208 pages - hardback - Half Acre Publishing 2014
When I heard that Jody Morris was releasing a book of his skate photography, visions of the Red Dragons immediately came to mind. His photos captured one of my favourite eras in skating, and this book brings back memories of flicking through skate mags with my mates. Jody was one of the key documenters of the Canadian scene, before joining World Industries as their in-house photographer and then going on to become a senior photographer at Transworld. That’s a pretty impressive CV.
Seeing a personal selection of Jody’s work together for the first time is a special moment. Aside from the obvious technical and creative prowess on display here – the images really are something special – it’s the subject matter that really makes this book an essential purchase. There are enough of the more popular names of the ‘90s in there, but I really liked seeing the more personal shots of local homegrown rippers alongside the well-knowns. Semi-mythical characters, such as Sam Devlin, Jeppe Hanson or Syd Clark, show up in photos of the Vancouver locals and there’s plenty of better-known ‘90s rippers such as Moses Itkonen and Rick McCrank in there as well. It’s probably no surprise, but if you want shots of Colin McKay and Alex Chalmers in their prime, you’re well-covered as well.
As you flick through the book, it’s easy to see where Morris had spread his wings a bit, moving beyond the borders of Canada and heading southwards to California. Skaters such as Pat Duffy, Arto Saari and others start showing up in shots that were already engrained in my memory. Jason Dill vaulting railway lines, in front of giant satellite dishes? Check. Jonas Wray, Ollieing on the salt flats of the Mojave Desert? Check. It’s always nice to see forgotten classics, such as Markovich’s Ollie over the snake run at Rom Skatepark or Guy Mariano’s Fakie Nosegrind down the Hewlett Packard rail in LA, but it’s also great to see the previously unseen images here as well. It’s a personal thing perhaps, but the addition of a photo key with all the names and locations at the end of the book pleases me immensely… I’ve got too many photography books without the all-important captions and info.
At 208 pages long and with mostly full-page images throughout, “20 Plus: Photography by Jody Morris” definitely deserves some space on your coffee table.