Hello my sweet roommate, you. As I started to sit down to think of questions to ask you, I realized I don’t actually know very much about you. Then I got sad, so let’s use this interview towards building the blocks on our friendship, okay? (Say yes or no here.)
Of course, buttercup, let’s be friends!
You’re originally from Providence, Rhode Island? I looked it up and found out it’s exactly 2,973 miles away from where you live now, well, where we live. How was living there? And how much different is it to living in California?
I’ve always said that Rhode Island is a great place to grow up and raise kids, but all the time in between sucks. I lived there from when I was born until I was 23 and it was a lot of fun. Providence is a college town with 200,000 kids that cycle in and out, so it’s very diverse and I was lucky enough to be exposed to all sorts of crazy music and ideas. During high school and college I was skating and playing in bands while going to school and working fulltime, so I was always busy. I just didn’t want to get stuck living in Rhode Island after college, something about living in a 20-mile-by-40-mile state for the majority of my life spooked me.
Obviously the weather is better here, but sometimes I wish it would just rain so I wouldn’t feel like such a pile for staying in. Everything is spread out over here too, which took some time to figure out considering I don’t have a car. But it’s been five years strong and I still have managed to get around.
With that being said, what originally brought you here? Were you chasing a dream or some tail? Or were you just bored? Spill it.
Ha, boredom is probably the closest reason. I graduated college with a Bachelors in Marketing and Associates in Advertising in 2011 and was contemplating what was next. The only other official job I had was working at CVS and I knew I didn’t want to do that forever. They always tell you in school to do what you love so I decided to move to Long Beach to try and work in skateboarding. I figured the odds of someone trying to work in the skateboarding industry and having a degree were low, so I saved up all summer and moved to Long Beach in September 2011 with no family, friends, car or job. Luckily, just as I was about to run out of money I got hired at Baker Boys Distribution up in North Hollywood and eventually down here in Costa Mesa at Volcom.
From looking over all the photos you’ve sent us there’s a big Volcom skate dog presence. How’d you find yourself in a position shooting these skaters, going on these trips and working for the stone?
Well it all kind of started at Baker Boys Distribution. I started there entering sales orders, super entry-level stuff, and around 2012 Instagram and Facebook started to be adopted by skate brands. Since I was down to do anything for the company and had a marketing degree, I was in charge of creating the social media presence for Baker Skateboards, Deathwish Skateboards, Shake Junt and Brigada Eyewear. When they restructured around 2014 I was laid off. By chance, Volcom and Baker were working on a collaboration and the Baker art director at the time mentioned to Remy Stratton (VP of Skateboarding at Volcom) that they just let go of their social media manager, even though I was just a data-entry dude. This led to me working at Volcom for the past three years as their social media manager for the skate department.
Thanks to Jake Smith and the evolving social media landscape, I’ve been fortunate enough to hop in the van with some of the best skateboarders in the world. With content being consumed just as fast as it takes to make it these days, sometimes social media requires you to be in the moment instead of behind a desk. I’m also always down to drive the van, carry generators or do whatever it takes to do what we came to do. I always have a camera on me so I figure I might as well document what is going on in front of me too.
Were you a photographer before a skate thrasher guy or a skate thrasher guy before photographer? What’s been your biggest photography accomplishment to date?
I was skating before I picked up a camera. Me and my brother started skating when we were like 14 or something. My mom would always have disposable cameras around and I would try and shoot photos of my brother and friends skating but they would never come out. I always liked taking photos but never really had a camera. When I was 16 I got a job and spent my first paycheck on a Nikon FM2 and started learning from there. I shot some skating on the FM2 but nothing too crazy, basic driveway stuff. But at the same time I was learning photography I was promoted to working in the photo lab at CVS, which kept me motivated to keep shooting. At some point I realized I wasn’t going to be a pro skater and unfortunately I put skating on the back burner behind school, work and playing music. It wasn’t until I moved out here five years ago that I started focusing on skateboarding and photography again.
As far as accomplishments go, apparently Volcom will be using a few of my photos for ads, windows and other miscellaneous marketing stuff later this year, so that will be a trip to see in the wild. There’s a couple photos at Volcom’s HQ that are on 10-foot-high windows, totally crazy to see my own photos printed that big!
How’d you coin the nickname Shredcorn? Pretty dope nickname if you ask me.
Haha, you can thank Jake Smith for that one. A couple years back I was “displaced by fire.” If you remember that Christmas tree fire on 34th street, that was mine. Anyway, I was on his couch for a month or so and he decided to start calling me Redcorn because he thought I looked like the Native American dude on King of the Hill. I think around that time I was in the market for a new Instagram handle, or something stupid, and somewhere along the line we came up with Shredcorn – been running it ever since!
Do you ever get nervous meeting some of the skaters you get to photograph and go on trips with? Which skaters are your favorites to be around with and shoot?
I used to way back in the day when I was a grom. But when I was in college, Donny Barley opened a shop in Providence for a minute and I got to spend some time with him, a lot of shoptalk and whatnot. Donny is an absolute legend in the northeast, so after chatting with him a few times you ultimately realize that he’s just a normal human being just like everyone else. I tend to be shy so I’m always a little nervous meeting people, but for the most part I don’t really fan-out on anyone. The last time I was really nervous is when I went to Baker Boys Distribution for my interview. Shit, if you met Greco, Reynolds and Ellington for the first time at a job interview you would be nervous too!
As far as favorite skaters to travel with and shoot, any of the Volcom dudes rip. Any time Grant Taylor steps on a skateboard it’s magic. I find it extremely hard to shoot a bad photo of him on a skateboard. Provost is always fun to be around. I enjoy Pfanner’s company on trips a lot too.
Other than covering skateboarding, what other facets of photography do you enjoy? I know you and Lit Pham go camping a lot, are you working on a showcase of nature and landscape photography?
We should put a showcase together or something, been doing it all for the Instagram likes, haha. I like being out in nature, somewhat easy to shoot too, already pretty and doesn’t move too much. I like shooting live music as well. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot some of my favorite bands thanks to Volcom. Lately I’ve been getting back into shooting film. Light room and post processing can put your head in spin so I’ve been trying to shoot on my Pentax and Yashica. Overall, I just like shooting anything that I find interesting, studio and product stuff not so much, but as long as I’m still shooting that’s what make me happy.
Any exciting plans or photo goals for the Shredcorn we could look forward to seeing in this fresh year?
The Volcom calendar is looking pretty stacked so hopefully I can get on as many more of those trips as possible. Other than that I’m just trying to be better friends with you (insert heart eyes emoji)!