Ryan Gee interview

October 31, 2016

Kevin Taylor, noseblunt slide

Where you at? What you doing today?
I’m home now drinking some beers while I answer these questions. I was out fishing in NJ prior to this.
What was the first magazine you had a photo in?
It was Transworld back in 1994. I contributed a portrait photo of Ron Knigge for his Pro Spotlight. He lived
a few towns over from me. We used to chill, skate, shoot pics & film a lot. I also shot a Dead End ad of JP. Lots that was published in the same issue.
What was the first skate magazine from Philly?
I’m guessing Journal? Is this a trick question?
How many flashes have you broke?
Personally probably 2-3 times. But with skateboards hitting them, probably 5+. Are you referring this quest
ion to the footage of me focusing a flash in Chomp On This? haha…If so, I was in Buenos Aires during that mishap. My flash wouldn’t fire off when I needed it the most. Breaking it seemed right at the time.
You take photos and video? How do you decide which? Any preference?
Back in the 90’s there wasn’t usually a photographer / filmer duo. I usually shot the photos first. Then when I was confident on getting the image, I’d switch over to video. This was pre digital camera days. So I had to make sure I trusted my judgement. Obviously you can’t preview 35mm film on the spot.

Kalis, Kickflip

Ever take photos and video at same time?
Yes…a few times. Now when I think of it, I believe I was shooting a sequence and filming on most of them. Sometimes I’d set up my video camera while shooting stills.
Love Park is gone. How are you coping?
Mentally it sucks so bad. Love was the first place I been to in Philly. When I found out that the demolition
was happening soon, I’d cruise by a few times a week. I was usually shooting architectural shots for a soon to be project. Then I would grab my board and just roll around. I had a good run there. But prior, I really haven’t been there since 2011 maybe? And I live 10 minutes away too. Basically as time went by, I got more family orientated. My interests changed to other things too. Regardless, I feel bad for the current generation of skaters that were holding it down there. I’m talking about the Sabotage crew. They kept Love alive in it’s last years.
What kinda subjects you shoot besides skating?
My family. But for other jobs, it’s been live music venues, models, landscapes, products and anything action orientated. Oh…and video editing for production companies too.
Were you at Love for the Sub Zero contest(s)?
Yes…the last one back in September 1994. That was my first time in Philly. It was so surreal! Banked ramps and wedge gaps were set up in the middle of the park. Their was an MC and someone mixing hip hop beats with 2 turntables. It might of been some of the guys of The Roots crew. I just remembered speakers set up blaring everything out. It was the wild west back then! Cops would just walk through not giving a fuck! I still call it the ‘Glory Days.’ Jason Lee was there doing super fresh 360 kick flips in his white Airwalks. Jamie Thomas was there too. As well as all the Philly locals. A few months later I moved down permanently
from North Jersey, where I grew up. I needed a change. I became addicted to the Philly scene.

Anthony Pappalardo, Switch Ollie

What do you think of photoshopping skate photos?
Depends…If you want to PS a person out in the frame, then so be it.
Ever have a skater try to tell you how to shoot? Do you care?
 Yeah I think Jamie Thomas did on a few occasions. No big deal. I want them to be happy, if they have a certain visual that’s good. But if it sucks, I’d let them know.
You did a job for Penthouse? How was that?
Nothing special. I just shot an interview with Bam Margera for it. But then after that it led me to shooting a porno at his house. Couples were straight up fucking on his skate ramps. It was a trip. I have a shot where Kerry (Getz) was front board sliding a rail. In the foreground some dude is pounding this chick doggy style!

Stevie Williams, Switch heel

Worst photo gig you’ve done? Why?
‘Cage The Elephant’ band. I got hired by Sony to shoot them up in Brooklyn. As I was walking to the venue, I noticed a bunch of younger kids protesting about some bullshit. I think it was over corporate stores moving their business into the neighborhoods. Let me clarify I’m in Williamsburg, aka Hipster central. So I was watching these idiots blocking the street with trash, smashing windows and slashing tires. Then I notice a few of them running by my wife’s car. I soon hear a‘sssssssssssss’ sound. I went over to check it out, and 2 tires were slashed! If killing rich suburban Hipsters were legal, sign me up. I wanted revenge so bad. But Karma is a bitch. I seen a bunch of them getting arrested by undercovers. So after that I had to man up and do my job. That I did, but It was hard to grind it out through the night. After the show, I had to get the car towed to a repair place at 2am, then take a train and crash at my friends in NJ, then hop on a train back to Brooklyn the next morning and pay $500+on tires and hourly fees. Luckily it was a good paying gig. But still…. fuck all Hipsters!
Whats your Favorite cover you’ve shot?
Probably my first Slap cover. It was my best friend I grew up with, Mat. We were shooting for the fun of it. He did a unique50-50 on some slanted flat bar. I submitted it to Slap when I was freelancing around for various magazines. Not long after after, I went out to the Long Beach Tradeshow in 96 or 97. Someone told me I had the cover of Slap. I thought it was a joke. But when I saw it circulating around at the event, I was really hyped on it. Thanks Lance!

Damien Smith pop shuv

Last pic you shot? Last skate pic?
As of this interview, BBQ wings from my iphone. My Wife made me pick some up…hahaha. I literally document everything. But skate wise, it would be Brian Panebianco at Love Park (4/2/2016). I was driving by and saw him flying down‘ the last skate-able area’. It was the 7 stairs by the welcome center. In the background you can see the total destruction of the lower fountain ledges. I was just shooting for personal fun. When I left I realized that was probably the last skate pic I’d ever shoot there. I will definitely print it up and frame it sometime. 22 years prior I believe my first pic I took there was Stevie Williams. He did a heel flip on a banked ramp during that last Love Sub Zero contest. Unfortunately I can’t find the original slide now.
Ever have to shoot / skate with someone you didn’t want to?
Yeah been there done that. Not giving up names though…haha.
Maddest you’ve seen Getz?
To the point where he would focus his skateboard on his head. Wasn’t just a one shot deal. He would keep slamming the board over his head till it would break.
Next camera you’d buy?
Canon 1DS-Mark 2…It’s a workhorse!
Social media? Fun or destroying the world?
It’s ok, But I feel it’s been ruining the excitement and anticipation in regards to the skateboard industry. I don’t get excited by looking at skate mags or videos anymore. Everything is right at your finger tips 24/7; (websites, facebook, instagram clips, etc.) Last video I was really hyped on was Sabotage 4. The realest of the real!

Brian Wenning, Switch back smith

Favorite video you’ve been a part of?
Off the top of my head right now, Jump Off a Building, cKy2k, Photosynthesis and Chomp On This.
This isn’t a question but your chomp on this part is sick. I watched that video a million times when it came out.
Haha thanks. That was a fun and frustrating part to film.
Favorite trip you’ve been on? longest?
Hands down the Habitat trip to Costa Rica back in 2001. You just had to be there to understand its awesomeness. Longest would probably be in South America with the New Deal team? 2nd would be with the DC crew in Barcelona 2002.
Any advice for people trying to come up in photography?
Be original.

Kalis, Switch krook