Locals Only: The Early Days of Skateboarding
By Maria Popova
In the summer of 1975, Southern California experienced a drought so severe it evaporated nearly all suburban swimming pools. Restless to escape the heat and fill the long summer days, kids quickly turned these dry pools into playgrounds that became the essential springboard for the skateboarding scene. It was one such hot, dry afternoon that a young photographer by the name of Hugh Holland drove up Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Los Angeles to find himself mesmerized by the dynamic grace and explosive athleticism of these young skateboarders. So he decided to document them, unaware he was recording the dawn of an era that would shape countless facets of pop culture in eras to come.
For the next four years, Holland captured the rail-riding teens, in all their golden-skinned, sweatband-wearing 70s glory, on recycled 35mm film. His camera, still a novelty in that day, gave him enough of a cool factor to grant him unequaled access to this self-contained, near-cultish subculture, resulting in images that were candid and raw with a kind of authentic excitement about the time impossible to replicate in a studio.
More than 30 years later, these magnificent photographs are revealed to the world in Locals Only: California Skateboarding 1975-1978 — a remarkable anthology of 120 large-format full-color images, complete with that vintage fisheye grittiness we’ve come to adore, alongside an exclusive Q&A with Holland, who reveals fascinating insights about the dawn of skateboarding culture.
It spread like wildfire all over Southern California. I know it happened in other parts of the world too, but California felt like the center of it all.” ~ Hugh Holland
Locals Only is a gritty gem from an era long gone in time but forever engrained in pop culture, a rare record of photographic history and cultural anthropology rolled up into one visually gripping volume.
Published November 30, 2010