Over the past few months we’ve featured many photographs taken by this man. Now it is a great pleasure/privilege – pleavilege to share his story with you. Lords and Ladies we present Agent Barrandey.
Hey Erick, how are you?
Good, just catching up on some editing. Always behind on work but that’s a good thing.
What are you editing?
Currently I’m editing some skate photos. I like to knock them out quick and easy but then I have to get back to editing a whole day of wedding photos. Wedding clients allow me to keep the labour of love going when it comes to skateboarding.
When did you start taking photos?
I started at a really young age, probably in the early 90’s. My mom and dad were both photo enthusiasts and they always had cameras with film in them so I began playing with film cameras as a kid but then I got in video a lot in the early 2000’s. It wasn’t until around 2007 when I took a required “Introduction to photography” class in college that I really got into the Digital SLRs. I purchased one along with a fisheye and I was snapping away at all my friends shredding the streets.
Are you still into videos?
Yeah I have gotten back into video, especially with it being available on DSLRs at such a high quality and professional looking with my arsenal of lenses. I really haven’t done any solo projects but I have done a lot of collaborations with Kavon Zamanian of Red Dirt Media. You should check out his YouTube channel, he has some pretty badass edits. http://www.youtube.com/user/RedDirtMedia I’ve also been lucky enough to work with Bombsquad in filming some video stuff along side CHUBBS.
Bombsquad owners Tanner and Wes are some crafty fabricators and have made us stuff like sliders and jibs so we can go out there and get top notch shots so it makes my job easier.
What did you try to capture in those early snaps?
In the early days I was all about the action. I usually would get my friends together and we would try and think of what could be the coolest looking thing to do for a photo. Aside that I mainly just captured lifestyle photos of my friends and I living it up. I wasn’t really artsy in the early days, at least not with a camera.
What do you enjoy about taking photographs?
This is a good question, one that I have never really thought about. I guess what I enjoy is the creative freedom I have to capture a scene along with the expressive emotion involved. I don’t have someone over my shoulder telling me what to shoot. I just zone out and start shooting. The one thing I enjoy about skateboard photography is the fact that its pretty stress free as opposed to paid work like shooting models and engagement/wedding photography where clients are pressing you for your best.
Could you argue that skateboarders are models in their own right, engaged/wed to their boards?
No doubt haha. I’m older now and so are quite a few of the guys I ride with and most of us have wives. The wives can attest to how when they married us, they married skateboarding as well. I met my wife at a skateboard contest so she knew it from the start. She has always supported the addiction and makes a great team-mate on taking over the camera when I want to skate.
As far as the younger guys who dominate the sport, a lot of them like to make sure they look good before shooting. I can’t blame them, when a photo of yourself is on the verge of social media spamming your liable to want to look your best as well haha.
Are there any parallels between shooting skaters at play and models at work?
They both have their beauty, form, a crew and fanboys. In skateboarding you have your homies to cheer you on and stoke you out along with a film guy and a photographer. In modelling you have the hair and makeup artist along with your lighting assistants and everybody always wants to be the “fan boy”.
When did you first ride a skateboard?
2003. I just graduated from High School and I grew up in a very small rural ranch community. As a kid I grew up watching the X-Games. I remembered seeing the luge/downhill and just the skateboarding in general always stoked me out to want to try it but I was living in the country full of cattle, horses and dirt roads. So in 2003 when I graduated I moved to an actual city, they had just built a skatepark. At the time all the kids would just skate the street section of the park and in the back sat a beautiful empty bowl and that is where I taught myself to pump, carve, grind and catch air in a bowl, which also led to lots of backyard pool barges.
Are you a cowboy?
I like to call myself the Suburban Cowboy (a laugh at the movie Urban Cowboy) because I live in Fort Worth now and its quite the cowboy city. By definition I am not a true blue cowboy but just a country boy at heart. It comes with the background of being a Texan. I’m always rockin’ my signature Wrangler pearl snap shirts! That’s how most people notice me out at events haha. As CHUBBS said in his interview we are all about our guns. Putting rounds down range goes hand and hand with putting thane downhill. I have an old leather cowboy belt/gun holster that has been passed down through the family, it hangs by my computer desk and holds my 6 shooter. Its a good reminder of my roots and to get my ass outdoors and be active rather than spending too much time behind the computer.
