Erick Garcia is a 39-year-old inline skater and photographer living in Alameda, California, USA. Erick has been inline skating for 27 years and is a legend in the bay area blading scene. He started shooting aggressive inline skaters in 2014, adding Big Wheel Blading photography to his repertoire in 2017.
How did you get into blading photography?
After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2013, skating became very difficult so picking up a camera was the way I kept myself in the game and contributing to the NorCal scene. For 6 years, I’ve battled mentally to want to be a skater and contribute in that form, but since earlier this year, I have embraced and accepted my role as a photographer for all my friends and the NorCal blade scene.
What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Last Summer, I shot with some of the Rollerblade guys for ‘In Motion San Francisco’ (Sean Keane, Cameron Talbott, Nicholas Swan & Mike Torres). Still, I have been falling in love with the project I’m working on with Taylor Kobryn and his next skate video coming out of NorCal called ‘Hit It Whet Again.’ The skaters have been pushing the limits of street skating out here in San Francisco, and they are definitely leaving a mark on what real street skating looks like when your terrain is full of hills. I’m working on a photo book to compliment the video, which is due to release later this year for Blade Cup in Santa Ana, California, USA
Cameron Talbott (left) – In Motion: SF Crew (right)
Who are you favorite skaters to collaborate with?
All of my friends. I love to shoot them skating, and I always love to find the best way to showcase their skills. But if I had to be specific, Brian Freeman (BFREE) is always a great person to link up with and shoot. We’re like family, so the sessions are always meaningful. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. We have developed a great way to skate and gather amazing content for himself and I. Make sure you guys follow his Instagram pages (@bfreebfree & @bfreebladingacademy)
Who would you love to shoot with if the opportunity arose?
I definitely have a list of people I would love to shoot, and so far, I’ve really only shot one. His name is Frank Hernandez from Delano, California, USA. He’s the oldest skater I know of that’s aggressive skating (I believe he’s 78 years old now). It’s mind-blowing to watch him skate around a skatepark. In fact, it’s one of the most inspiring things I ever witnessed since I started skating. I absorbed everything he said the whole time we hung out as I want to be his age and skate around the way he does. Next on the list to shoot would definitely be Joe Atkinson.
Brian Freeman stair gap (left) – Cameron Talbott air (right)
Do you have an all time favorite photo you’ve shot?
The short answer is no, hah! I can’t pick just one.
What’s the most challenging photo you’ve ever taken?
So far, it’s been during this COVID-19 situation, although it’s been a blessing in disguise for skating. For three weekends in a row, Cameron Talbott and I, along with a crew of about 5 more, involved the Golden Gate Bridge at about 7 am. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose exactly what was shot as the photo hasn’t been released yet. It will be apart of the photo book I’m working on for ‘Hit It Whet Again.’ I’ll tell you this much; it took three weekends because we kept upping the anti on the trick that needed to be laced each weekend. Cameron is beyond a professional and made it look too easy. I also had to make adjustments each weekend with my camera angle to get the best shot possible. We hope you guys will enjoy it when it releases later this year.
Cameron Talboot and Taylor Kobryn (left) – San Francisco (right)
Are there any photographer who influenced your approach to shooting photos?
Ivan Narez. He’s not only an influence, but he’s a straight shooter. He gives me tips on how to improve my photography, and I appreciate all of it.
Who is your favorite photographer?
Philip Moore rocket air (left) – Dan Malm soul grind (right)
How does the Northern California scene evolved since the early days of skating?
The level and difficulty of skating have constantly increased since the 90’s out here in Northern California. It’s like my friends have aged like fine wine. You go-to spots and they skate them with so much confidence, and you can see how seasoned they are. The real difference is back then, you skated a spot, and everyone would skate it, but today most are very selective with their spots and what tricks they want to accomplish. Our scene is vibrant with history, and we’ll continue to be influential.
Has COVID-19 changed how you guys go out skating and shooting?
Absolutely! Many friends have been skating on their own, but some are comfortable skating together (around 7-8 people in total). I’m one of those who are comfortable being around others. We are aware at all times and respect everyone’s space as they want. The Covid 19 situation’s upside is the streets have been empty, and it’s been free rein on all the spots we couldn’t skate before or would have a tough time trying to skate. I’ve shot so many photos in the past two months!
Victor Arias back royale
Recently you began selling prints online, how is that working out for you?
Since my birthday, April 27th, I launched my account with the website Darkroom. My URL is www.esgvisuals.darkroom.tech It’s a straightforward way for artists to get their work out there for people to purchase. I decided to use Darkroom as my friend Austin Paz also uses it for his photography, and he gave me good reviews. So far, prints have been selling fairly well. Darkroom does all of the backend work, and all I have to do is upload my photos. You can choose from various print options, from plain paper prints to metal prints, canvas prints, and framed prints. All feedback has been positive so far from my customers, so I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
Where do you want to take your photography in the future?
I plan to continue to focus on shooting skating. I will make some opportunities for myself as I do not want to rely on the industry/skate companies to help accomplish my photography goals. Maybe a magazine, who knows!
Steve Babcock, Taylor Kobryn, Ian Copp, Dave Ghent, Cameron Talbott (left) – Taylor Kobryn (right)
Header image – The Glory Hole of Lake Berryessa
- Follow Erick Garcia on Instagram.
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- To order prints of Erick’s photos visit esgvisuals.darkroom.tech
- Contact Big Wheel Blading for any questions, suggestions, story ideas or to contribute content.
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