In the summer of 1975, Hugh Holland noticed something – teenage boys on skateboards were cropping up all across Los Angeles. Holland, then in his early thirties, was fascinated by these daring young men, who surfed drainage ditches on new-fangled urethane wheels which allowed them to transform a novelty toy into a tool that combined artistry and athleticism.
Holland took up photography just as the skaters were inventing a brand new sport on the streets of Los Angeles. As fate would have it, a drought hit the city in 1976 and all the backyard pools were drained, beckoning this small band of innovative outcasts to transform the barren landscape into a creative laboratory for their newfound pastime.
Over a period of three years, Holland amassed thousands of images of the emerging scene, documenting the skaters and the atmosphere, crafting a vivid portrait of rebellious youth living their best lives under the Southern Californian sun. Now, in the new exhibition Silver. Skate. Seventies., and accompanying book published by Chronicle Books, Holland presents never-before-seen black and white photographs from his archive. Here, he reflects on the importance of DIY culture, sport and art, and the rewards of doing something you love.