I didn’t realise Texas had a pool scene!
Texas has a huge underground pool scene. Back in 2005 I was introduced to the Texas Pool Sharks which is a big community of OG Texas rippers. You could end up at a pool session and have 10 year old kids shredding and 50+ year olds murdering the deep end. The Texas Pool Sharks taught me a lot about respecting the scene using invite only methods, cleaning the pools to earn your spot and keeping your mouth shut about it to keep the scene going. A lot of these methods I have applied to our local hills to keep them from getting busted. The term “Shut UP and SKATE” does come from Texas.
Texas has a huge scene when it comes to skateboarding in general. Street, park, bowl, pool, downhill, freeride, long distance push and even slalom all have a good presence in the Great State. Next month in Houston is the World Championships of Skateboard Slalom hosted by the Texas Outlaws.
How did you go from Pool to hills?
From 2006 to 2009 I went back to college to get my degree and during that time I was just super busy with school and I had a full time job so I didn’t really get to skate a lot and I was also nursing off old knee injuries from that damn Texas High School Football. I was having setbacks on my progression in skateboarding and it was leading to a lot of frustrating sessions so I just took it easy. I graduated from college at the end of 09 and made the move from the West Texas region to Fort Worth. When I got here I had decided that I wanted to go fast so I put together a setup. It was a double drop deck that my brother had built for me, specifically for hauling ass and my first trucks and wheels to go on it where some 50* Randals and some 75mm Orangatang In Heats. I quickly went out and dominated the 35mph and slower hills with the ugliest tuck you’ve ever seen haha.
I then ran into some dudes who rode for Bombsquad, they were stoked guys and invited me out to skate bigger hills and garages. It wasn’t long before they had me going 45-50 mph out on the hills. The garage sessions were epic as well and sucked me into longboarding even more. Every Friday night was DTD which stood for Downtown Dallas, where skaters from all over DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) would meet up and we would have like 30 man pack runs down the garages getting sketchy with each other. It was fun and it helped you to get comfortable riding with big groups and it was safe because if you ate it then you did it at a slow speed and it happened.
Like all good things it had to come to somewhat of an end. The scene started getting too big and there were too many random kooks breaking the rules by showing up too early or going past certain floors. It became a mess and security started showing up and booting us. Sessions still go on but now much smaller and in secret.
What helps your personal progression in skateboarding?
Getting stoked on all the new media that companies release each week via YouTube or Vimeo. Just seeing the progression of the sport puts me in tune with where I want to be. Going out and skating with people who constantly push me is where I’m at. Don’t get me wrong, I thought freeriding was going to be the end of the road for me.
What had intrigued me the most to get into longboarding was pure downhill speed and in 2010-2011 that’s where it was for me and the local scene. In 2012 the epidemic of freeriding had vastly taken over the local scene and that really tore it apart. Sessions were becoming more about freeriding and less about bombing and a lot of my friends were disappearing out of the scene because they couldn’t really get the hang of freeriding and ended up moving on with their lives.
I was going to sessions and meeting kids who could shred freeriding down the hills but were too afraid to bomb and couldn’t do hands down slides to save their lives. Freeriding wasn’t the easiest thing for me to learn. I’m 225lbs, built for speed, not so much for slowing down with controlled slides haha. It took me a while and by no means am I a shredder but I get out on the hills with my homies and tear through standies.
This summer I was averaging a set of wheels per week before coring them. I managed to kill a brand new set of 70mm freeride wheels in 6 hrs in the 105 degree TX heat. That may not be impressive to a lot of people but then again I really don’t care. I have found that progression to me is going out and seeing how much fun I can have in a session. If skateboarding were a sport that had coaches I would be a coach. I’d rather stop my skating and work on helping out a talented kid who is on the verge of taking their progression to the next level. Its all about that encouragement and stoke.
“I have found that progression to me is about going out and seeing how much fun I can have in a session.”
Is skating different when you’re heavier?
