Happy 2020! To help kick off the year, photographer
Scott Marceau has contributed 20 of his favorite shots from 2019 along with the story behind each one for a new “Autophoto” feature. These selections feature a varied cast and subjects from all over the States.
Click below for the full feature and be sure to
follow Scott on Instagram.
MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, January 21st This kid they call “Speedy” from NorCal moved down here recently and once or twice his crew came down for a weekend. One morning they showed up at my place- five teenagers, five bikes and one mid-sized puppy in one four-door sedan early in the morning. This is the first spot we rode and these kids just started hopping on this man-sized handrail without any warming up. Each of them must’ve bailed at least three times before making to the bottom. It truly was a spectacle to behold. I cringed, I laughed, I felt my age.
Forrest Hawk, Long Beach, January 27th We were riding this spot, at 15th and Judson I think, and someone suggested that “if that sign weren’t there” such-and-such would be possible or easier or whatnot. Forrest puts his bike down, walks up to the sign and says “This is for Gabe” (a reference to when he pulled the sign out of the ground in the Stranger video) and woooooooop! It comes right out! Everyone there was stuck between disbelief and a laughing fit for a few eerie moments. I will admit that I had Forrest stage this shot but it evokes a memory that is worth preserving.
Alex Duleba, Los Angeles, February 20th I think the wallride is my favorite trick to shoot because the wall can be used as its own backdrop within the frame of the photograph. Alex has a great looking wallride and he’s one of those guys who always wants to go higher and higher until they nearly die and are forced to settle for the one right before that. Yes, this is the one right before that.
Greg Moliterno, Los Angeles, March 4th If you know Greg, you know he’s the man. Straight up and down, the greatest human in the world. We came to this spot so that I could film a polejam wallride but this couch was blocking it and the building occupants were standing around nearby. They weren’t keen on letting us move the couch to get the clip but they let their dog roam around and pose with Greg for a bit. I shot maybe seven frames of this scene and I’m still not convinced this one is the best but I love it. I’ve since gone back to film the clip and ended up putting a hole in the wall with my wheel. My bad.
Bo, Denver, May 22nd Bo is my good friend from Ohio with whom I share many interests and wonders. It was such a fantastic coincidence that he’d be in Denver the same time I was, if only for a couple days. One weekday we rode so many spots and the last one was a pool across this field. Bo thought he’d be able to walk right through but it got pretty swampy so we took an alternate route.
Dustin, Nebraska, June 2 It must get annoying for my passengers when I’m always stopping and shooting photos along the way but opportunities like this are hard to pass up. Alex was inside the car as well.
My dad, Virginia, June 29th I linked up with my dad in Virginia for a couple rounds of golf. On the second hole, a storm started to roll in fast. He recommended that we head for shelter ASAP and sure enough the sky opened up as soon as we made it back to the clubhouse. It was a gnarly storm but it was over in less than 30 minutes and we played the rest of the course in very damp conditions. My dad has a very level-headed approach to adverse situations like this and I can hear him saying “Welp Scotty, that’s life!”
Adem and Jeff, New Jersey, July 4th Philly local Adem Gunaydin took us to this rope swing spot just outside of Philly in New Jersey. He did a great job of understating the height and general sketchiness of the swing and when I got there I would have been completely content with just shooting photos and spectating but Dustin said I had to swing so I swung. Here Adem catches a ride with Jeff Purdy. Then I shot a bunch of frames of Adem doing flips out of the canopy, so many frames that I couldn’t fully document the 4th of July party at FDR skatepark… but you really gotta BE THERE to understand it
Latane Coghill, Philly, July 5th I have a growing obsession with the psychological chain-of-events that happen in your brain when you’re trying something scary for the first time. I’ve talked to a lot of riders who can attest to a blackout of sorts happening, from fear or extreme concentration, an inability to remember the moment directly after you “pull the trigger” and commit completely to the task.
Damian, Brooklyn, July 13th My second favorite part of any heavy single-spot session is the basketball-esque activities that ensue once the riding is over. Usually it’s simply “throw the trash into the trash can from as far away as possible”. Sometimes it’s as petty as tossing pebbles into a peg. This particular night we had the resources to set up a parking cone slam dunk contest. I think Damian sunk this one with a layup but didn’t win the contest because of Dut’s reverse windmill from the sidewalk crack.
