Wynn Miller, photography of Tony Alva


The Freshjive Mad Dog Chronicles, a retrospective interview with Tony Alva, featuring the photography of Wynn Miller.

Skate photography at the time Wynn Miller had begun shooting Tony Alva generally consisted of nothing more than a fish-eye lens and a basic in-camera flash. The shots of skaters, at that time, were all of the same generic concepts; the basic close-up shots of a skater’s feet and board could be found anywhere and everywhere. Miller took skate photography and skate advertising to new heights, documenting Alva in a more personal, behind-the-scenes manner and simultaneously elevating skate photography to an art form. His candid photographs of Alva at home, and just being himself enabled audiences to view Alva in his element; Miller displayed pro-skater Tony Alva, and everyday Tony Alva. He often photographed Alva head-on, focusing on Alva as a person, and not simply the pro-skateboarder he was known to be. When it came to advertising, Miller’s creative edge and Alva’s charisma combined to create an almost “new-wave” shift in skateboard promotion from the corporate injection of basic product information to more conceptually stylized images. Miller used a variety of strobes, filters, gels, and an overall vibrant palette of color, to create a more artsy view of skateboarding. He also took on different perspectives, for example, placing Alva in corners of the frames, breaking from the stereotypical ones of then skate photographers.

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