Renowned Los Angeles-based photographer Atiba Jefferson recently opened an exhibition of his work in Hong Kong with HVW8 and WOAW titled “Lonely Wanderer.” The show features some of Jefferson’s photos of top celebrities and athletes including Michael Jordan, Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and Kobe Bryant, but the work that Jefferson is most known for and is probably most passionate about is his skate photography. In a recent interview, Jefferson spoke about his love for skate culture, how skate photography is different than other types of photography, and how skateboarding influences the world.
As a skater himself, Jefferson can relate to his subjects but says that there are reasons why he doesn’t want to do it forever. “As I’m getting older, skateboarding photography is hard,” he told Hypebeast. “You’re basically a glorified criminal. You’re documenting trespassing, destruction of property.” He said that he is getting too old to deal with cops and jumping fences, but as long as he’s getting on a board, he will be shooting the culture.
Jefferson sees skateboarding as an “influential culture” around the world. “I think skating to me is an art form and it’s self-expression and it’s also your environment,” he says, arguing that you see “real shit” and get to experience the real world while skating and shooting skaters.
Despite his long resumé, Jefferson still has a list of people that he wants to shoot, including Drake, Aphex Twin, and President Barack Obama. “I shoot things that I’m a fan of…someone that’s doing something fresh, as a photographer it’s always cool to get something of them.”