In this second interview with Khaleeq, he tells us about his summer adventures – shooting Maryhill and I <3 DH, and getting his work in Skate[Slate] and Concrete Wave, and the Broadway Bomb. Gnar photos throughout!
Hey Khaleeq, how are you?
I’m good dude! How about yourself?
Awesome. How is your week going?
Ehhh, a little stressful. Finals week, the usual haha.
What’s your major?
Biology… Haha hellz nah: Photography of course!
Doesn’t finals week just mean you hand in your Concrete Wave spread, with a note saying ‘’fuck you, I’m famous’’?
LMAO! No, I wish. Anything in Concrete Wave would be dope!
Do you throw in a lot of skate shots for school?
Surprisingly, no. When it comes to school I try and stay “artsy”. Here and there if it fits the assignment I’ll shoot some skate stuff. I do that best so I usually do skate stuff for my finals.
What’s your photography style?
I would say my style is a mix between showing the landscape while also heavily focusing on the rider/riders. Along with semi-a lot of editing.
Last time we spoke you were getting ready for a hectic summer – how did it go?
Excuse my french but it went pretty fucking great haha. Better than I expected.
Where did it start?
I think it first started with the IGSA race “I <3 DH” in NY, Windham. Went to have fun, shoot, and just chill with the homies. Ended up getting my first published photo out of it!
Was that your first ever race?
My first real race ever was probably I<3 DH the year before. Had promised myself that this year I was going to go and kill it!
What didn’t you get to do the first time out?
Well the first time I had just started shooting skate stuff. So I went and just kept clicking, not knowing what I really wanted or how to actually shoot a race like that. But this year I had grown and developed that “style” so I knew what I wanted. And I got it.
And what did Khaleeq want?
Nice low shot, semi-tight framing around the skater, him flying through that last corner. How’d I get it? I lay flat across a pile of hay and took the shot.
Did you get to ride the track?
Nah, I love skating and every aspect of it. But I gotta take baby steps when it comes to DH, especially with courses like that haha.
Congrats on the publication. What photo was it?
Thanks! It was the photo of the homie Jonas Richter coming through the last turn. Was in the SkateSlate Magazine, late Summer issue! Was pretty stoked on it, still am!! (Thanks to Jeff Vyain from Pantheon boards for that).
Do you take better photos of people you like?
I would say I pay attention more to people I know, especially when it comes to events. I’ll shot everyone, but I’m always looking for people I know because once we make eye contact or I wave them down, sick shit is about to go down.
What does it mean to have your photo published in a rad mag like SKS?
It meant a lot, it was a start to my 2013 goal. To have your name on a two page spread with a awesome company like Bustin is just crazy dope!
What were your other goals for this year?
My main goal for 2013 was to simply kill it. Every event, kill it, every shoot, kill it.
Where did you hit up after Windham?
After Windham, I took a trip over with the skate fam to the beautiful, heavenly Maryhill Festival of Speed!!
Was it as good as you’d dreamt?
BETTER! Every skaters dream, every skate photographers dream.
Why is it so good to shoot?
The scenery is just beautiful dude. I love curvy roads and that’s just what Maryhill has to offer. Love shooting riders coming through turns, it looks so elegant and beautiful, topped off with great scenery, you’re bound to get an epic shot.
What was your Maryhill experience like?
My Maryhill experience was great! Flew out the day before it started with a couple homies, mobbed in a van the whole time. It was just straight up fun. Was out in the hot sun every day getting darker and darker trying to get that perfect shot. Trying my best to understand the best places on the course, seeing which corner is the best, which spot gives you the best landscape view. It’s funny because I didn’t see many people out there the first 2 or 3 days, which, in my opinion, are the best days. Endless skating, endless shots, endless lurking, and endless fun.
I thought only West Coasters had Gnar Vans!
Nah, Mids Van is the best of them all EAST COAST fo LIFE! (not that I’ve ever been in it haha). But the homies and I got rides from our Malaysian friends (Malaya Street Bombers) and crazy Billy DaisyCutter Jackle while at Maryhill
How was the Maryhill party?
Crazy! Tons of people, one of those things where you had to be there to experience it.
Do photographers get extra beer?
Not sure, probably haha. I don’t drink beer, straight liquor for this guy! Which usually isn’t at skate parties, just beer (sad face).
Jack Daniels man?
Vodka kinda guy.
What did you learn from shooting Mary?
That anything is possible! I was doubting being able to get out there and it happen. Never thought in a million years a photo of mine would end up on the front cover of a big magazine.
Were there any opportunities that arose from being at the Skate Mecca?
You get to meet a ton of people and on top of that you have the opportunity to really get your photography out there. For me, I ended up getting some shots that made it into magazines, so I was even more stoked!
Is that the end game? More magazine exposure = more bacon?
Honestly, for me it’s all about having fun and exposing the people I’m around and have the pleasure of meeting. Getting stuff in magazines is just a plus!
Which photographers do you admire in the game?
