All photos by Jonathan Mehring, from his book, Skate the World.
Jonathan Mehring just made history by becoming the first photographer to publish a skateboarding photo book, Skate the World: Photographing One World of Skateboarding, through National Geographic.
How the hell did he swing that? Well, it took a long time, but he did it, and it’s inspiring as hell. The book takes you on a global tour of skate spots in 30 countries, with some of the best professional skateboarders in the biz. We swallowed our envy and asked the man of the hour a couple of questions about some of the most jaw-dropping photos in the book, which you can—and should—buy here.
Where is the best place to skate in the world?
Well that depends who you ask. As far as spots go, I’d say Spain and China are still pretty much the best.
What is the best photo in this book?
Haha, damn. That’s impossible for me to answer. The cover? How’s that? There are so many that speak to me in different ways, that makes me feel strongly about them, so really it’s up to the viewer. There are a lot of my best photos in there, but choosing one is highly subjective.
What place is missing from this book that you wish you had taken a photo in?
Oh man, a lot. I would have loved it if every country in the world had one photo. That would have amazing, but probably not realistic. I do wish Central America had something. England isn’t in there at all, which is crazy, and some other European countries with massive skate scenes are not represented. Some in each continent, really.
What is your favorite tale of skateboarding bringing people together?
I don’t know that there is one specific experience. I love that we can just travel somewhere and see someone with a board and automatically have something to talk about. It’s been amazing to meet up with locals in most locations I’ve been to and to experience their cultures and customs through their realities.
Is this National Geographic’s first skate photo book? If so, how’d you manage that?
Yes it is. “You don’t find them, they find you”, I heard one of their photographers say once. Basically I was doing a lot of traveling with skateboarders and randomly met up with one of NG’s book editors who thought there was potential for a future project. It took several years to happen but it finally paid off.