Billy Woodfin, St. Louis, August 1st This shot is definitely in my top three pan-blur shots all year.
Chris Tolley, Littleton, CO, August 3rd While I’m sure Tolley still occasionally rides BMX, he spends more of his cycling energy on these wild Crit races and has had massive success in the circuits the past few years. This event, aptly named “Twilight Criterium” was taking place in Littleton, Colorado and a crew of us were on the sidelines cheering him on. There were seriously like three laps to go, right around when Rob says that Tolley usually makes his moves to the front during the last few laps, when BOOM! He crashes RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. A couple other riders were taken out with him as he scrambled to the side of the track to avoid being run over more. We all kinda just stood there, in shock and awe, looking at each other without being sure that what had just happened actually DID happen. For a minute I thought my flash had caused the crash but clearly the flash popped after any contact or impact had happened. I had to push it a stop in post because the negative is a bit thin, but you can understand the story by looking, I hope.
I-70 leaving Denver westbound, August 8th This is a mountainous rock formation off the interstate just as you’re leaving Denver heading west. I’ve been photographing it since I first visited Colorado in 2007. I love the colors and the layering, and all the little trees spread out around it. Last year I was getting into Denver around 2am and stopped here to shoot some long exposures. I’ve shot it medium format, Holga, iPhone, I’ve even filmed a good amount of footage there. I suppose I’ll end up being able to use everything, for something, at some point, but for now I’ll keep documenting.
Denim and Ethan, Orange County, August 18th Denim says he does this every Sunday if he can help it. I don’t blame him, I shot an entire roll within an hour and every single face has a smile on it. That, or a look of grave terror after someone crashed, which did happen a handful of times.
Los Angeles, September 8th On a routine walk to the grocery store we came across this marvel of modern street art. The only camera I had on me was one I was testing for my eBay store and luckily it was in good working order. It’s even pretty sharp for being shot at night. This is perfect material for my L.A. DRAIN book series.
Jay Som, The Echoplex, LA, September 13th This was the first time I had been to a show in the lower level of The Echo, on Sunset. There were some couch seats in a corner as soon as you walk into the venue and as I posted up for the opening act, I noticed that there was this gap between some pillars that gave me a perfect angle for a shot of the lead singer. I stayed there until Jay Som went on and shot half a roll to make sure I’d gotten this shot. I was testing a rare point & shoot camera (the Canon MC) that I had gotten for dirt cheap off Craigslist in Indianapolis. Lucky for me, again, a bargain-priced collectible camera in perfect working condition!
MacArthur Park, LA, September 17th I didn’t think I had gotten this shot at the time, as I was testing out a fully manual SLR camera during this morning walk. This is my go-to composition, an environment squarely framed from a perpendicular angle with the subject moving through the scene. The light could not have been better for this, a sweeping blanket of light coming straight down the street that accents this intricate facade adding a nice depth to the backdrop. Viewed full size, you can see that this man is reading those posters as he’s walking by, framed in the exact middle of the grid, mid-stride. All things considered, this is possibly my most successful photograph all year. The film it’s on was expired by nearly a decade which accounts for the extra bit of grain you see.
DMBQ, Teragram Ballroom, LA, September 20th This band DMBQ opened for Ty Segall one night and their live performance was nothing short of shocking as the lead singer screamed until he spit up blood, put on a gas mask, then convinced everyone in the crowd to come to the front and hold the drummer, and some drums, above their heads while he played a drum solo. I’m afraid I might have been a bit too close to tell that whole story, but his contorted face and the bleeding lead singer holding him up on top of these humans makes this one of my favorite photos of the year and one of my best live performance shots in recent history.
Chris Mortenson, Long Beach, October 11th Another exemplary human, Chris Mortenson. Morty’s been on the straight-and-narrow for over a year now and anyone who’s dealt with these situations knows that they are no easy task. We were all having dinner at this Thai spot in LB and I saw a striking juxtaposition between him and his immediate surroundings. Morty calmly maintains a righteous moral code even with temptation all around him.
Russell Blake, Los Angeles, November 13th A snapshot from a random weekday night of pedaling around some alleyways we’ve never been to before, this one of Russell is one of my favorites for the colors, the shapes, the composition and the timing. He did this wallride a few times before we both knew that we had performed up to our own personal expectations.