Before fame pulls Trevor away from our world, we wanted to talk to him aboutwhy he shoots snowboarding and what it’s all about. We tracked him down inBend, Oregon where he was on a photo shoot with 1996 Women’s Overall ChampionMichele Taggart. This is what he had to say:
Why do you shoot snowboarding?
Because it’s the most fun thing to do. I’ve done a bunch of stuff and thisis just the most fun. It’s got a lot of valleys and peaks. You can kill itand get a fresh powder day. And other times you can go out with super goodtalent and it’s just a sheet of ice. So you need the frustration to get thestokes. Of course you get to ride and that’s the biggest thing. You can rideto the jumps and the hits. You get to ride in the helicopter. Riding is bestpart of shooting snowboarding.
If you had been into skateboarding heavily would you have just shotthat?
I used to shoot a lot of skateboarding back on the East Coast. I actuallyshot that before I shot snowboarding. But I just wasn’t getting published.I wasn’t getting the stoke. When you don’t get the props you just kind oflose interest. I still shoot a lot of skateboarding but I don’t like to haveit published. It just doesn’t stoke me out. It’s kind of my thing. My secretstash.How did you get started in photography?
In college I took it as a course and did pretty well at it. I had an ideathat shooting photos was something that I wanted to do. I knew that I didn’twant a factory job. So everything I did was little steps that would helpme learn. First I worked at a four-color house for print setup. It was apretty lame job. Then the next job I took was processing film at a pro laband I got to hang out with a lot of professional photographers and I gotto process my film for free. Basically, I got money and was able to cut myexpenses by processing the film for free and then getting free advice fromprofessional shooters. Most of them were studio guys so they knew the technicalthings that they could help me with. And then I did that for whatever–fiveyears. The second phase of that I worked second shift so I could snowboardduring the day. I didn’t have to go to work until 4:30 PM. Then I’d get upearly, go shoot halfpipe at Stratton, and be back in Albany ready to workuntil 1:30 AM and process the film I just shot for free. Your learning curvegoes up so quick because the cost of the photography goes down. Plus, I knewexactly what I did wrong and I could go fix it the next day. Hooking up withJason Ford, Jeff Brushie and Todd Richards and those guys helped me a lotas well. I’d make them do jumps over and over because I’d miss the shot andthey’d always do it.
You came up on the scene with Brush, Todd, and Jason. Did they pullyou or did you boost them?
At the time it was neither. I was just lurking on the East Coast shootingfor ISM International Snowboard Magazine. I think the essence was havingBrushie win the World Championships and all of the sudden the magnifyingglass was on the East Coast, and I had what everyone wanted: pictures ofJeff Brushie. I was able to crank it out real quick and other calls cameas soon as Jason Ford started hitting the World Cup circuit and winning.Brushie was still a hot item and then Richards was the last guy on the firstwave anyway.
When were you finally able to survive on just shooting photos?
The big change came when my wife Liz got a job in-house at Morrow. And wemoved to Oregon and we stayed with Bea Morrow for six months because it waskind of hard to get going. We thought we could get a house when we movedthere but we needed two years to have Liz’s work credit count toward a loan.It was this weird crazy thing. We were able to save a lot of money and beingon the West Coast made it easier for me to get those big scenery photos thateveryone wants to look at, instead of the East Coast scrubby tree halfpipephotos that I’d been shooting.
What kind of snowboarders are your favite to shoot?
My favorites are the super-pros. Super pros are basically people who canshow up in any situation, have a good time, do the required sick tricks tomake it easier for you and them. People like Todd Schlosser, Dave Lee, TinaBasich, Shannon Dunn, Triple D Dave Downing, Jason Ford, Todd Richards,Jason Brown, Temple Cummins. There’s a bunch.
What are you trying to communicate through your photos?
The best thing I can do is give the biggest compliment to the artist in thephoto by showing how good a guy is riding. If I keep that in mind every timeI’m shooting a photo I’ll never get in trouble. If I can show how big he’sgoing, how rad his style is, then I’ve done my job. This is pretty much basedon my relationship with Jeff Brushie and Jason Ford in the beginning. AllI did was show how good they ride. At the time I was just trying to keepup and shoot straight ski photos. They were pulling the weight. It’s coolsometimes to switch it around and make the photo say more about me, but mostof the time it’s about the guys riding. Everybody is stoked on Jamie Lynn.They’re always saying look how rad he is, they’re never talking about thatpicture Trevor took. But that’s the way it should be. Then he’s the one whohas to sign all those autographs.
