I first got to know Rome when he was part of a Goldy crew visiting with my good friend Saul Bell. We travelled down to hit the Pothole and then back up for the 2007 Belco Bowl Jam. Everyone stayed in my one bedroom duplex at the time. 5 dudes to one couch - classic. Rome and I immediately bonded having a common interest in photography. Rome was a bit ahead of me in that regard, already onto DSLR's. I had an average shot that mirrored his epic one on his blog (nothing else mattress) of our friend Shauny Eaton sessing high into a frontside thruster in the Pothole's gaping mouth. Inspired, I graduated to a Digital SLR a year later in 2008.
Shortly after that I collaborated 12 artists for my first major exhibition called Vagabondage. Rome submitted four images of Australian skaters shredding spots in the Canberra Region including Aaron Nannup, Kristen Famularo, Marty Girotto and Jeremy Corea.
I learnt a fair bit about the challenges of Australian skateboard photography from Rome. I admired his work, but most of all loved his sense of humour.
One of my first (and only) decent published interviews was in Slam on Reece Warren and I was privileged that Rome shot the other photos to finish off what I couldn't.
Later in 2010, I asked Rome to join an exhibition series that I was a part of running called 'Don't Push Mong.' Rome submitted a bunch of rad canvasses without question. This included shots of Australian skaters Chad Bartie, Jimmy Roche, Jon Lorcan, Mark Rowe and Pat Dandy.
To me, Rome's heavy diagnosis only seemed to make his determination stronger. His photos of 'street mattresses' always made me laugh. One time I was dumping some house rubble at the local Canberra recycling centre and I came across the biggest pile of street mattresses I ever saw, I snapped it straight away to share it with him.
Rome contributed a bunch to Half Arsed magazine, always sending me shots to check out. I was so stoked with his input. *e.g. see Jack Fardell interview in Issue 4:
Rome's battle was an inspiration. The amount of funds people donated was testament to that. I only hope that if I'm ever challenged with such adversity that I can face it with the honour, courage and dignity that Rome did. The tireless support his wife provided was also massively admirable.
Cheers with a Cooper's Pale Ale bro. You are, and will always be, a huge inspiration.
Roll on brother.
Our thoughts are with his wife Rachel, son Ryder and the rest of his family.
Belco, Kambah, Bar Beach, Pizzey, Hunt Park and the legendary Beechmont all destroyed.
Featuring Creature team riders: Darren Navarrette, Willis Kimbel, Al Partenen, Chris Russell and friends: Josh Borden and Bugs Fardell. Filmed by DAF Noah
Cameron Markin and friends have a sick story up over here of their 'Portside' DIY project in an old Post Office building on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Big ups!
NB: This may look like two frontside airs, however... Dylan Jeffrey (directly below) completes a pop tart while Nathan 'PeeRat' Taylor is hucking in off a frontside wallride (bottom shot).
On this day two years ago we sadly lost a friend. Todd Webster was an influential Australian skateboarder, significantly in Canberra where I knew him most, and where a large chunk of his earlier years were spent. I really only found out truly about how much Todd shredded on a skateboard when I had the honour of collating all the photos of him to show at his wake. What a legend.
Those of us who had the privilege to hang with Todd would know his cheeky sense of humour. He was a hilarious bastard, always making me laugh. His flourish of tattoos is a great example of that. Who would get a beautiful naked lady with groucho marks spectacles and a fat nose and moustache on their forearm? I didn't necessarily think of Todd as the most overtly good looking dude, but he somehow managed to charm the most beautiful ladies. I remember he came back from a trip one time with a photo of actress Rose Byrne and him. His response when I asked how he managed to achieve that was, "Just talked to her, easy mate!" And he added some other quip that made me laugh which I can't remember.
I never really thought of Todd being an 'artist' per se, but when I look back I remember so many rad projects that Todd got up to and I realise he was massively creative in everything he took his hand to. This was something I learnt more about when we gathered info to put in an application for a plaque to be installed for him at the perimeter of Belco bowl. What he achieved was admirable.
My love of photos were partly inspired from Todd. He had a new digi-camera which he brought down to the pub one day, and to my horror 'accidentally' dropped it in a beer! Then to my astonishment, he promptly began taking photos with it. It was one of the first waterproof ones. A little later we used to see who could get the best light-stream photos using slow flash sync speeds with the developing technology that you could fit in your pocket. Awesome times.
I've been thinking a lot more these days about our Aussie male tendency to 'neck up,' and to not talk about having troubles. Todd used to also love saying it - "Neck up ya parrot!"
I can’t help but think about what difficulties he might have been having that he couldn’t talk about. That’s something we’ll never know.
There’s a little project that Todd had shared that our friend Claire Sutton aka ‘Custards McSeedly’ has taken up. It’s about ‘Australian Scrawl.’ Todd wanted to collect photos of the hilarious dribble that’s carved into the backs of toilet doors and sketchy spots and put them together into a book. One of the most classic photos that's seen of Todd is something of that nature.
Check it out and if you’re interested, send in some photos:
I'll give ya Mates Rates for a dodgey Marulan, to car breakdown tow home, Belco shred below zero.
FEAT: Howard Palmer, Cam Stanley, Pee Rat, Kirill, Big Rig, Pup, Erik Cole,
Luke, Edwin Flynn, Andy Wright, Tully Moorecroft.
Filmed and edited by Vagabond. A Half Arsed Production
Pinched from the 4 skateboards website...
Morgan Campbell was in Canberra recently, interviewing and filming the hype around the "Belcopalooza" that is being held in October 2013 at Canberra's epic Belco skatepark. Here's a pic is of Morgs with Dad Cam crew.
The infamous Tortoise Pool in WA is now gone after an amazing number of years. This frontside blunt pic from Skateboard Mag of Harry Clark is killa.
This photo was shot on 22 of July 2011 when the Belco upgrade had just opened. This never got used, but it's a pic of Woody smashing a smithgrind on the new parking block which is a sick feature at Belco.
I like it because his whole back truck is over it. He did these all night long, grinding the whole f*kn thing - lock it in Eddie.
You remember the crazy French duo that destroyed Australia a little while back? Well after that, Laurent went on to be a part of a bowl building project in Lyon, France. The Chatillon D'azergue bowl was finished a little while back. Here's the linky: