"Respect Your Roots" is a short film from Adidas Skateboarding taking a retrospective look at the life of iconic skate photographer, Skin Phillips. Here, we see the humble beginnings as the man takes a trip to his Swansea home where it all began. Skin's mum, Beryl talks about her son's first foray into image making at 14 as he shows us his first make shift "dark room" in his downstairs toilet. It's safe to say that most creatives start off in some sort of ramshackle way, creating space in the garage, shed, bathroom, wherever, just to make it happen. It's pretty encouraging knowing what he went on to achieve.
Phillips progressed from surf photography, becoming a mainstay in the tiny Swansea skate scene, setting his sights on California. This piece is inspiring as it shows the dedication and belief a kid from a small coastal town (supposedly a city) had to advance to the next level. He would become Editor in Chief at Transworld and later, team manager for the Adidas skate team. As Skin's childhood friend says, "...you don't get a job like that by applying. You have to create that. You have to turn yourself into that." Perhaps more of us can take heed of that. We can create new lanes for ourselves. If we do what we love with passion and whole-heartedness, those opportunities will come.
The social media generation has evidenced that in recent times, with the phenom that is the "influencer". Ridiculous job title. Will that bubble eventually burst? Probably, yes. So we should look for longevity in pushing our creative skill sets. Skin is the perfect example of that. Thirty years in the game and still doing what he loves. As Marc Johnson says, at a time where there was no incentive. The result of this, an exhibition of works and a signature shoe with Adidas. Pretty epic having that legacy distilled into a physical product. Work hard, earn respect and know where you're from. Press play and enjoy the clip. Cheers for reading.