How do you keep art and commerce balanced in your photography?
That’s where the mental battle goes on all the time. If I’m being paid todo a shoot for a company, I ask them what they want and I’ll discipline myselfto give them the required stock photos. Once in a while someone will wantme to shoot some tripped-out stuff. Then I’m like a kid in a candy storeand I’m super stoked. I think everyone believes if they get the standardstuff they feel like they’re doing something right. But it kind of dilutesthe whole thing, too. I think if a company goes out and gets the freaky differentphoto, like the Oakley Campaign this year, they stand out and get noticed.Oakley went for the action shot, something we’re all used to seeing, butthey went at it at a different angle and it’s pretty powerful. It’s damncool. But everyone always wants to be safe because they’re thinking theyspent all this money and they feel like they have to walk away with something.They say “do the black and white later.” Okay. Then you look like everybodyelse and I guess that’s what they want anyway.
If someone gave you the Guggenheim Snowboard Photography fellowshipand fully funded you for a year what would you do?
I would want to work exclusively with a group of five or ten dudes and makeit worth their while to live with me for four or five months. And go to theresorts with those four dudes and work it, and get the epic goods every wherewe went. Then I’d publish a coffee table book and have it lifestyle snowboardingas well as the sick action stuff. I’d pick people who have a personalitythat you’re attracted to, that symbolize what snowboarding is about thesedays and not the dirty-butt, chewer, smoker guys. You know people like DaveLee, Schlosser, Jason Ford. People who are pretty cool.So you’re into helping to build snowboard heroes?
Totally. The thing is that there are no wars now or anything and kids needheroes. Everybody wants a hero. We don’t have G.I. Joe the Vietnam war heroyou know, we have Jamie Lynn and Peter Line. They’re the new heroes, at leastto the 2 million avid snowboarders. I know that feeling because I felt itas a kid too. Tony Hawk, whoa. Chris Miller, whoa. Cabellero. I was so stokedon those guys I thought they were the shit. They may have been total assholes,but that didn’t matter because I saw their pictures and they ruled. Turnsout I got lucky, they were all cool guys.If you look into your future what do you see?
I don’t know. That’s what’s cool with Stick Magazine. Marvin Jarret letsme do whatever I want. Marvin doesn’t care. Basically, he’s the guy who runsthe business and pays the printer and whatever I come up with he’s prettycool about. He’s not going to fight you or anything. There are no meetings,there’s no nothing. I just go, oh yeah, I’m going to do this and it’s done.It’s pretty basic. I kind of like being a part of the whole creative team.I can look at a whole issue rather than just one article, which is what Iusually do. With Stick I get to come up with creative ideas for the wholeissue and then collaborate with friends and peers and they all say let’sdo it and poof it’s done. Then you’re stoking them out. You get to see thewhole product rather than just one part of it. Input on the artwork, who’sgetting what, and all that stuff. It kind of feels cool. The other directionI’d like to go would be bigger commercial shoots. I’m doing bigger stuffnow, so are most of the guys in the industry. It’s not so much for the money,but just to see if you can actually pull it off and see what all the hypeis about. I’d love to do a Chevy shoot and then be able to say, yeah I didChevy but shooting snowboarding is way more fun. That’s pretty much beenmy realization to this point, snowboarding is way more fun.me up with he’s prettycool about. He’s not going to fight you or anything. There are no meetings,there’s no nothing. I just go, oh yeah, I’m going to do this and it’s done.It’s pretty basic. I kind of like being a part of the whole creative team.I can look at a whole issue rather than just one article, which is what Iusually do. With Stick I get to come up with creative ideas for the wholeissue and then collaborate with friends and peers and they all say let’sdo it and poof it’s done. Then you’re stoking them out. You get to see thewhole product rather than just one part of it. Input on the artwork, who’sgetting what, and all that stuff. It kind of feels cool. The other directionI’d like to go would be bigger commercial shoots. I’m doing bigger stuffnow, so are most of the guys in the industry. It’s not so much for the money,but just to see if you can actually pull it off and see what all the hypeis about. I’d love to do a Chevy shoot and then be able to say, yeah I didChevy but shooting snowboarding is way more fun. That’s pretty much beenmy realization to this point, snowboarding is way more fun.