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Portfolio Check – Tim Johnson

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Tim Johnson, Photographer, Illinoes, IL, Terry Hamilton, Ben Leikness

How old are you and when did you start skateboarding?
I am 21 years old and I started skating when around 12.

Who or what got you into skateboarding?
Hmm well that memory is a little fuzzy. I’m pretty sure it was my older cousin. I remember him doing ride on grinds off a small porch and knowing how to Ollie. That inspired me to get my own board and the rest is history I guess.

Tim Johnson, Nosebonk, Chicago, IL, Ben Leikness
Crook Bonk. Chicago, IL

What about photography? I feel like your first exposure too it could be finishing the rolls of film on you mom’s camera with funny faces and huge shits in the toilet, but then again I could be wrong.
Ha! Well yes I did use to prank my mom when she still used a film camera for family photos. She would get her film developed and there would be a few surprising frames (more often than not a turd in the toilet). But I would say that how I really got into photography was a mix of being obsessed with skateboarding and taking a black and white film class in high school. I fell in love with being able to document the people, places and skateboarding that was happening in my life. Later, this got pushed further by learning how to use location lighting and take professionally light skate pictures.

Tim Johnson, Wallie, 5-0, Grind, Skateboarder, Chicago, IL, Ben Leikness
Wallie Bs 5-0. Oak Lawn, IL

What’s your gear looking like these days?
My clothes?

Your camera gear chief.
I have an Olympus OM-1n 35mm camera and a Canon 40D digital camera with a 28-135 lens and a 10mm fisheye. I use three flashes- two vivitar 285’s and one sunpak 555.

Tim Johnson, Boardslide, Frontside, Skateboarder, Chicago, IL, Ben Leikness
Ollie over Fs Boardslide. Chicago, IL

So what is Nagasaki exactly?
Nagasaki is just a group of people who are friends and like to make things in unity. I plan on making it into a local fun board company in the near future. There are a few possible investors so the way it will work (if and when it happens.) There will be a new artist/friend that will design every graphic and there will never be the same graphic twice.

Tim Johnson, Nosegrind, Skateboarder, Chicago, IL, Terry Hamilton
Nosegrind. Evanston, IL. Photo: Terry Hamilton

Does Nagasaki have any plans of coming out with a full length video?
Yes! About a year ago we were just skating and filming and ended up just making small parts online that came out whenever they were done. But for the past year or so everyone has been filming for a DVD full lengther.

Tim Johnson, G.Smith, Poll Jam, Chicago, IL G. Smith. Jam Grind. This and the rest of the Photos by: Tim Johnson

Is that the same thing as the YEAH video?
No, but there will be a bunch of the people from the team in it.

When you roll up to a spot do you look at it like "I wanna skate this" or do you start setting up flashes?
It depends for me. Sometimes I’ll see a spot that I really want to skate and sometimes I see a really awesome photo opportunity that I can’t picture skating myself. So when I’m out with a bunch of people I’ll take them there and see what happens. Getting a trick and getting a photo are equally gratifying for me. If it is a spot that I haven’t seen or been to before I will most likely skate it first.

Tim Johnson, Jake Cook, Chicago, Skateboarder
Jake Cook. Nose bonk. Chicago, IL.

Seeing as this is your last year of college, what do you plan on doing after graduation?
I’ll most likely move away from Chicago shortly after graduation. Honestly though there is no real plan yet. I have one year left to pretend like the end will never come. When it does, I will take it from there.

Tim Johnson, Jake Cook, Chicago, Skateboarder
Cody Bear and Aric Blatner. Doubles Rock and Roll and Pivot Fakie. Chicago, IL.

What’s the official title of your degree?
BFA – bachelors of fine arts.

Are you gonna try to do something within skateboarding or get more involved with the teaching of photography and be a Mr. Lane?
I would love to continue the skate/photo thing as long as possible. I see making job opportunities within the skate industry as a good challenge for myself and I would love to continue doing what I’m doing. If I decide I want to teach photography I would probably go for teaching college. I would need to be surrounded by people who are passionate about photography if I were to work with / teach them.

Tim Johnson, Pete Clodfelter, Chicago, Skateboarder
Pete Clodfelter. Half cab flip.

Have you made any money off of photography?
Yeah…I have been taking pictures of touristy stuff downtown and selling them to doctor offices for their waiting room.

Damn that’s a pretty sweet gig. Is anyone hooking you up with skate products these days?
I ride for Yeah Boardshop in Bartlett, IL.

Tim Johnson, Steve Perdue, Chicago, Skateboarder
Steve Perdue. Ollie. Chicago, IL.

Alright Tim lets wrap it up. Who do you owe some thanks to?
Thanks to my parents, Steve Dav at Yeah, all of my friends, Naga house, Aldi, cheese biscuits and Typical Culture!

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