Interview: Philip Müller Photos: Todd Jordan (courtesy of phh fine art, NYC)
Todd Jordan is skateboarder and photographer from Kingston, NY. His most notable exposure in the recent time was his part in the much anticipated Nike Video “Nothing but the Truth”. I met him in New York`s Chelsea District when he had just finished filming for the Nike Video to talk about skateboarding, photography, and life on the road.
Hello Todd, please introduce yourself:
My last name is Jordan, I was born in Kingston, NY in 1980, and now reside in New York City.
What is the Story behind the Resurrection of Shut Skateboards?
The people at Zoo York always wanted to start Shut again, so when they were forced to put Zoo York into the hands of Ecko Unlimited, they focused on bringing it back. So now I'm back with the people i was originally with when i first skated with Zoo York.
What is skateboarding in New York like these days?
Its the best place in my opinion. You need to be creative here. Theres no plazas with ledges everywhere that you can skate all day without being bothered. The spots are rough, the winters are cold, the summers are hot, but there's something here for everyone. You just have to go out and find it.
Please talk about your photography… How would you describe it and what makes a good picture in your eyes?
I like to think my pictures are very relaxing. I tend to focus on the down time in my life a lot. When we’re not doing what we normally do or when were not doing what people expect of us. And a good picture to me is an ordinary moment that's transformed into something kind of magical when recorded on film. Someones own interpretation of a common experience.
How has your photographic career been working out since you started?
No complaints. I’ve been juggling my skateboarding and photography and its been working quite well. Traveling and having the freedom of being a skateboarder gives me a lot of creative time. And I just finished a big skateboard project so I'm really looking forward to getting back in the lab and printing all the stuff I’ve shot in the past year.
What have you been working on recently?
Well, we are pretty much just finishing up a Nike video, which is the big project I mentioned above and I have a lot of ideas for projects I'd like to photograph. I'm not gonna go into any detail about them but hopefully you'll start to see some of what I'm speaking of soon.
You are traveling a lot. Not only with skateboarding, but you also have exhibitions in Japan and Europe. Do you still like it or does it become stressful?
I definitely still love traveling. Not only new places but even the places I've already been because now i have really good friends nearly everywhere. Granted, New York is still my favorite city and I love being here but it gets overwhelming and a break is necessary at times.
Worst travel story?
Don't really have one. Typical stuff I guess. Injuries or illness, lost luggage, canceled or delayed flights. All that stuff can really put a damper on travels.
Funniest travel story?
Every time I’ve ever been on a trip with Harold Hunter. Words cant explain how much I miss him. There was never a dull moment with him in your presence. One of the most memorable was being in Tokyo with him and it was his birthday. This was back when mushrooms were still legal there. We had a really nice dinner that night and when we asked him what he wanted to do after he replied, “I want everyone here to do mushrooms!” So we walked about a block away to the store that sold them and got a whole bunch.
There were like 15 of us there that night. We all ate them right away. Some people wanted to go back to the hotel first, including Harold, so I went to my friend Yone’s house, who’s also a photographer, to chill out, play with all his toys, etc. When I tried calling the hotel to see what everyone was doing I was told everyone was already asleep. I knew this couldn't be true because of the way I was feeling so I jumped in a cab with my two friends and went there to see what was up. Me and Harold were sharing a room so I went straight there. When I walked in I saw Yugo, a japanese skater, sitting on the bed with a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels, just sitting there laughing hysterically.
He barely spoke any English so when I asked where Harold was he just sat there laughing an pointed to the closet. So I open the door and there's Harold curled up in a ball freaking out and going on about how people are after him. I calmed him down, explaining that he at mushrooms and was just hallucinating and it was his birthday and we should be having fun. After I promise him I won't leave him he comes out of the closet. As he walks out he looks at Yugo sitting on the bed and just starts freaking out again. He screams, “what the fuck is that!?” and jumps back in the closet. That was just the start of a long, entertaining night.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I'm working on a couple different series of portraits. Again, I don't want to go into detail but I hope that you'll be seeing them soon.
Todd’s Top Five:
5 People to go shred with: Jeremy Jordan, Tino Razo, Neckface, Clarkface, Gonz
4 favorite places to travel to: Montauk, Fire Island, Moms house, Max Fish
3 Cameras: Leica M6, Leica Minilux, Polaroid SX-70
2 Situations that made you laugh: Harold and Hunter
1 Person that makes your day a better one: Jorge Valenzuela aka “The Hispanic Titanic”