Jerry Hsu – is undoubtedly one of the most talented skaters of all time. His abilities as a tech skater, with every kind of flip trick you could imagine were demonstrated early in his career. His fearless ability to tackle some of the scariest spots was demonstrated in his “Bag Of Suck” part, with seven and a half minutes of non-stop destruction. And his dedication to filming his “Stay Gold” part nearly entirely in switch is a testament to the lengths he has gone as a professional. Besides all this Jerry has been a great photographer alongside his pro career for a number of years and has published some of his work and displayed it in exhibitions. His work is very raw and almost like the work of war correspondents: he is very involved with the situation and manages to depict what he is capturing in an honest way. A lot of his work is also pretty tongue in cheek and his blog “N A Z I G O L D” will show you that. In his interview with Vice Magazine, he discussed skateboarding and his photography, including some of the books he’s released and shows that he’s done:
Tell me about your zine, Our Moment Together?
It’s photos I took of kids taking photos of me with their cellphone cameras. That’s what kids do now; they just stick phones in your face. So I decided to start taking photos of it and I had lots of them so I made a whole ‘zine out of it. They’re pretty funny because it’s not just the kid with the cell phone covering his face but it’s their friends in the background and they’re pointing at you and smiling. It’s a weird thing that happens. What you don’t see is that these kids are taking photos of their friends with me, so there’s this nervous kid’s hands on me as I’m trying to take a photo, which is kind of funny.
Tell me about The Killing Season photo book from your Vietnam trip.
That trip was fucked, but in the best way imaginable. It happened in February 2012 and it was a Jonathan Mehring trip. His whole thing is to do wild shit and throw skating into a situation where it doesn’t belong. I couldn’t go on his last trip to the Amazon because I just read a book about how they have fish that jump into your pee hole and they have to chop off your dick when that happens. Luckily no one’s dick got chopped of on that trip, thank goodness. I was like, “I’ll go on the next one,” and the next one happened to be this Vietnam one where the idea was to fly into Hanoi in the north and we all buy motorcycles and drive those motorcycles 1100 miles to Saigon, skating stuff along the way. Then we would sell the motorcycles when we got to Saigon and fly home. I said, “I can’t do that. That sounds insane.” But he kept calling me about it and eventually I went because I knew no one would ever invite me on a trip like that again and I could probably get some really cool photos. The funny part was I wasn’t very good at riding a motorcycle. I learned to ride one before, but you kind of want to have some actual road experience before you go to a country with absolutely no rules. It was like Mad Max on the roads and on the freeways. It was the most scared I had ever been in my life. I really thought I was going to die all the time. The reason the book is called The Killing Season is because it was during the Asian New Year and everybody was riding around wasted. We couldn’t have picked a more dangerous time to do it.
Jerry’s ability to make social commentaries with his photos, whether from his encounters with overly-brave young fans, or his photos while travelling the world (like the barbecued dogs) displays a witty intelligence that matches the honesty of his work.