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In this issue
  • CCS Catalog
  • Etnies Shoes CCS Video Premiere Recap
  • adidas 3st.002 Shoe Review
  • 1,000 Kickflips In The Vans Chima Pro 2 Shoes
  • Actions REALized: Apache Skateboards
  • Lakai Bristol Shoe Review
  • Josh Kalis Going Through Old CCS Catalogs
  • Supra Saint Shoe Review
  • Nike SB x CCS Spring Apparel
  • Ryan Lay and A 102 Trick Line
  • Back Light: Kingsley Atwood
  • Nyjah’s Signature Nike SB Release Party
  • JAWS 28 Roofs Later
  • Kev's Kreations: Kader's Kreations
  • CCS Spring 18 Collection
  • Look for the Actions REALized Nate Viands deck dropping soon!
  • Cairo Foster And Matt Milligan Going Through Old Catalogs
  • The Joy Of Painting: New Balance 255
  • State x Killing Floor Productivity Shoe Review
  • Back Light: Tim Agular
  • Aesop Rock And Kurt Going Through Old Catalogs
  • Nike SB Zoom Deconstruct Shoe Pack Review
  • adidas City Cup Shoe Review
  • Kev's Kreations: Mark Gonzales
  • Emerica G-Code Re-up Shoe Review
  • Jaws On The Nine Club
  • The Bumbag Interview
  • Custom Top Sheet Artist Interviews
  • Globe Sprout Shoe Review
  • CCS Winter 2017 Yearbook
  • Henry Jones Interview
  • Adidas Campus Vulc 2 x Alltimers Shoe Review
  • The CCS Team At West Linn Skate Park
  • 100 Kickflips in the Vans UltraRange Pro
  • Lucas Beaufort Interview
  • Emerica: Young Emericans Premiere
  • 100 Kickflips: Nora Vasconcellos
  • CCS x Vans Levels Gallery
  • Jamie Thomas: Behind The Photo
  • 100 Kickflips: Lizard King
  • CONS x Chocolate Launch Party
  • Acembly Backpacks How To
  • Birdhouse: Saturdays Video Premiere
  • 100 Kickflips In The Proper Cinex Shoes
  • Guantanamo Baywatch Interview
  • Back Light: Henry Harbeck
  • CCS Apparel Fall '17 Lookbook
  • Kev's Kreations: The Rambo Ripper
  • Emerica x Sriracha Gallery
  • 100 Kickflips: Nike SB FC Classic vs. Koston Hypervulc
  • El Torito Recap
  • 100 Kickflips In The Etnies Marana Michelin
  • Naomi Punk Interview
  • Lizzie Armanto Interview
  • Interview with Sean Cliver of Paisley Skates
  • 40s And Shorties Interview
  • Nike SB FC Classic Shoe Review
  • Nike SB P-Rod X Shoe Review
  • Go Skateboarding Day 2017: Pop For Pizza
  • Foul Balls: WKND vs. Nike SB
  • Lakai: The Flare Video Premiere
  • Jason Harvey Interview
  • 100 Backside 360's In The Supra Shifters
  • 1000 Grind Wear Test: Indy Stage 11 Trucks
  • Arcade Belts: 100 Hamburger Wear Test
  • CCS to SLO: CCS Am Trip
  • CCS Apparel Summer '17 Lookbook
  • Brixton Broadcast: Murder City Devils
  • Thaynan Turns Pro
  • History Of The Polo
  • etnies Jameson HT Shoe Review
  • 100 Kickflips In The Clear Weather Donny
  • 100 Kickflips In The Vans Gilbert Crockett 2
  • Kev's Kreations: The Crust Crusher
  • CCS Poster Series
  • Sebo Walker Interview
  • 100 Kickflips In The Osiris D3
  • Adidas Kung Fu Shoe Review
  • Clear Weather Jeffrey Shoe Review
  • Back Light: Kevin Enis
  • CCS Behind The Ad: Kevin Kowalski
  • Habitat x Twin Peaks: Interview With Habitat Founder Joe Castrucci
  • Andale Bearings Spring 2017 Product Review
  • CCS Artist Series: Snakey Jakie
  • CCS Artist Series: Andre Fortes
  • Huf Hupper 2 Lo Shoe Review
  • Artist Series: Jackson Epstein Interview
  • Artist Series: Andrew McCarthy Interview
  • The Making of CCS x Loud Ben Raybourn Headphones
