Skaters around the world always love to document their tricks and adventures in the streets with cameras. And when we think of skate videos and photos, we inevitably think of super wide-angle shots. Fisheye cameras have become the subculture's designated aesthetic. That's why we've recently equipped our friend, photographer, filmmaker and skater Koz with our good-old Lomography Fisheye camera as well as the brand-new NAIAD 15 mm Neptune System Front Lens and sent him off to one of New York's skate park.
Hi Koz, welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a freelance photographer, filmmaker, and artist in Astoria, Queens. I’ve been a skateboarder for about 30 years now. The last two decades I’ve spent shooting photos and editing videos of mostly skateboarding, which ultimately led to other amazing things, like working in the TV industry here in New York City. I’ve recently teamed up with my close friend and mentor Jeff Fisher and started a production company called Silvertuna Studios. I'm primarily focusing on the arts in NYC, as well as staying true to my roots shooting my friends who can still put it down on a skateboard.
You recently shot our 35 mm Fisheye camera as well as the NAIAD lens for the Neptune Convertible Art lens system. What do you particularly like about super wide angle lenses?
There are lots of things I really liked about the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System. First, I love how compact and lightweight it is, a major plus when you have your camera rig/scorpion set up to chase people on a skateboard. The lens hood of the NAIAD lens is awesome too because it kind of protects the lens a touch, and with the slots for the filters this will be the first time I get to get really artistic with the look and feel of the shots. I could go on about this lens, how majestic it looks when it’s shot from down low, how sharp it is, how compact it is. As a skateboarder and videographer, I would highly recommend the NAIAD as your main fisheye to film and shoot photos of skateboarding.
You took them to a skatepark in New York City and the results came out great. There’s something about the skating and wide angle that never gets old, why do you think they work together so well?
It was great getting to test them out with my friends at Astoria skatepark. I shoot a lot of skateboarding and I must say I always prefer to be up close with a fisheye. A little dangerous sometimes, but the look makes you feel like you’re right there doing the trick. The fisheye makes it easy to capture the skaters entire body from up close so you don’t cut them or the board out of the frame. I think that’s why it’s so timeless and skaters go back to the Sony vx1000, Canon Gl2 with the super fisheye and such to film. It has an unmistakable look-and-feel to it.
What’s the skate scene like in New York these days?
The skate scene in New York is as big as I’ve ever seen it. Skateparks are abundant in the city and surrounding areas which is nothing like it used to be, now there’s plenty of places to go to hang and skate if you don’t feel like shredding the gritty streets of NY. This place is filled with amazing street spots really, you just have to look. Now with the internet, it’s making it super easy to find them. Some of these kids now are unbelievable. I always loved this community, lots of amazing skateboarders here.
What did you shoot the NAIAD lens with and what was your first impression of working with it?
I shot the NAIAD on my Canon 5D Mark II and my first impression was that I didn’t want to take it off my camera once I saw what the footage looked like. Seriously, it’s so much fun to play with and I’m beyond stoked on the results! I'm really hyped in the size of it and the weight.
Any cool plans ahead you want to tell us about?
First, I want to really get my production company off the ground and get my docu-series out this coming year. It’s a 6 part mini-series called the blackbook diaries, a docu-style series featuring the most prolific and elusive graffiti artists of all time. I’d also like to make a couple full-length movies at some point. Basically, I just want to keep learning and growing as a filmmaker, photographer, and artist. Hopefully, the new year brings some crazy fun new opportunities! Finally, a big thanks to the @Lomographynyc team for everything!