Dustin Damron, for sure. Dude is a mastermind behind the lens. Also the homies Brian Babish, Mike Roberts, and Don Sheffler. And of course the OG’s Marcus Bandy and Jon Huey.
Where did you shoot after Maryhill?
After Maryhill, I hit Central Mass Longboard Festival put on by Mike Girard. Such a rad event, one of my favorites. It was my 2nd time, but this was the first year at the new slide jam hill… so good!
Did you have fun there?
Of course! By far one of the best events on the east coast. So many homies, so many rad skaters, and soooooo many photos after the event.
Being out on the road, did you get to exchange notes with any new photographer friends?
Surprisingly, not really. Don had given me some useful advice a little while back but other than that there isn’t much.
Where else did you hit this summer?
Other than those three events no where else really. Hit up Madison County’s Gravity Fest with the Longboard Loft/Bustin crew. Other than that just had a ton of shoots in the city.
What does it take to become a professional photographer?
Not really sure, lol haven’t become one yet. I think the biggest thing with photography in the skate scene is that you have to stay relevant, keep working hard, and have fun. There’s a ton of people doing it, some for the wrong reasons, some because they just love doing photography.
Are you part of the L/ustin crew?
The Loft crew are my brosksis haha. Love chilling with them, always looking out for me.
Still riding the same setup?
Changed up my set-up since the last talk. Now riding the Will Royce Pro model (congrats homie), Rey Trucks, Abec wheels, and Riptide bushings <3.
Now you’re famous, you don’t have to pay for skateboards… right?
Depends what boards you like, and it’s not that easy. Gotta put in work in order to get what you want. I just so happen to have fun doing photography and I love skating. Why does everyone say that word! “Famous”! lol Not even close.
What’s been keeping you busy lately?
School. Not too happy about it, but here to keep my future options open.
How is the skating in Chicago?
Flat. I either have to go an hour away to skate or go to this park with mini baby hills two blocks away.
Is there a big community there?
There’s definitely a community over here, not too big, but its there. You won’t find it in the city tha’ts for sure, however, if you travel into Illinois you’ll find those rad thaners.
What are you doing to get the Chicagoans stoked?
I try and get out there to shoot and chill with them, been slacking on that lately. Will do better next semester for sure. I really just want to shoot as much as possible, sometimes laziness and school work gets in the way.
Jon Stewart said Chicago deep dish has nothing on NY pizza. True?
HELL YES! #NYCPizza4Life.
Did you have fun at the Broadway bomb?
Don’t even get me started on that. Ok Broadway bomb weekend was so/so. First off I re-injured my leg the day I got back to NYC so I couldn’t even skate the whole weekend. Was crutchin my ass everywhere. Still had fun and felt good to be back home.
Police wouldn’t arrest a skater with crutches… right?
Those assholes probably would, but I was playing the role of the curios black guy…..with an expensive camera. lol
Is this the first year The Man has gotten involved?
Nope, last year was the first year they tried shutting us down. Also didn’t work, however, we still had the slide jam. This year since they didn’t get their way with stopping us they decided to cut the slide jam off too. To me the slide jam tops the whole weekend off. It really sucked to see that not happen.
Is there ever an event/time where you say ‘’fuck it, I’m just gonna skate, someone else can take photos?
When every I’m home I hate carrying my camera around. I like skating more, and sometimes that’s a conflict with friends because they want their pictures taken too. But all I wanna do is skate and have fun. Now when I hit events, I usually like to stay behind the lens and cruise around.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Just chill, there aren’t any events taking place so I’m just going to relax before having to go hard. Probably do some shoots around NYC, the usual, before 2014 rolls in.
In what ways can you improve your photo game for next season?
I would say I gotta hit more events. I have a list of events I want to shoot, not sure it will happen, and I doubt it will. But I’ll make it happen somehow and do even better than last year.
Where will you be hitting next year?
Hopefully, you’ll catch me at:
Whistler Longboard Festival
Peyragudes Never Dies (Want to SO BAD, would kill this)
and Ponce (Which aint gonna happen)
If you go to France, might as well come to Kozakov.
DUDE! I was planning on it haha. I want to so badly.
Do you like Jaeger?
Yes! I hear the Kozakov party is INSANE!
Any last words?
Huge thank you to my Mom first off. Thank you to Jeff Vyain (Pantheon Boards), Ryan Daughtright, Mike Ryan, Leon, Dejaune, Billy, Clio, EDL OG’s, Brad & Tracey (Riptide), Marc (Triple 8), Kurt (Heelside Mag), John (Oojom pucks) Mac (Ghostskate), the whole Bustin and Loft crew. Check out SLO Stoked Productions and Ghostskate. The biggest thank you to Thane Magazine! Greatly appreciate anyone who has supported my photography in any sort of way. East Coasters & Illinois fam… Oh and Juicy J for keeping it Trippy haha.
It’s been really fun catching up on your recent adventures, thank you for being a rad supporter. See you in Europe!
Always a Pleasure! See you there.