This is my friend and coworker Kody Noble. Last Friday night, Kody and I went on a photo mission. We went to a few spots that we already knew about; a few from magazines, a few from videos we’ve seen (living in West Los Angeles these are literally around every corner) and continued to get kicked out or find the spot presently unskateable. We should have been stressed but Kody brings a different perspective to the table. My experience with him has shown him to be a skateboarder to the depths of his soul. He enjoys all aspects of it including the mild frustration we were presently experiencing. Driving up a random street in El Segundo after another let down, I look to my right and see Kody was smiling, pure optimism.
Suddenly he yelled “Stop!” I saw a bus bench just sitting on the side of the road. Nothing too special in my mind but it’s the best thing we came across all night. We got out and proceeded to set up. He waxed the bench and I set up my flash. We were experiencing freedom. I set up the shot however i felt and he skated bench with his own artistic interpretation. I saw his personality spill out of him as he warms up, determination combined with positivity paint the bench a new shade.
The bench was shaped oddly and had a lip at the very end, making his trick of choice for the spot, a backside lipslide, especially challenging. 10 tries later and Kody was still working. Kody moved from New Mexico to LA to follow his dream of being a pro skater, one he actually fulfilled, only in the “wrong” genre of the activity. Kody enjoys every aspect of skating, including downhill, which in the street centric mindset of the present skate culture means many major companies negate his talent. Fortunately, Kody linked up with the people at Arbor Skateboards, Divine Wheels, and Paris trucks who realize his potential to permanently alter the direction of the activity. He is one of the few people who can bomb a hill at 60 miles and hour, amaze the local kids at a mini ramp session, and get props from top professional street skaters at a popular ledge spot all in the same day.
A few tries later, Kody stuck the slide and I scored this shot. The image happened to turn out as a visual metaphor for the evening we had. Our mission for photos was in other words, a mission to find our own brand of freedom of expression. Kody, with skating and myself, with photography. The concluding image and trick represent the ending of our search to which I learned the power of optimism, ever-present while skating with Kody. The learning of a lesson is internal growth at its most powerful, represented by Kody’s proportionally magnified shadow on the wall. Right after we started the car to leave, we saw an El Segundo police car drive by (the enemy while skating street), another sign that our session really was meant to be.