Zalfa Photographer Interview

February 22, 2018

Yaje Popson, switch bs 5050

Where are you from?

I’m from Connecticut originally. Grew up skating in parking lots and a local high school with some fun ledges and started taking the train into NYC.


Cyrus Bennett, fs wallride

When/where did you learn to kickflip?

Not sure on my exact age but I’m going to guess around 10 or 12? It probably took me a year of trying in my friend’s garage or in my mom’s basement. I think at first we thought you did kickflips by putting your foot under the board and doing an underflip like Rodney Mullen or something.


Cyrus Bennett, bs smith

How badly do you need glasses?

Let’s just say I’m not blind but I definitely need them to focus a camera or to drive properly. I’ve broken a lot of pairs skating and had to finally resort to using the age old dad-miracle of crocks. I can skate okay without them for the most part though.

Cyrus Bennett, kickflip

What is the most important thing to know when shooting skating?

I suppose timing is everything. Not shooting a photo with a total dad angle or high school newspaper photo journalist approach. But in the age of irony, maybe that stuff would fly these days.

Jesse Alba, layback wallie

Have you ever been arrested before?

Yeah I’ve had a few similar arrest stories, running from cops and getting tackled. Both times I wasn’t even skating, just holding my board and got rushed by cops thinking I was skating. Arrested in Philly after getting rushed by cops at city hall, literally walking through the park with my board. Charged with vandalism of city property. That kept me away from Philly for a long time. They gave me a fine and 30 hours of community service that I was able in New York. At the time Billy Rohan was running the whole 12th and A community skatepark scheme and signed off on my hours if I helped build some ramps, etc. with those guys.

Yaje Popson, bs 5050

How important is a flash?

Flash has played a pretty important role in skate photography over the years. It is a great tool for stopping action or lighting a scene, but not always necessary. It kind of led to everybody’s photos looking the same for a while. Digital technology is so good these days, you can get away with shooting natural light a lot easier. Cameras are way better at dealing with low light situations now, so the flash doesn’t have to a crutch.

Vincent Touzery, kickflip

Has a skater ever broken any of your equipment?

Plenty of broken flashes over the years. Couple boards to the fisheye, but no major damage. Worst part is when your gear gets broken before you get a good photo or gear breaking on a trip.

Last time you got high?


Last night.

Andrew Wilson, bs nosegrind shuv

How much coffee do you drink?


A lot. My bladder hurts.

Bobby Worrest, bs lip

Do you sell coffee? How’d you get into roasting?

I don’t sell it, sometimes I give it to friends if I roasted a bunch. I was just drinking a lot of coffee and reading up on it. Unroasted coffee can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a fancy cafe’s roasted beans. I figured I would order some and try out some DIY methods on the stove top and save some bucks in the mean time. It just spiraled from there and now. I’m pretty obsessed with it. It’s something fun to do after work, like cooking a nice meal. It’s awesome having a stash of beans from all over the world and fresh roasted coffee whenever you want. I’d love to be able to do it on a bigger scale in the future.

Cyrus Bennett, ollie

Ever been to Puerto Rico?

Yeah on a couple skate trips down there. Some really fun, hectic trips eating way too much mofongo and chicken and cooling off with plenty of Medallas. We took a little trip to El Yungue National Park and were pretty amazed at the swimming holes and beauty of the place.

Andrew Wilson, nosegrind

How many different cameras have you had in your life?

Too many over the years. I have a bit of an obsessive trait and was always on to something new, trading one for another.

Dream camera/camera toy?


Digital Contax t3 would be a fun one.

Hugo Boserup, fs air

Do you surf? Do you think it affects your skate style?

Yeah I got really into surfing about five or six years ago. My dad surfed when he was a kid, so growing up we always had a board around but we never lived close enough to the beach for it to really stick. Something switched and now it’s taken over my life. Like learning how to skate all over again. I’m not sure if it has affected my skating besides the fact that I skate way less now, unless of course there’s no waves. Surf style is cool, smooth and cruiser. Skate like Joel Tudor and you’re good.

Max Palmer, bs nosegrind

Worst skate injury?

Torn urethra on a trip to Montreal while I was being paid to be the photographer. Freak accident trying a dumb trick while everyone was warming up. Not the best look when the photographer is in the hospital pissing blood and the kids are out ripping.

Max Palmer, fs board

What was the last album you played through?

Lee Hazlewood, “Trouble is a Lonesome Town.”


Last words?

Listen to your mom.