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Hot! BRIAN WOODWARD: OFFICIALLY DOWN

Check the limited edition tees and read about the photographer who shot them.

When did you first start coming to New York City? What brought you here?
I grew up in Jersey, so I was always coming into the city with family and school trips to do the basic things like; go see the tree, go to a Broadway show, the museums, etc. I probably started coming in alone or with friends when I was a freshman in high school. All we did was hop on the train and in an hour, we were in the middle of it all. Those trips were not for the museums, they were to get lost in the city and get into trouble.

What keeps you coming back?
Well, my paycheck keeps me coming back, for sure, but the train is too expensive now and its going up in May. Fuck NJ Transit! Besides my job, the city is where everything is happening. I love living in Jersey. Where I am from has everything I need, but I continue to come to NYC for the experience.

Try and sum up New York City in a few words.
Out of fucking control…. And smelly.

What media do you normally work in?
I started shooting photos before digital cameras came about, so I have always been more comfortable using film and working in a dark room. Film is still my preferred medium to use, but don’t get me wrong, I still have the digital gear for shooting editorial, shows, and any freelance gigs I may come across. Back in college, I started using a 5×7 camera with the Polaroid Type 55 along with it and have since been exploring instant films.

How did you get into shooting photos? What/Who were your early influences and inspiration?
I guess I picked up a camera just to have some sort of documentation to what was going on in my life, as a lot of kids do. I would take it with me surfing or skating, but never got too into shooting extreme sports because the cost of getting the gear was so much money. I started to take photography more seriously when I got into music and started taking my camera to shows in NYC, NJ, and Philly. At that time I think mostly Rock-n-Roll photographers were my main source of influence. I was raised listening to Bruce and The Stones, so I would always see photos of them. Anyone who shot The Stones and could keep up with them, I was floored by. Awhile back I had a chance to work for Bob Gruen, a rock photographer who shot everyone from Blondie to The Sex Pistols. I didn’t do anything crazy, I was mostly just filing prints and scanning negatives, but just seeing his catalog of prints blew me away. I still cherish the times I got to listen to stories of what was going on when he was on tour with those bands. Not many people could hang with those musicians and actually get a job done!

What inspires you now?
I think the same things still inspire me. I think most of my favorite photographers, I have found out about because they shot music. The people that I surround myself with have opened me up to so much more than I knew about. Daily living also plays into a lot that inspires me. I live in Jersey, work in New York City. I am never in one spot for too long, so I am constantly seeing different types of people, cultures and over all attitudes.

When did you first start skateboarding? Do you remember your first board?
Well, if you want to get technical about it, I got my first skateboard when I was probably in 4th grade. It was a Nash, it was flat as hell it had clear red wheels, and I had no idea what to do with it. I think I really started skating (or what I thought was skating) around freshman year of high school, maybe. I was never any good, never took it seriously, it was just something to fool around with when I had nothing to do. I was more into the culture and lifestyle that came along with skateboarding.

What got you into skating? Early influences?
Body Boarding, surfing and the beach got me into skateboarding. Living by the beach in Jersey there is never consistent waves. And when there were big waves, I would be on the beach shooting because I could never handle the big swells. That shit is scary! It was always friends that influenced me, the ones that taught me, well, tried to teach me how to surf. They still inspire me to this day. Skating, surfing, all those things… I never tried them out to progress to be the best, it was just to keep me busy. Keep me from partying too early on.

What designers in the skateboard world are doing it right?
Everyone at Zoo, that has come and gone, I have been looking up to. I mean, of course, The Gonz, but also The Quiet Life crew, Ben Horton blows my mind along with everyone involved in the RVCA Artist Network Program. I really enjoy mixed media art. Using your hands and getting dirty is always something I enjoy.

What did you just design for ZOO YORK?
Zoo came to me to do a special capsule of NYC photo t-shirts for PacSun. I am always out constantly shooting the city so I dug in my archives and picked a pile of shots. After narrowing it down we came up with a few strong styles that worked. I have also shot photos for past Deck series and some shirt graphics here and there.

What else do you do with your free time?
Recently I have gotten into producing home made wine with a collective of friends. We do everything from get the grapes shipped from Napa, to pressing the grapes, to tasting, to bottling it right out of a friends garage. My first barrel is almost ready to be bottled and enjoyed. I plan on doing this many times over. We are also getting into making home made whiskey. I think that is when the trouble will start.

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