Gino Gotelli is a 32-year-old inline skater and photographer living in San Diego, California, USA. Originally from Dallas, Gino has been inline skating for 20 years. He started shooting aggressive inline skaters in 2015, adding Big Wheel Blading photography to his repertoire in 2020.
How did you get into photography?
I started getting into photography when my wife and I moved to Santiago, Chile, in 2012. I was capturing more landscapes at the time and just wanted to document our traveling adventures.
What gear are you currently using?
I’m currently shooting with a Canon 6D Mark II camera with Canon 8-15mm fisheye f/4 lens, Canon 16-35mm lens f/4, kens, and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 Mark II lens.
How long have you been shooting skate photography?
I want to say that I’ve been shooting skate photography ever since I started skating. But I’ve been taking it a little more seriously for the past five years or so.
Have you had any of your photos published?
At the moment I haven’t had any photos published for skating. I have worked with many companies that have used my images for promotional use, but it would be nice to see my pictures in a magazine one day.
Have you worked with any skating brands?
My first skate company that I worked with was K2 back in 2014. I was helping shoot a video for a line of their skates they would be promoting on their YouTube channel. (Shout out to Jeremy Townsend for introducing me to Mike Powell for that gig.)
More recently, I shot for Powerslide Skate brand, which was a cool experience. They needed some images of their urban and fitness line of skates. I’ve also contributed some photos for Redeye Wheels and 50/50 Frames for promotional use on Instagram.
When did you start shooting people skating on bigger wheels?
This year, 2020, is when I started capturing more Big Wheel Blading. There has been a massive spike in blading due to COVID-19; a lot more people have been buying recreational and big wheel blades, and it’s just been too good of an opportunity to pass up practicing that kind of photography other than aggressive skating.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on?
I would have to say the Powerslide photoshoot I did has been my favorite. I had to find models, fill out model release forms, organize time and dates for the shoot, typical photoshoot stuff. I love that process and working together with the models to capture those images. The overall experience I really enjoy.
Who are your favorite people to collaborate with?
I’m working a lot with the guys in San Diego, like Jon Fromm, Hayden Ball, Russell Day, and Steve Steinmetz. I like that they’re into “business blading, “as I like to call it. They seemed very motivated to put out content, which is great for me because I love to help out where I can for the industry.
Is there anyone who you’ve wanted to shoot with but never had the opportunity?
I would love to work with Chris Farmer someday. I feel like the massive kink rails he skates would make for some gnarly images of just showing the size of the obstacles and the overall presence of a spot. Also, Chris Smith would be another skater I’d love to work with. “Slink” has such a unique style and is very talented that I think we could get some rad shots with a fisheye for sure.
Do you have an all-time favorite photo you’ve shot?
I think this one of Keaton Newsom is my all-time favorite just because of what it means to me. Although he’s not skating in this shot, it was the last day I saw him, and so it just is more of an emotional image for me.
What’s the most challenging photo you’ve ever taken?
Some of my landscape images have been the most challenging for me. When I’m shooting action sports, I’m in my comfort zone, but my landscape images are the ones that always have me scrambling. Sometimes I second guess my composition, so I change locations, and then I end up chasing light, hurrying to get that “perfect” shot. I just put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes, and I want to capture fantastic images.
How does skating compare to how it was when you first began?
When I first started skating, I hardly skated with anyone. For the first five years, I would skate street by myself until I slowly started meeting the Dallas guys. I met two bladers one day as I was rolling down my road. Steven Diomampo and Jason McFadden saw me through a window, came out to skate a bike rack and some stair gap at the local school. It was after I met those guys they slowly started introducing me to other skaters. Before I moved to California, I was skating with the Dallas crew pretty regularly. We would either be filming for fun, Thursday night skate or working on some project for the scene. They were great times.
Has moving to California affected your photography?
I think so. San Diego is so beautiful and has such nice weather all year round that I find myself happier, which in turn helps out with my photography. Less stress = more creativity, I believe—that and meditation.
Where do you want to take your photography into the future?
I want to be working with all kinds of action sports athletes to help contribute to their sport and grow my photography business. I would love to shoot for the X-Games or the Olympics one day.
Has anyone influenced your photography?
Although he shoots more video than photography, Vinny Minton was a big inspiration of mine. All his videos he would make were always so smooth and composed well. When I focused more on my photography, I just wanted to try and do the same, I guess, haha.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I would have to say Lenny Gilmore is my favorite right now. I love his use of light in his images. They have a nice feel to them.
Besides landscapes, do you dabble in any other types of photography?
I’ve dabbled with family portraits and food photography, but I don’t find it to be as rewarding—also, product photography. I feel like every photographer at some point and time has done product photography.
Has COVID-19 changed how you shoot skating photos?
We typically keep our group sessions small. We social distance and always keep moving, so I don’t believe to ever be in any real danger of catching COVID-19 or spreading it if I unknowingly had it.
Are you taking any precautions against COVID-19 when on photo shoots?
Yeah, I wear a mask and stay away from people as best as I can. I’m not trying to let COVID-19 run my life, but I am cautious because I know it worries many people. I’m trying the best I can with the situation and information provided to us all.
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- See more of Gino’s Photography at ginogotelliphotography.com.
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