Nikwen loves telling this one so if you know the guy you’ll probably have already heard it, but I guess it had to be printed at some point. The first photo Nikwen ever managed to get published in a skate magazine was THRASHER. Not a bad way to start a career… He’s always been good friends with Bastien Salabanzi and around the time when he was filming for “Really Sorry" Nikwen went to Barca with him. It was when Nikwen first started shooting photos. Bastien was working on a big Thrasher interview with Antton Miettinen who was kind enough to let our boy shoot some second angles to practice. Everyone was using film back then and by some “miracle" when Anton tried to get it developed the people that were doing it completely fucked it up. Next thing you know Bastien’s got Nikwen on the phone asking if he still has that shot of him back 180ing down a twenty stair. One thing leads to another, the photo gets printed in Thrasher; everyone's impressed and before you know it he's the French staff photographer for our beloved magazine! BOOOM. –Arthur Derrien
I’ve known Sam for about eight years now, but surprisingly I don’t know too much about how he started shooting skate photos. I tried asking him about it, but being the humble guy that he is he seemed too embarrassed to talk about it. So after a lot of prodding by yours truly, he kindly pointed me to an online interview that Deaf Lens had done with him. There I learned that Sam went to Uni to be a photojournalist in Sheffield. By the end of his course he decided he’d rather just shoot skate photos. That was way back in the late-nineties and Smasher has been shooting peeps in the streets ever since. Sam takes pride in what he does and it shows in his attention to detail and framing of his pictures. After 15+ years he’s still not afraid to lie in the gutter in the middle of January to get that perfect shot. No Ches Mat 3000™ for Sam.
Senior Kingpin Photographer, Photo Editor, DJ and pint destroyer are just a few of the many hats that Sam dons. It’s been a real pleasure having Sam work beside me here at Kingpin, not just because of his photo expertise but because he’s such a good friend. Ok, enough with the brown-nosing… Let’s let Sam’s pictures do the talking. That’s what he’d prefer! –Will Harmon
Sem Rubio is one of those photographers where you will remember his name real fast. You see a couple of his pictures and soon enough you will not have to look out for the credits anymore, you will know it’s a Sem photo. This does not happen to many. Talent is bursting out of this man but if you meet him you will notice his calm demeanour and focus. Sem is on a mission and I can never wait for his next photos. And now instead of kissing his arse for two more paragraphs or to pretend I am a photo critique journalist, I will tell you a couple stories which when I think of them, I wonder how come Sem is even still ok to speak with me.
One of the first tours Sem did with an international team was with the Antiz guys to Andalusia, Spain. He came with us to shoot the pics but also because he was skating for Antiz. Sem actually called Jamie to quit Zero and skate for Antiz. He was part of the OG team of just three guys. For this tour Sem had that recurrent ankle bothering him so he did not skate so much but when he did it was always a treat as he just skates so damn good and pops his tricks so high.
On the last day, we played a game of skate in Seville. I did a cab 5 cm high followed by Sem doing a metre high cab (no kidding, Sem had the best pop in Spain back then) only ending with a split and therefore a torn ACL. I felt so bad. He powered back to Barcelona driving himself (1000 km) in the van that night and as it turns out never got proper medical attention on that knee. What a bummer.
One of the other times I called him up, I was with Oli Buergin on a Sole Tech tour and we happened to have Tom Penny with us. I called Sem so he could join us to possibly shoot a pic in Girona, a town near to his home. He showed up at that pyramid spot and after five minutes went back to his car only to find his door jammed and his photo bag missing. There was a lot of stuff in there and I felt like I shouldn’t have called Sem that day. Second bummer.
I also killed his fisheye one time trying a trick.
So I guess you could say Sem is a pretty forgiving person and does not hold many grudges as we still stay in touch. Sem, you’re the man. This is only the beginning…