This week’s column comes in the form of the second edition of “Fact Check” featuring Raul Ruiz. I have known Raul for years now and have been riding with him since 2007 so it’s always a good time when we catch up and kick it. We met up in Highland Park, California, caught a sesh at his local park, talked some shit, shot some photos and this is the result. There have only been a few recurring features that I’ve done for the column but one like this is always a nice break from the regular interview process. I like being able to provide riders with a place to be creative and be themselves. It’s been my goal from day one to use this column as a place to interview riders, get creative, and share my passion for photography. It’s amazing to have an outlet that lets me have full creative control and it’s always an honor to be able to select each rider that I want to work with. No outside influence ever effects any decisions that I make for the column and that’s the way it will stay until it’s over. On that note, enjoy the second-edition of “Fact Check.”
When I tell people about what I do as a photographer I also run down the list of freelance projects that I currently work on and one of them happens to be this very column. I tell people that I write a weekly photo-based column and that the next time it comes out it will be number (whatever it happens to be next) and they always seem to be shocked by the number of weeks that I have done this. I know for a fact I am kind of shocked as well. It’s one of those things where it doesn’t really hit me until I start the next week and fill in the “check back next Wednesday for the next column” section at the bottom of every TTL and realize how many weeks it’s been. If you have followed the column from the beginning you know that one thing’s for sure and that is you never know what to expect. I have done my best to keep things interesting and keep them fresh so that people have a reason, or at least curious enough to check out what the subject matter is week after week.
We just wanted to let everyone know that the new Through The Lens shirts are instock and ready to ship. They are screen printed by hand in Florida by fellow BMX riders. They are printed on American Apparel combed cotton for a unique, soft feel. They are available in small, medium, large and extra large for only $17.50 and every dollar made will go towards supporting The Union and our contributors. If you are interested in grabbing one (the first run has pretty limited quantities) then hit up the WEB STORE and make it happen. Thank you as always for your support! – Jeremy Pavia
Instagram contest: We also are running a contest to give away one of the shirts. All you need to do to be entered is to take a screen-shot of a photo from your favorite column from the past 92 weeks and briefly explain why. Also make sure to follow The Union on Instagram (@BMXunion and hashtag #TTLgiveaway while you are at it. The winner will be picked at random and will be announced at the end of next week’s TTL.
There has always been something intriguing to me about getting some behind the scenes details on a photo. I don’t know what it is about it but I just get stoked on seeing exactly how someone shot a specific photo and get a little insight into the process. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that every photographer shoots a little differently, which in turn makes each story unique in its own way. I can remember studying photos in magazines and borderline obsessing about the way that they were shot and honestly over the years not much has changed. I still find myself getting lost in photos to this day with the same level of curiosity that I had when I first started shooting. With that said, enjoy round six of WYDK.
Kevin Kiraly is one of the few pro riders out there these days that are pushing BMX in a positive direction and actually offering something unique as a rider. His technical skills on a bike come from years and years of dedication to what he does. He is one of the pickiest riders I know when it comes to spots, filming, and shooting photos but when you realize it’s because he wants to make everything look perfect it all makes sense. Kevin is a visual rider and knows what tricks should look like when they are done the right way so it’s all about finding the best trick for that specific spot which obviously could take a while. Kevin actually put out a part and won The Hunt video contest last week and came down to the premiere to celebrate and hang out so it was a perfect opportunity to catch up and find out what he’s been up to and what he has going on for the rest of this year. Enjoy.
This week’s TTL comes in the form of a review. This is the first time I’ve personally done any kind of photo equipment review and I’m honored to have the chance. The guys over at Inside Line Equipment hit up The Union looking to get a camera bag tested and reviewed and I was more than willing to check it out. The simple fact that I have shot with the same camera bag (a Lowepro Super Trekker) since around 2006 means that not only have I been using a great bag for years but it also means that I know exactly what I like and don’t like in a camera bag. I know exactly what it is that I am looking for and I know what it is that I demand as a photographer who needs gear that I can rely on. It’s simple; either I’m going to like it, or I’m not. And these guys were willing to put their bag on the line so I was willing to put it to the test. Read on to find out how the MK III photo backpack performs in the real world.
This week I am proud to present an interview with Brett Banasiewicz. If you don’t know who Brett is, stop reading this immediately and go do some research. Once you take care of that, and get out from underneath the rock you have been living under, come back to this and check it out. I have known Brett for years now and have seen him come up in the crazy BMX world and rise straight to the top. I have been lucky enough to document Brett’s riding over the years at most major contests and it’s been obvious for a long time that Brett was ahead of his time. He was one of the youngest riders in the game for a while there and was holding his own against the rest of the BMX world. He has a huge fan following and although Brett has been dealing with the recovery process after his crash in 2012 he has been taking it all in stride and has the positive mindset of a true champion. His determination will inspire you to get out there and accomplish your goals. His focus and drive to get back to where he was is motivating to say the least and he has nothing but love for BMX. Check it!
This past weekend was the last stop of the year for the Dew Tour in San Francisco, California and I decided to take a trip up and put in some work. I stopped in Santa Cruz to shoot a session with Ron Wilkerson at his favorite skatepark, I worked on an upcoming project with Drew Bezanson for Red Bull, shot a feature with Chris Doyle for ESPN, stacked some future TTL content that you will be seeing soon and also managed to shoot a little bit of the downhill street contest on Sunday before heading back home to Los Angeles. I have shot contests for so many years now that when it comes down to it, I am always looking for an excuse to do things a little differently. Everyone is on the same playing field as far as photos go and everyone is shooting the exact same thing. I decided to try and mix it up a bit and put together a few animated gifs from the contest to show something unique and it’s always rad to see them come together.
All photos: Jeremy Pavia
Drew Bezanson is a beast on a bike and can do anything he wants really. If you are not familiar with what I am talking about watch any of his newer Joyride 150 park edits and prepare to be amazed.
Today’s column is all about a single photograph that I shot a few months ago. It is crazy to think that a single photograph could have so much of a story to tell and that is one thing about the still image that will never go away. No matter how technically advanced we get as a society, even if they try to pull stills from Red Camera video and use them as “photographs” that’s fine. I’m good as long as no one ever tries to call a video still a photo because it’s not. Shooting with film has an entirely feel to it compared to digital. Although as a photographer I think in detail about every shot that I take whether it’s film or digital, I still seem to spend a little bit of extra time to compose and dial in my photo when I’m shooting film. Not only that but film just has an entirely different look to it and that is part of the reason why I love it so much. You can’t re-create the look of film with a digital camera; it’s just not the same. Sure, they have apps, and plug-ins and preset filters that try to mimic certain styles of film but at the end of the day, it’s just not the same. There is also an old legend that photographing people on film steals a piece of their soul and a little part of me, as weird as it may seem, believes that. That brings me to the story behind this photo. If you want to find out what’s going on here, keep reading.