Christmas has gone and the Monday that is nicknamed the “saddest day of the year” has just passed. Summer seems further away than ever as the rain spits down onto the cold streets, so we started dreaming. HEKKTA loves a good skateboard, so when we stumbled upon these fantastic shots of skaters in 1970s California, we knew we had found our perfect escape. When you look at the pictures, you are immediately transported to the west coast of America basking in the sun, hearing the surf guitars rolling in from The Beach Boys playlists. It is as if you have been planted slap bang in the middle of Linklater’s cult classic Dazed And Confused and we commend Hugh Holland for this collection of photographic brilliance.
Holland’s photography was not a product of external education in his field. It was more of an interest or a hobby for most of his life, but when he came to West Hollywood in 1968 as an antique finisher, that was when he took his photography more seriously. He is an honest photographer; he shoots what he sees and in 1970s California, what he saw was a growing skateboard scene. He managed to capture it before it became commercial worldwide and that meant he shot the skateboarders naturally, doing what they would do everyday around California.
Holland’s Angels series was first shown at M+B in early 2006. Following the success of the show, the work was shown internationally in London, Paris and New York, with upcoming exhibitions in Sydney and the Pera Museum is Istanbul. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, npr, and the Los Angeles Times.
In 2010, the artist’s monograph Locals Only by AMMO Books was published, documenting his work during that golden age of skate culture.
A sign of a brilliant photographer is their ability capture the spirit of a place and to make you feel part of the pictures, transporting you there. Hugh Holland is a natural at this and we can’t help dreaming of bathing in the Californian sun while the skaters whip by in nothing but board shorts and knee pads. A truly brilliant set of shots.