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.