Well when I first started skating I was 170lbs but then again that was 10 years ago. It was a lot easier to do grabs and be flexible. I think being heavier is obviously an advantage for going fast downhill but when it comes to freeriding its much harder to get long standies like the light guys because the physics, it just slows you down faster. You also tend to bend trucks faster, stress crack stiff boards into flexing and eat through thane faster. I don’t even bother hitting kickers because of the damage it would do to my setup and knees haha. That’s why I like to be behind the camera capturing the dope airs. I’ve been able to to stay flexible enough to bust out some grab slides but yeah I’d have to say being heavier has its ups and downs when it comes to skating.
Where would Texan DH be without the garages?
It would be dead for Houston. I can’t say that garages would affect the rest of the TXDH scene but I know that they have spit out some damn good riders in Houston. I’m sure by now plenty of people have heard of HGR (Houston Garage Riders). Those dudes throw down races all the time and the #1 rule in their races… there are no rules. You can drop kick someone off their board mid race and its too damn bad hahaha. The best part of the race is the pre race shit talk that usually happens on the event page. Usually the guys that win or get into the finals start all the shit talking.
With that said you can put a bounty on someone’s head, people will actually throw down money on it. Sometimes bones do get broken but that’s the sacrifice made to the skate gods. But aside the rowdiness those guys are very disciplined riders in the art of pumping or “Wiggling” according to Matt K who got beat and eliminated by Texan Ray Adams at the NY Gravityfest by out wiggling him to the finish. No disrespect to Matt K he just got the best of himself. Anyways HGR has really stepped it up this year and it showed out at Carnage on the Coast. The TX wiggling got all the way to the finals on day 1 where TX swept the podium, day 2 proved the same, less wiggling more DH.
What characterises TX DH?
Downhill and freeriding wherever we can and going balls to the wall. Texas doesn’t have those 5 minute long, dreamy, twisty runs. DFW has a few hills maybe 1 or 2 you can break 50 on, Houston is flat hence the garage scene, Austin/San Antonio and the Desert Rats (Lubbock/Amarillo) are really the only cities that have been given the geographical gift of some good runs. We’d have to thank the “StOklahomies” and “GnArkansas” dudes for inviting us up north to explore some fast runs. Both of those states are the closest places that we can hit 60+mph runs and do it legally, the cops even shut down the roads for us to do it safely and film.
How do you guys keep kooks/groms in check?
Skateboarding is continuously growing and that’s good but with that you have to wrangle in the groms and kooks and try to teach them the way. Everyone starts off as a kooky noob because you don’t know any better and that’s okay. Helmet and slide gloves are always required at our sessions. That doesn’t mean you can’t skate with us if you don’t have them usually we all have extra helmets and gloves but from time to time you get the stubborn ass kids who don’t want to wear a helmet and those are the ones that remain kooks. Yeah, yeah, yeah its his head let him do what he wants and that’s true but its our hill and our rules so we usually boot kids who are disrespectful about it.
Most of the time the cops roll up they talk to us a bit and leave us be because they see we are practicing safe skating and it just makes sense but whatever, you’re always going to have those people who just don’t get it. Without keeping people in check all hell breaks loose and spots get blown and everyone in the community is unhappy about losing their favourite spot. Every community has to deal with this and its never ending which is why I have open invite hills which I don’t care about and then I have the secret gems which I try and keep low key as much as possible, especially if they are really good for filming and photographing.
Southerners are portrayed to lay heavy emphasis on respect, does this apply to Southern skaters?
Hell yeah it applies just as heavy to skateboarding. To be able to progress the movement of skateboarding you have to respect and appreciate what the guys before you did for the sport and contribute to it. Without that respect you get set back, whether it be with the law or just the loss of spots.
I work really hard in my community to maintain good hills. I’m always out in the neighborhoods talking to the people, being respectful and making sure they are okay with us. When outsiders come barging the hills and tear through it with no respect the neighbourhood comes to me with the complaints and usually I take care of it with a public ass chewing. We didn’t just make up the term “Texas Tough”, you have to be tough to skate in this community. I’m not saying we go around beating people up haha. We are a big family and we all have each others back but if someone steps out of line the community won’t hesitate to put them in their place.
Is there a Texas version of ‘’Dogtown and Z-boys’’?
