and it wasn’t like he didn’t want to do it; it’s just that sometimes setting up a board and getting motivated to skate again after that can get annoying. So one person runs off to get his board, another person grabs his old board and starts in on one truck, and another person starts in on another truck. Everyone is laughing as it’s almost become a race to get his new board set up in time for him to still stay hyped.
Sometimes those little stories don’t have a place to live as you have a fourteen-day tour and there are so many of those little stories. Admittedly, I’ll get a bit lazy and just enjoy the moment rather than shoot it. Shooting this day was fun because those little moments did have a place to live so I just did my best to capture all those strangely awesome moments that happen on the road, but I didn’t shoot it any differently. I’m still just annoying and always pointing a camera at everyone and telling them to do something cooler than what they are doing.
Who was your July 9 MVP?
I don’t have any MVPs as far as the skaters go because they all know I love them all equally, but I think the MVPs honestly would be the boys behind the scenes: Jameson DeCew; Oli Buergin; and UK Photog, Chris Jones. Those three lined up, organized, and made pretty much everything on July 9 possible. And they did it all at the very last minute and still kept everyone smiling and skating. So, gonna have to tip my hat to them on this one. Thanks guys!
What is your favorite image that you shot that day?
Probably it’s just the series of events with all the guys in Robin Hood outfits right after the shot of Ryan Lay dropping in on the quarterpipe. The spot is right next to a bar so these guys had been heckling Ryan, and it was annoying him. The drop in is skinny, tall, and quite scary, so it was getting frustrating. Then this group of guys come round the corner, all dressed in Robin Hood outfits, and they are just beyond excited Ryan is going to drop in. They are screaming, hugging each other, and just generally losing their shit cheering Ryan on. He couldn’t be mad anymore—it was just too absurd. So he lands the drop in and they just go after him, he’s in the middle of this huddle of guys screaming, hugging him, chanting, just having the best time. Ryan is super calm and easygoing but he couldn’t help but laugh being caught up in that situation. It was just a rad ending to a fun day!
Do you have any upcoming projects or plans, and where can we see more of your work?
I just have a few trips to finish up the year and I’ve just been working on some personal projects, as well as some other stuff outside of skateboarding. If you want to see more of my work go to samuel-mcguire.com or follow me on Instagram @samuelmcguire.
Preview One Day in Skateboarding 2016 with over 100 pages of quality photos in The Skateboarding Mag issue 153. Video Doc. coming soon.