  • 100 Tricks in the Nike SB Blazer Low XT with Ben Raybourn
  • Ryan Lay's Welcome Wear Test
  • CCS Apparel Spring '17 Lookbook
  • Etnies Helix Shoe Review
  • Nike SB Zoom Dunk Low Malto Elite Product Review
  • Adidas Nautical Review
  • Artist Spotlight: Jack Hyde
  • Kev's Kreations: The Sexy Slasher
  • New Balance 533 PJ Stratford Review
  • Adidas Skateboarding Premiere Pants
  • Nike SB Air Zoom Blazer Low XT Shoe Review
  • Vans Sk8-Hi Pro MTE DX Shoe Review
  • Mailorder Memories: Mikemo And Vince Capaldi
  • Adidas Samba ADV: 600 Skateboard Trick Wear Test
  • Winter Solstice Session
  • Nike SB Brian Anderson Bruin Hyperfeel Review
  • 100 Kickflips On A Snowskate (Fail)
  • Welcome Fetish Video Premiere
  • 100 Kickflips (Impossible Edition): HUF Classic Hi
  • Back Light: Justin Rodriguez
  • 100 Kickflips In The Nike SB Blazer Premium
  • 100 Kickflips In The Vans Half Cab Pro
  • WKND Remembers 2001 CCS Catalogs
  • Sneak Peek At The Adidas Na-Kel Matchcourt High RX
  • Mailorder Memories: Cole and Asta
  • Artist Spotlight: Nick Guenzler
  • 100 Kickflips With PJ Ladd
  • Back Light: Dominic Palarchio
  • Emerica Indicator High Shoe Review
  • Santa Does 100 Kickflips In The Nike SB Janoski Hyperfeel
  • Lucas Puig Interview
  • 100 Kickflips in the C1RCA Gravette with David Gravette
  • Jamie Liam Humphrey Interview
  • John Lucero on the History of Black Label
  • Tyshawn Jones Interview
  • 100 Kickflips In The Adidas Superstars
  • Ducky Am Scramble Re-edit
  • 24 HoliDAYS of CCS: Win Free Stuff!
  • Erick Winkowski Interview
  • CCS Apparel Winter '16 Lookbook
  • Aesop Rock Hot Dog Interview
  • 100 Kickflips In The Diamond Icon By Boo Johnson
  • Adidas x Palace Pro Shoe Review
  • Ryan Lay: 1997 CCS Catalog
  • Paul Kobriger Interview
  • 100 360 Flips In The éS Accel Slim Shoes
  • Less Than Local Interview
  • 100 Tricks In The Nike SB Janoski Slip
  • Tempe Halloween Recap 2016
  • Kev's Kreations: The Jaws Jumper
  • 100 Kickflips In The Vans Kyle Walker Pro
  • Nora Vasconcellos Interview
  • Five Things With Hex
  • Zion Wright Interview
  • Ben Raybourn’s Road To Ramona
  • 100 Kickflips With Kader Sylla
  • Jaws: A History Of Hammers
  • Burnside Halloween 2017
  • Back Light: Bobby Escobedo
  • Interview with Rick McCrank
  • 100 Kickflips (Fakie Edition) In The Globe CT-IV DLX Shoes
  • Interview With Andy Paz From Dog Limited
  • 100 Kickflips In The éS Sesla Shoes
  • David Gravette’s Pizza Party
  • éS and CCS: Two Decades Deep
  • The Faces Of L.A. Skateboarding
  • Kev's Kreations: The Roskopp Ripper
  • Back Light: Michael Sube
  • 100 Kickflips In The Diamond Torey Shoes
  • 100 Kickflips In The HUF Boyd Shoes
  • Jon Nguyen: Behind The Cover
  • CCS Questionnaire with Truman Hooker
  • Andrew Gray's Full Part From Dusted
  • 100 Kickflips In The New Balance PJ Stratford 533
  • Talking Welcome with Jason Celaya
  • Interview with Jon Dickson
  • Emerica Made Chapter 2 Premiere
  • Ben Raybourn's Full Part From Dusted
  • 100 Kickflips (Switch Flip Edition) In The State Salem
  • CCS Questionnaire with Eric Dressen
  • Kev's Kreations: The Kitty Kruzer
  • 100 Kickflips In The DC Wes Kremer 2's
  • CCS Apparel Fall '16 Lookbook
  • Adidas Away Days Tour Recap
  • How To Build A Bank Ramp
  • 100 Kickflips (360 Flip Edition) In The Vans X Nintendo Authentics