Ha, not sure on that one but if you really want to dig into the history of Texas skateboarding there is plenty to read and see just search Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson, Jon Gibson, Dan Wilkes or Zorlac Skateboards. I know there was a documentary being worked on called “Shut Up and Skate: The History of Texas Skateboarding”, not sure if its finished but its definitely there. I have also had the opportunity to shoot some talented skateboarders in TX that have since moved out to Cali and are riding for companies out there doing it big!
Where were you skating in 2010?
All over DFW, the only downside to it is that you can end up driving anywhere from 30-60 miles one way just to get to a session because the hills are so spread out. The scene has gotten so big that there are sessions all over the place so chances are you don’t have to go too far just to skate with people.
Is there a local crew?
I wouldn’t say there is a specific crew really. We all communicate via Facebook on a page called “DFW Longboarding” but that was really started by the OG’s, the guys that were here way before I was. A lot of those guys consist of Bombsquad dudes and close friends to the BS crew. Like I said before, its so spread out here that you can now find sessions within our area’s so we just ride with whomever wants to get down with us.
When did you first shoot ‘’longboarders’’?
Well since I started “longboarding” in 2010 I snapped a few shots here and there with my small crew of noobish buds. Aside a few “cool” new profile photos for FB I hadn’t really done much to cover the scene. At the end of last year I battled a few injuries from 2 separate 40+mph crashes that left me more mentally scarred then physically, well the road rash was pretty bad.
I decided since I didn’t have insurance and I basically freelance for work, I should probably lay off the racing. That bummed me out a bit, but this year in TX was the biggest race season yet and the number of riders showing up was bigger as well. I knew I had to jump on this and get coverage out there. I mean at the time there wasn’t really anyone trying to capture the scene. Just the randoms that would come out from time to time to shoot all their friends but no one on a professional level. Actually I take that back before I started shooting the scene there was a guy named Aria Pramesi, out of Houston, he was out and about covering the scene years before me. The level of longboarding wasn’t there yet so he kind of phased out of it a bit, until I started kicking up the media dirt then he came out of the wood works halfway through this year. Its been nice because I can’t go unchallenged now. I have to stay on top of my game when he is around but its great because we both have different styles and are always trying to one up each other.
I’ve been lucky enough to really help expose the TX scene. I can’t take all the credit because its been a group effort. It’s been great though because my photos and videos have helped lots of local talent get sponsored by numerous companies and which in turn has helped them get out to sponsored events. I have been lucky enough to have sponsors like Bombsquad and Team NoBull who send me on the road with the guys and continue capturing and documenting the scene as it grows. With all that exposure I have been able to snag 5 Concrete Wave publications this year, 4 out of the 5 were full page ads, Metro wheels, Bombsquad longboarding, Anchor wheels, Palisades longboards and Cheetah Oil. Wheelbase has published some work of mine as well. Some of my photos can be seen as advertisements on SkateHouseMedia. Let’s not forget having numerous stories published by you, Thane Magazine, which led to this interview. There is no doubt that the team work between myself and the people around me has got TX steamin’ full speed. I’m not sure where this ride is taking me but I know for damn sure that the wheels are spinning and I want to be able to continue doing what i’m doing!
What do you try to show the world outside Texas?
I’m just trying to share the scene here one photo at a time. No doubt within the last year there has been a lot of noise buzzing about the scene here. For me I just see a high level of talent here and I’m just trying to help riders who can’t get out of the state get some proper exposure.
When did you first skate outside the state?
Over the last year I have developed a friendship with an Oklahomie named Kyle Ramsey. http://krlongboarding.tumblr.com/ Kyle has really helped put the mid west on the map by organizing gnarly races in Oklahoma and Arkansas. He is always pulling triple duty at the races by running heats, while racing, while filming. He is the most legit organizer of outlaw races. If you didn’t know it was an outlaw you would think it was a sanctioned event. He always makes sure things go down smooth and as of the last race he got us permission to camp right off the race hill. It was so awesome waking up in a tent city of skaters and walking up the road for some early morning runs. Anyways to answer the question at hand I first skated Oklahoma starting last year when I began going to Ramsey’s events. Oklahoma has by far provided me with the best runs I have hit yet.
How are the Oklahoma spots compared to TX?
Oklahoma has more mountainous areas especially when you get up into northeast OK near Arkansas. Most of the runs aren’t any slower than 50 aside the Marble run (Machado) which you could chill at 40 but when racing the speeds get high and the turns get gnarly. That’s the best thing about that region, not only is it fast but its so curvy and turny.
