Sunday, May 12, 2013

Half A Decade in Scootering- An Interview with Dylan Kasson

Dylan Kasson, pro rider for Proto, Boxes, and Freestyle Depot, has been riding scooters for a really long time.  In addition to riding, he has also been a photographer for a long time.  Since he was first sponsored by Proto, he has been taking photos of scooter riders for a book called "Half a Decade in Scootering".  Featuring photos from 2008-2012, Dylan's project captures pro riders during their time away from the video camera, moments that the public rarely gets to see.  He already put out some sample photos, and now the book is available to buy on Blurb.  I hit him up to get the full scoop on the project, read on-

Jordan Jasa:  Your "Half a Decade in Scootering" project is something that hasn't ever really been done before.  How do you think it will be received by the community?  How does it feel knowing you're one of the only people to document the beginnings of scooter riding?

Dylan Kasson:  I know many people in the scooter community aren't art oriented, so there might be certain details that will be missed. I am not bothered by that because I know they can appreciate the legends that are part of this book. The things the people have done speak so much that the photographs wouldn't even need to be good. I am so grateful to have been accepted into a circle of the most dedicated scooter riders in the world. It is always a pleasure to document this because they deserve it.

Can you explain about the format of the book, where to purchase, how much it will cost, etc?

The book is 10x8, softcover, and one hundred fourteen pages. You can purchase it on Blurb for $60. Just type in Half A Decade In Scootering in the search bar. There are twenty photos for each year so there is a total of one hundred photos. There is text explaining what was going on in each year so the reader gets a feel for what it was like when the photos were taken.

From the photo excerpts you posted on your website, you can definitely see a progression in scooters themselves (from old A Razors to one piece decks and bigger parts all around).  Was that something you thought about?  There are few people who remember or were even around for the days before custom parts were really a thing, and I'm sure there'll be kids wondering why the people in the photos aren't riding full aftermarket setups.

I always knew it was important to be taking photos of what was going on when I was around the scooter guys. I knew the scooters would look completely different and they will look completely different than they do now in the future. 

So like I said, the scooters progressed, tricks progressed, the sport in general progressed.  Do you think your photography progressed?  I know your camera of choice has, how many different cameras were used over the five years?

My photography has changed. Towards the beginning I was taking a lot of traditional riding photos but then I sold all my flashes and that type of gear and wanted to pursue lifestyle work. I wasn't interested in taking riding photos anymore because there wasn't any thinking involved. I don't have anything against scooter photographers they are a necessity and do a great job, I just didn't want to sit under a handrail all day. My camera setup reached the peak in 2011 when I started using a 35mm point and shoot camera mainly. This was the perfect camera for what I was doing. It was quick and easy, and I had one with a high quality lens so the photos were always sharp. I maybe have gone through ten cameras throughout this project, mostly film. I only shoot digital now though (since the beginning of 2013).

When you're taking a photo of a person, or scooter rider, is there a message you're trying to portray?  Do you just randomly point the camera at someone, or do you wait until just the right moment to get the shot?

I want to show how they are and how scootering is in that moment. Most riders are uncomfortable around me at first because they don't know what I am taking pictures for. In the beginning people would ask and I would say I was working on a five year project about the history of scootering. They couldn't grasp that back then and neither could I. Eventually when they realized I was working on projects they completely loosened up and me taking pictures is like I am not taking pictures, just hanging out with them and riding. There inst any posing anymore. Once people see this book they will realize even more what I was going for. There are certain people that I enjoy working with because they are so easy to photograph. They just naturally present moments and then allow you to photograph them. There are re occurring people in the book and these are the people I came to be most comfortable with.

How many different riders do you think are featured?  Drop some names for the hype.

Matt Dibble, Max Caldwell, Alex Peasley, Andrew Broussard, Elmer Ferreiras, Jon Reyes, Stevon Wilson, Brandon Kilbury, Tyler Bonner, Dan Barrett, Greg Cohen, Steven Sanchez, John Mattes, Alex Steadman, Corey MIggs, Tommy Napolitan, Aj Storcella, Steven Sanchez, Brian Murphy, Anthony Bustos, Eric Magray, Evan Yamada, Tyler Wheeland, Brandon Ricabono, Josh Young, Matt Mckeen, Tommy Daddano, Jackson Manzie, Aaron Bransdon, Stefan Hefner, Robert Mcmoran, Conor Davidson, Eric Ostrom, Addison Mcnaughton, James Gee, Blake Bailor, Chema Cardenas, Jon Zegarra, Jon Knudston, Issac Miller, Jordan Jasa, Thomas Obadia, Javier Trepat, George Louis, Jeff Mroz, Jon Archer, Kirk Svenson, Matt Rittler, and Colin Snoek. They have all impacted scootering in some way and me as a scooter rider. Everyone of these people I thought was so important that I needed to document them.

So you wanted to document the early history of the sport.  Do you ever get bummed because there weren't many people to document what you were doing?  Do you wish there were more photos of you when you had your wild mane of a beard?  Cause I do (hahaha).

I have plenty photos of myself. I am always weird when it comes to publishing them in projects because I haven't taken them. I feel bad for calling them my own. I am working on another project called the scooter camera which is a lot more personalized than this, but I would like to think you can feel my presence when interacting with these people in the book. I am known through the videos and photos of riding scooters and that is what is important to me. When it comes to my personal projects that I create I usually don't include myself.

You've been a ton of different places to ride.  What are some areas that are featured?

New York, California, Ohio, Australia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

Would you ever make single photos available for print?

I already have some of the images printed out much larger than the book, and am always willing to make prints of any of my photos available for print at any size.

Where do you think you'll be in the next five years?  You going to make another "Half Decade in Scootering"?

I have kept on shooting in 2013 so I am just going to keep going. This is still important to me. I don't know where it will take me, maybe another history book. I am looking to start doing this commercially for scooter magazines because I haven't seen it done well. I did some photos for the first issue of Dialed and I felt like it really tied the whole article together about San Francisco with the riding photos somebody else shot. So if any magazines are looking for some unique content that non riding photographers couldn't get, let me know.

Lets wrap it up.  Anything else you'd like to add/thanks/shoutouts?

PROTO scooters, Boxes Limited, Freestyle Depot, Hella Grip, Tilt, Hooks n Eyes, and ADVCT. All of my friends have good companies. Thanks to everyone who was in this book it was such a pleasure to photograph you. Without the riders scootering wouldn't be the unique, exciting thing it is.

Once again, if you missed the link to buy the book, get it on Blurb.


  1. Replies
    1. Look again, Thomas Obadiah is there.

  2. Dylan Kasson is irrelevant to scooter. He is a nobody and will soon be forgotten

    1. your the Anonymous one.

    2. ok mate haha

  3. 60

  4. seems really sweet but i wouldnt pay 60 bucks for it


If you're going to bother to comment anonymously, think about what you're saying and what credibility you'll have without a name. Besides that, please keep the comments constructive, thanks!