  • Back Light: Jake Wickersham
  • 100 Kickflips (Heelflip Edition) In The Adidas Suciu Shoes
  • Talking Skate After School with Ryan Lay
  • Interview with Blake Johnson
  • 100 Kickflips In The Supra Flow Shoes
  • CCS Pants Wear Test
  • Back Light: Frederick Zang
  • Cooper Wilt: Grind All Ledges
  • 100 Kickflips In The Converse One Stars
  • ¥ung ¢hef - TOP RAMEN Ft. Doughboi
  • What’s the Deal? With WKND Skateboards
  • 100 Kickflips (Switch Flip Edition) In The Vans Slip-On Pros
  • How To Set Up A Skateboard… Blindfolded
  • Gear Check with Frankie Spears
  • Interview with CCS Team Rider Kevin Kowalski
  • Vans Kyle Walker Pro Shoe Release
  • Santa Cruz Screaming Hand Art Show
  • Rip N Dip L.A. Pop Up Opening
  • Agenda 2016 Recap
  • The Skateboard Mag 150th Issue Release Party
  • Back Light: Matt Price
  • Jamie Thomas: Behind The Cover
  • 100 Kickflips In The Hyperfeel Koston 3's
  • Back Light: Milosz Rebes
  • 100 Kickflips (Switch Flip Edition) In The Converse CTAS Pros
  • Pop For Prizes 2016 With Wes Kremer
  • 100 Kickflips (FS Blunt Edition) In The Lakai Vincent 2's
  • The Day: Enjoi
  • Blind Micro Game of S.K.A.T.E. with Sewa And Romar
  • Back Light: Cody Lisch
  • CCS Questionnaire with Miles Silvas
  • Getting To Know Sewa Kroetkov
  • Artist Spotlight: Kevin Wilkins
  • A Day At Zero With Jamie Thomas
  • Back Light: Jacob Messex
  • Artist Spotlight: Carlos Gutierrez
  • Jaws And Raybourn Footage: The Other Ones
  • 100 Kickflips In The Emerica Hsu G6 Shoes
  • CCS Questionnaire with Alec Majerus
  • Gear Check with Blake Johnson
  • Joey Brezinski Talks New Cliche
  • Raybourn And Friends For The Dusted Video
  • 100 Kickflips In The Vans AV RapidWelds
  • Disposable Mondays With Walker Ryan And Jimmy Carlin
  • Back Light: Jacob Romero
  • CCS Questionnaire with Pete Eldridge
  • Skateboarding on a Frank Lloyd Wright House
  • Mango and Friends Skate NYC
  • Nike SB All Court CK Wear Test
  • Jaws Tests FP Insoles
  • Emerica X Indy Reynolds Wear Test
  • Nike SB Ishod Dunk Wair Test
  • 100 Kickflips in the DC Evan Smith Shoes
  • Gear Check with Cairo Foster
  • Jaws Ollies 210 Stairs In One Day
  • 100 Kickflips in the HUF Brad Cromer Shoes
  • The Break In: Nike SB Janoski Shoes
  • Raw Footage: Jaws, 210 Stairs, One Day
  • Preston Harper: Mini Set Up
  • 100 Nollie Flips in the Adidas Matchcourt Shoes
  • How To Make Griptape Art With Ben Raybourn
  • 100 Kickflips (Switch Heel Edition) In The Etnies Marana Vulcs
  • Interview with Kevin Braun
  • Dusted Crew Skates Windells Skate Camp
  • Back Light: Cameron Markin
  • Skateboarding Celebrities...
  • CCS Welcomes David Gravette
  • William Spencer’s Skate Dream
  • Adidas Matchcourt Slip-Ons: Wear Test
  • 100 Kickflips: Nike SB Bruin Hyperfeel
  • Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
  • Back Light: Dave Swift
  • Kev's Kreations: The Creature Crusher
  • 100 Kickflips: Emerica Romero w/ Leo Romero
  • CCS Questionnaire with Nestor Judkins
  • The Day: An Afternoon With The Crap Crew
  • Walker Ryan For Imperial Motion
  • 100 Kickflips In The HUF Dylan Slip Ons
  • David Gravette: A Boy And His Flat Bar
  • CCS Questionnaire with Lem Villemin
  • Adidas Away Days L.A. Premiere Recap
  • CCS Welcomes Kevin Kowalski
  • Gear Check with Daniel Espinoza

Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac
Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac

Artist Spotlight: Mike Blabac

Interview by Matt Price, Portrait by Grant Britain

Behind every icon is a man with a camera. Much like Walter Looss was to Michael Jordan, Mike Blabac has been the man to document some of our favorite skateboard legends. From Danny Way to Stevie Williams, Mike has spent over two decades in the trenches of street skateboarding snapping away and covering some of the biggest moments the skate world has seen. We caught up with Mike to chat about what it’s like to shift from shooting the old generation of DC riders to the new, who some of his photography influences have been, and how drunk he was when he shot the iconic Danny Way Mega Ramp sessions. Mike is a true legend in our world and we owe him big time for capturing over 20 years of skateboarding to share with us.

Mike has spent over two decades in the trenches of street skateboarding

So Mike, let’s do some basics. Where are you from, how old are you and how long have you been shooting skate photos? I'm from the Midwest. Was born in Ohio, then moved to Lansing, Michigan when I was twelve. I'm 42, and I've been shooting photos professionally for 22 years.

Can you give us a run down on all the skateboarding companies you have worked for and take us through a brief Blabac history? After moving to San Francisco in 1994, I started working for Mad Circle Skateboards. After 4 years in the city I moved to LA in 1998 and started shooting for Girl and Chocolate, then after a year there I began working for DC Shoes and I've been there ever since.

If you had to guess how many pictures you’ve taken in your lifetime, what number would you throw out?Shit! It's hard to say! Maybe a million? I've gone through enough film and digital camera bodies for that many. I've kept a lot of what I've shot over the years fortunately. Photographs take on a different meaning over time. I shot a Gino (Iannucci) photo warming up in 98 that may not have made it in the mag back then, but now it's gold. I kept a lot of my extra film. I keep most of my digital files now from learning that lesson with film. Those random snaps may be amazing 20 years from now. Photographs are kind of like baseball cards in the way that some are worth a lot more than others over time.

Who do you think you have shot the most photos of? Is it Josh Kalis?Yeah, probably Josh because we've know one another since we've been kids. Danny (Way) would be up there too since he's done so much.

Film or digital?Digital. It's romantic to say film, but digital is what I solely use for work. I still love the look of film, but I'm a fan of doing one thing well and keeping everything simple. I did the whole, shoot stills on film and shoot sequences on digital thing also. It's too much. I carry a lot less gear these days.

What was your favorite era of skateboarding to be a part of? The 90's. I was so lucky to be in SF at that time. The city was full of skaters then before the tech boom. Just to be able to skate with my friends all day, every day. I didn't have a car for 4 years. We would bomb the hill to downtown, then skate Brown Marble Benches, Black Rock, EMB, then end up at Union Square at night. That was generally our run most days.