Did you go to either of the Machado classics?
Yeah I went to both and they were gnarly. Because I don’t race anymore and I’m always shooting photos but I like to get runs in with my homies when they are warming up. The first Machado it poured all night and was so wet the next day that I didn’t even bother. Everyone was leathered up and slipping and sliding out, quite a few brutal crashes. The 2nd Machado I drove the Bombsquad bus full of team riders up there and got a chance to get some runs in and it was sweet!
Just to give some background the first Machado that took place in the spring was suppose to be called the Marble Outlaw. While filming a promo for the race Oklahoma ripper Jason Machado was filming Kyle Ramsey down the run and as they came into the hard righty Jason got wide and hit a car head on at 40mph, its a narrow road and at full speed its hard not to end up in the other lane. Jason survived the head on collision but the impact left him with a broken femur, hip, ribs and fractured vertebrae. It’s amazing that he survived such a violent accident but the dude is just an incredible human being. Since that happened in the spring he has managed to make a full recovery. He was at the recent Machado Classic and the dude looked great. Kyle Ramsey being the awesome dude he is hosted the past 2 Machado Classics to raise money for Jason’s medical bills. So tight to see the community take care of each other like that.
Kyle was the first to introduce me to your photos, he’s really gnarly behind the lens!
Hell yeah Kyle is a rad dude and definitely gnarly at documenting the scene. He has really helped me gain exposure and I am forever grateful for it!
What do you ride?
Bombsquad Battle Royale, Caliber 50/37 (44 dewedged to 37) I DH and freeride that same setup. Calibers can take the beating my weight gives them. Anchor freeride wheels for sliding and Waterloo Rallies for downhill. Both of those are TX wheel companies that are kickin ass right now!
You’ve mentioned Bombsquad a few times, how did you first hook up?
I first met Tanner and Wes in those early DTD garage sessions and randomly at local hill sessions. Getting to ride with those dudes is rare because they are super busy not only with Bombsquad but they are multi talented dudes who are always working hard. Both of them are car guys and they both have some sick hot rods and classic cars they are always working on. Wes is a graphic designer and vinyl expert so he is always busy balancing that with Bombsquad full time. Same can be said for Tanner who is a badass pinstriper. He is always turning out work non stop for clients. You have probably seen a lot of his work and might not have realized it. Just look at some of the top aero lids you see out on the pro circuit. Zak Maytum, Billy Bones, Louis Pilloni, Max Capps, those are just a few of the names whose lids have been striped by Tanner. Anyways as always I’m getting off track.
Bombsquad is a local company in DFW based out of Arlington and I wanted to work with those guys and become part of something. I mean why would you not want to take the opportunity to work with a company in your backyard? At first it was a challenge. The dudes didn’t know me real well at first. I was just another new skater in the crowd and an outsider from the OG group of riders here. I had to work hard at convincing these guys I could contribute to their company. With my rapid exposure in the local scene from races I started meeting up with local team riders and setting up photo shoots. After a while of doing my thing I got a phone call from Wes asking if I would be interested in doing product shots for them. From there it has just progressed, they have sent me out on trips to collect media through photos and video and i’m constantly in the shop shooting new products helping out those dudes every way I can.
What’s your role in the family?
I’ve been called the “Hype Guy” in the scene usually because I’m always doing my best to spread stoke on new products. I really like to push on TX products to help support the scene. There are so many rad homies that are blowing up with their businesses and I like to take advantage of my exposure to help push their names out there. RIOT Boardsports is a great example. My homie Madison is a full time college student at Texas Tech, works a job and is still always busting his ass to take RIOT to the next level. He has helped take Ronin trucks to the next level with his bushings, pivot cups and other accessories. Zac Sharp and Eric Dougless who recently became Bombsquad riders are also contributors to the scene with their super sick Waterloo racing wheels. I mean I’m sitting here giving a good example of my role in the scene haha.
Do BS riders have something in common?
Aggression in their riding and podium wins. Aside that I’d say they all bring something unique and individual to the table with their personalities. Good dudes!
Do you have a favourite person to shoot?
