Aika Collective Photo Show

Before Aika Collective‘s first ever skate photo opening last night in Long Beach, Alex Schmidt had a chat with three of the 20 photographers who showed their work: Leo Romero, John Bradford and Anthony Acosta …


State your full name
Leonardo Romero

How long have you been playing music?
10 years

What’s your favorite instrument?
All of my guitars

Do you find it easier to get gigs considering you’re a professional skateboarder?
In some cases it’s easier. But for the most part it’s the same as any other band.

I know Jim Morrison couldn’t face the crowd when The Doors first starting performing live, do you get nervy at all also?

I know Josh Harmony is a pretty rad musician, ever considered him to join your band?
I’d love for him to play some songs with us but is don’t think he’d like to play with us.

Who are some of your biggest influences music-wise?
Bob Dylan, Bukka White, America roots music, traditional music, the Velvet Underground, Marc Bolan, blues, country music, Paul Simon, Spaceman 3, Folk music, Gospel music, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, John Fahey & the list goes on & on.

What do you think about writing a song about Ed Templeton?
Words can’t express how awesome & fat Ed is.

Is it true you considered naming your band fat and wack?
Yes but it was taken already.

What’s next for Leo Romero?
Toy Machine video, put out some interviews, play more shows, put out a full album. Skate and play music and skate!!


State your full name
John Benton Bradford

How long have you been taking photographs?
I feel old answering this but for over 20 years now…

When you leave your house everyday,  do you always have a go to camera with you?
Yes, always.

If so, what is it?
Canon AE1… and an iPhone if that counts.

What other types of photography are you interested in besides shooting skateboarding?
I have a studio, and in there I shoot everything from fashion to skateboarding to products to portraits… I always enjoy shooting film, if that’s a “type” of photography…

What have you been up to lately with work since the devastating news of Skateboarder mag going under?
Just keeping busy, that’s all you can really do when something like that happens. I’ve been building my studio, making it a one-stop shop for anyone needing photos for anything, as well as a place for the community to come together like with the Aika show. My wife and I just had our baby son so that’s taken up a lot of time… And I’m still out in the streets shooting as well, traveling and skating. I feel like there’s opportunity in every change, so while Skateboarder’s fate was sad, it offered a chance to grow in many different ways.

Ever considered trying to start your own magazine?
Ha, no magazine is a one-man show … but I’d love to be involved in something new if it presented itself. I feel like Skateboarder did leave a void when it closed its doors. Maybe it’s time for something new and different …

You still have a darkroom in LBC?
Sadly no, Its a long term goal with my photo studio to build a darkroom at some point, but for now my hands are clean and chem free… which is probably good for my newborn son! I’d love to get one going at some point though. For now when I want to print something I call up Ed and see if there’s time available in his…

What other photographers get you stoked to shoot?
That list is pretty long. Anyone who makes a good image. HCB, to DH Sturt, to Micheal Kenna. There was a dream team staff of Skateboarder while I was coming up that was always inspirational… Barton, O’Meally, Gaberman and Colen were the ones I was looking up to. Oh and lately my friend Doug’s instagram: @dltxii

Whats next for John Bradford?


State your full name
Anthony Acosta Jr

How long have you been taking photographs?
I’ve been shooting photos for a little under 10 years now.

Do you always carry a camera with you just in case a photo opportunity presents itself?
I try and always have some sort of image capturing device with me. But sometimes I will purposely not bring a camera with me to make sure I still enjoy certain times, especially with my family. It’s easy for me to get distracted taking photos instead of participating in whatever we are doing. With skateboarding too, it’s easy to not skate on the session and just be the guy with the camera snapping away. I have to remind myself to put my camera down from time to time and pick my board up and actually ride the thing!

What’s your go-to camera?
The camera’s that I usually have with my is my Leica M6, or my Sony RX1R. Love both of ’em.

Could you pick a favorite type a photography you’re interested in besides skateboarding?
Besides skateboarding, I really love shooting friends and family. I love capturing moments that we could look back on and laugh. I always really enjoy shooting portraits. I really need to get back to work on that!

Is there any skateboarders or people you loved hanging out with knowing you’re going to get a sweet image from your days adventure with them?
I really like shooting all the new up and coming dudes on the scene. It was rad to be able to watch dudes like Gilbert Crockett and Elijah Berle mature into the skaters they are now and being able to photograph that is really interesting to me. It’s cool looking back and seeing them when they first started out on the scene.

Would you say shooting skateboarding 10 years ago compared to now has changed for the better?
I think it’s better now then ever to start shooting skateboarding! It’s much easier to photograph skateboarding now. With affordable digital cameras easily available, and millions of skaters and skateparks. It is much more available to shoot and to learn quickly. Ten years ago people still shot mostly film. Hasselblad was the skate photographer standard. That was my first camera and learning on that was not cheap or easy.

Film or digital?
Digital is more convenient for skateboarding and all it’s variables. It’s good for you and the skater to know you nailed the shot right away. But I love shooting film! I love the medium and hope to one day get my darkroom going and make some prints!

Any photographers out there worth mentioning that get you stoked to shoot?
I love Daniel Harold Sturt’s photographs! I love Grant Brittain’s work, Skin is amazing. Jon Humphries … Seu Trinh … Gaberman is the so good!

What’s next for you?
I am working on getting my website updated … I’ve been lagging hard on that. Also working on a Van’s video book with Greg Hunt that is exciting! Hopefully get on some rad trips and just try and capture some moments to share.

Photos by Paige & Vanessa Amador

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