July 7, 2009

Acid Drop

I picked this book up, in Venice, yesterday. Acid Drop by Kenneth Cappello, visually documents one Houston, Texas-raised kid's journey through the everyday life of being a skater in the mid 80s. It took all of two page glances to know it had to come home with me. I looked through the book a good three or four times, getting completely lost in the images, before reading the forward by Aaron Rose. The forward got me thinking, and a realization set in. I'm not drawn to images such as these because of the nostalgia associated with the fashion, the boards, the graphics, or to remember me busting those same tricks. To be honest, I always sucked at skating. The thing that drew me to these images was the blatant and unobstructed sense of innocence and optimism so effortlessly captured.

There have been countless photo shoots where it is the photographer's vision and goal to capture "youth". They plan, cast and light the images to be the perfect representation of adolescence. They do all this, only to have the images fall flat and turn into mere contrived evidence of getting older. The photographer goes home, head hung low with a heavy realization... he should've picked up photography earlier in life.

The pictures in Acid Drop weren't taken with the top of the line camera by an art school-trained photographer. There were no lights or reflectors on set, and judging by the '84 Tony Hawk-esque doos,
it remains pretty damn obvious that the hair department wasn't there. The pictures were taken by a kid. A kid with zero hopes of doing anything but documenting his friends getting rad. He was simply taking pictures of tricks to brag about at school and to be thrown into clear plastic sleeves of trapper-keepers, nothing more.

I dare you to look at these images without conjuring up snapshots of your own youth. You and your friends, skating, riding bikes, building forts, being kids. These pictures don't just provide a trip down memory lane, but more importantly, offer up a rare glimpse into the true meaning of being carefree and the comforting thought that youth, is in fact, a state of mind. Even if your childhood is as faded as some of these images, find solace in the thought that when it was your turn, you went harder, faster and bigger than you would today, and tucked away in shoe boxes and in cheap photo albums at your parent's house, you too probably have the pictures to prove it.