Hmmm…kinda putting me on the spot with this question haha. I’d have to say my favourite pirate would be Jargh Hammons. He is such a rad dude, one of the first who stoked me out on the scene. He’s always willing to go balls to the wall to get to the next level and our team work has paid off. He just recently got a year contract with Gullwing trucks. Aside him Kavon Zamanian is pretty rad to work with. He is always contributing creative ideas and sometimes I find him telling me what would look best for the shot. Its nice to have another artistic eye on the hill.
Will we be seeing many videos from you in the future?
I’m pretty happy with my collaborations right now with Red Dirt Media. I don’t think I will be doing too many solo projects. I think I will just keep contributing to RDM and Bombsquad. But I most definitely will start doing more video work. I think that it’s really important to have video to back up the photo.
What’s the most important element of skate photography?
I’m not really too technical when it comes to certain aspects of photography. I just have visions and I go out and shoot them. Its important to be able to tell a story through a single image or a series of images. When you do that there are things you want to consider things like what’s the scene look like? Do I want to use a wide angle or tele for that zoomed shot? It’s also important to really know the sport so you can know when to capture the subject in its best motion. Getting the perfect capture on a tweaked out standy or shooting a racer through an apex of a turn all come with knowing the sport. Having photos like that separate you from the people capturing late or early trick shots and half tucking dudes racing down the hill. Did I mention I’m really not too technical?
What’s been the highlight of your year so far?
Travelling has to be one of the highlights for sure. I’ve spent my whole life in TX and just last year was my first time I had ever gone to Oklahoma. This year has been served up with travelling to Carnage on the Coast in Florida and some other races in Arkansas. Getting to see and experience different environments is the best. I hope I can continue to travel, see new things and meet new people.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m hoping to continue to grow my photography business especially in the wedding field because it can boost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a days work. With some of that income I’d apply it toward travelling and getting out to bigger skate events. I really want a job in the industry but I don’t think its there for me yet. Something like CHUBBS would be rad. Dude made all the right moves and has a job with Caliber and is spitting out all types of sick videos for all different types of companies. Some day… some day, but for now I keep it real just taking things in stride one day at a time.
What sort of industry job do you see yourself doing?
Hmm… Honestly I’d be happy doing whatever. I’m a jack of trades so I could do anything really. I’m use to wood work, I have a degree in graphic design, I’m experienced with packing and shipping and I’m dedicated to the sport so working long hours would be nothing. That and I have the media thing down pretty good. I’m a social person as well, granted if you didn’t feel like talking on the phone much you’d probably be dodging my calls. I just don’t see a job like that happening anytime soon in TX so I’ll just stick to what I know for the time being. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What do you do when you’re not skating or taking pictures?
Sleep? I try to skate everyday or at least every other day but aside that I like working on stuff like repurposing stuff. The wife and I like to go out like pickers and find old pieces that we can turn into furniture or art pieces. Right now we are in the middle of turning a vintage TV into a display for all of our liquor bottles to go into. We are also working on turning a whiskey barrel into a coffee table but its a bit complicated. I’ve always been obsessed with James Bond 007 so i’m working on installing a hydraulic arm underneath the surface of the table so I can pull it open and install foam inserts to house all my guns and knives in the hollow part of the table. I just like over the top unique stuff like that. We have a home depot right next to us and we find ourselves making plenty of trips to it. Also my living room is a death trap of paracord right now haha. I have found myself making a bunch of custom paracord bracelets for clients as well as doing custom paracord knife grips and hatchet grips. I’m a crafty dude and my favorite thing to do is to create things.
Pick 3 numbers between 1-13 Agent 00Barrandey.
3 – What crime are you most likely to go to prison for?
Too many assholes, not enough bullets.
5 – what’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you?
Question #3 almost happened.
7 – why did the chicken cross the road?
Buddy bro. It’s been awesome getting to know Erick “007” Barrandey. Thanks for being a champ and letting us share your work.
Thanks for reading my rambles! I really appreciate your time and interest in myself and my work.
Any thank yous?
Thanks to Bombsquad, Team NoBull, RIOT Boardsports, Waterloo Wheels, RedDirtMedia, and super big thanks to all my skate family in the TX scene. Thanks to the beautiful lady who stands beside me and is fully supportive of this crazy skate life. Working with you guys and gals is the best!