John Sullivan is a 37-year-old inline skater and photographer living in Farmers Branch, a Dallas, Texas suburb.
Portrait by Gino Gotelli
How long have you been skating?
I’ve been skating for 24 years, with no breaks or time off.
How did you get into photography?
I bought a Canon T3i to start filming my friends skate, went on a trip to Colorado, and I had no clue about long exposure. So when I got back to Dallas, it opened up so much of a vision I was stuck. After that, I ended up buying a Canon 5D Mark II from Josh Glowicki.
What gear are you currently using?
I shoot with a Canon 6D. I usually use my 24-105mm f/4 or 17-40mm f/4 lenses for Architectural photos and use the same in skating, but I use my 12mm a lot more because of the fisheye lens.
How long have you been shooting skate photography?
I’ve been shooting blading for a few years now. Nothing too major but very different from the type of photography I usually shoot.
Have you had any of your skate photography published?
For print, my only published photos are in the Candy book. As far as online goes, I’ve had pictures featured on Be-Mag a few times.
Have you worked together with any skating brands?
What’s the favorite project you’ve worked on in skating?
Candy By far. The whole experience was so organic, and a time I will hold close to my heart forever. Working with your best buds while sharing the same passion and goal was a blessing.
Who are your favorite skaters to collaborate with on photoshoots?
I love working with all the skaters from Texas and anyone else who has a positive attitude and chill vibe.
Jordan Smith pud slide (left) / Fritz Peitzner fisbrain (right)
Is there anyone who you’ve wanted to shoot with but never had the opportunity?
As far as skating, I would love to work with Adam Johnson and shoot something for Dead. I love the brand, and AJ is pretty darn rad. I also want to work with Transit. I love everything about the company, from the products to the people.
Do you have an all-time favorite photo you’ve shot?
I don’t know if I have an all-time favorite photo because I’m so hard on myself. In the back of my head, I always wish I could have fixed this or that. But if I had to pick one, I like the back savannah photo I shot of Jordan Smith in his Al Borland flannel.
What’s the most challenging photo you’ve ever taken?
Earlier this year, I took photos of the chaotic aftermath of the riots in Downtown Dallas. It was sad to see all the small business owners picking up glass and debris outside their storefronts. There was graffiti everywhere for justice. It was unfortunate that it had to get to that point.
Cleaning up after the riots.
How does the sport today compare to when you first began skating?
Nothing has changed for me or my love of the sport. I still feel like a kid when I put on my skates, although things hurt a lot more now. Better skates are a plus, and seem like blading is in the right place as far as style and tricks.
Where do you want to take your photography into the future?
I love Architectural Photography, shapes, and angles, colors, and contrast. I am currently working with Keaton’s Mom, she owns a successful interior design company, and she uses a lot of my work for her projects. I enjoy working with their team. So I want to do more of that while growing my vision and being different. Living Downtown and being surrounded by all the tall buildings was like a playground. Shooting there will always give me a good feeling.
John’s Architectural Photography of downtown Dallas.
Is there a photographer who has influenced your approach to shooting photos?
Jordan Smith is so damn creative; the way he mingles through an event and captures people is inspiring. I love Erick Garcia’s and Sam Cooper’s work and, of course, Gino Gotelli, Mick Casals, Joseph Gammill, and all the Texas homies who know how to work their cameras.
Who is your favorite photographer?
That one is tough. I don’t have one favorite photographer. Anyone who embraces and has a passion for photography to tell stories and share their vision is my favorite photographer.
Has COVID-19 changed how you guys go out skating and shooting?
Everyone was hesitant to be around one another when it first swept through Dallas, but we are all pretty precautious about space and whatnot. It was the riots and shootings downtown to make me step back from shooting as much as I was. With my new daughter, I think about a lot of situations before I approach them now.
Are you taking any precautions while out against COVID-19?
Just the norm, I suppose, mask up, and both Aaron and I keep hand sanitizer on deck in any bag or car we use.
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