Was it pretty wild shooting Danny Way on all the first mega ramp stuff? Yes. When I first started shooting Danny, I knew most of what we shot would be looked back on for years, especially the Mega stuff! I was trippin the first time I saw that ramp!

Did it feel a little more like shooting surfing or something than skating? I had shot a great deal of Moto prior to that, so yeah. It was on that same scale. It's difficult to show how truly gnarly all that stuff was. No one had ever dreamed of doing anything like that on a skateboard prior to that. The rail stuff was insane!

I heard rumors that you would just post up and crush a 12 pack in the time it took Danny to land one of those tricks on the rail. I don’t mean to incriminate you, but were you wasted shooting some of those photos?Yes. We were camping there a lot of the time. I'd just wake up, and start drinking so by the time the session was over I was definitely pickled. Maybe I was extra careful because I was drunk, who knows! I never blew a photo though. I probably couldn't even walk straight when I shot Danny's Noseblunt Slide on the Mega Rail, but that photograph is perfectly straight, and I don't think I could have composed it any better. I'm amazed looking back at all that stuff. I could never do that now!

A lot of skate photographers end up moving in to marketing positions or shooting a lot more non skate stuff as they get a little older, but you have continued to stay in the streets for a lot longer than most. Why do you think that is?It’s simply because I love it. I do shoot non-skate stuff. I'm actually on a flight to shoot portraits of golfers for an insurance company right now. I feel lucky to do both. One makes me appreciate the other. I enjoy taking my experience of being in the streets to a commercial set. Non-skate stuff is generally done at a much slower pace with the aid of assistants. Going from climbing a fence in the middle of the night with all my gear to being on set with 50 plus people and craft services is quite a contrast.

I don't believe anything will top photographing skateboarding for me. I still get a rush from shooting something no one has ever done before. Being able to make photographs like the ones I once taped to my wall as a kid is amazing to me.

What’s it like going through multiple team generations of a company like DC and spending so much time with some of these young guys like Wes or T Funk? Let’s just say I've learned a lot over the years. Some dudes have tested my patience, but luckily we've got such a solid squad now. Tristan and Wes are two of the best dudes I've ever been around both on and off a skateboard. They're both timeless skaters, which is awesome too. Our whole squad is dope.

If you had to pick an all time favorite photo of yours what would it be? If you can’t what would be the most requested photo that people ask you about? Probably Koston's Backside Nosebliunt on Hubba. That photo defines an era of skateboarding because of the spot, the trick, Eric's gear, etc. It was the cover of a Transworld Photo Annual, which meant a lot to me. I would stare at the TWS Photo Annuals for hours as a kid.

The most asked about photos of mine are the Kalis and Stevie Love Park photos, especially now that Love is gone.

Who are some of your favorite skate and non-skate photographers that have influenced your work?Walter Looss, and Richard Avedon. All of Walter's Michael Jordan photographs are second to none. He captured all of that in such an amazing way. It's like he knew that everything Jordan did would be historic before it was. The dunk photo from above on the blue court is my favorite amongst all of his work. If you don't know what I’m talking about, Google it!

Avedon is simply amazing. Everything he did was incredible throughout his entire career. I'm sure he's influenced photographers everywhere.

Have you ever blown a really gnarly or once in a lifetime photo?I can honestly say no. Dudes are putting their lives on the line. I can't say "Hey Danny, would you mind jumping the Great Wall again for me?" I try really hard to make sure both the skater and myself are stoked when we're done.

Shooting sequences though, I have ran out of film in the middle of a trick twice, but I simply said "that was sick, but I think you can do it better" both times that happened, and luckily they rolled away again. Couldn't do that now with digital cameras!

What’s your favorite foreign destination that skateboarding has taken you?I would have to say Australia. I love it there. If I ever got booted from the states, I'd go straight to Oz.

What’s next for Mike Blabac? Anything cool coming up?Same shit different decade, Ha! I've consciously been trying to shoot a lot more skating lately. There are a ton of needs for DC, and I love contributing to all the magazines, so basically a lot of that. Hopefully making more stuff that will be on people's walls for many years from now.