Southern California has a reputation for its esteemed skate culture and surf-inspired communities. With such a strong rep at stake, we look to the very best creatives documenting these worlds to feel inspired. A SoCal-based photographer by way of the East Coast, Chris DeLorenzo seamlessly captures the aesthetic and lifestyle that encompasses both of these cultures with a visual emphasis on movement, light and athleticism. Scope our Q&A with Chris below – one look through his portfolio is sure to put you in the golden state of mind.
CULT: What do you love most about being behind the camera?
Chris: Creating. Its fascinated me for as long as I can remember.
Being able to turn the perceived ordinary into the extraordinary continuously keeps me stoked.
CULT: Was there a pivotal moment or photograph that you remember that has evolved your personal style?
Chris: To be honest its really hard to remember one specific time. My style is something that has taken so long to develop into something I’m proud of. I recently started messing around with slow shutter speeds to convey a sense of movement and life into my action imagery. My style is, of course, still developing each time I shoot.
CULT: What draws you to documenting skate + surf culture in LA?
I think it’s the fusion between the artist and athlete that really intrigues me.
These sports have their roots in California, making it such a rich subject to document. I wasn’t a surfer or skater prior to picking up the camera, but I grew up surrounded by sports. I know the feeling these athletes have competing, and am drawn to convey that through photography.
CULT: What is the most important element to your work?
Chris: Theres so much that goes into creating stylized work, but I would have to say light and color. In simple terms, without light, there’s no image at all. I’m in love with natural gradients of dynamic light, in addition to refreshing and electric colors.
CULT: Are there other artists, both inside and outside of your medium, who inspire you?
Chris: There are definitely some big inspirations for me, like Morgan Maassen a young photographer with a killer style.
I tend to find inspiration from pieces of art more often than the artists themselves. I think that mixing inspiration across mediums helps me stay original.Pulling ideas from color pallets in paintings and composition in posters helps me produce completely unique images.
Music too! The way certain music makes you feel, the vibe, is something to capture in an image. Sometimes I’ll hear a pretty rad song and think, I want my work to look like that song sounds. Some include The Naked and Famous, Fineshrine, Bon Iver, Explosions in the Sky, Phantogram and even country like Kip Moore. My list is all over the place, but I try to stay open to anything and not pigeon hole my taste.
CULT: What do you want to leave behind as your legacy?
Chris: Like most artists I want to make a dent in the industry. Hopefully I stay diverse and never become known for just one thing and one thing only. I hope to create a unique style or look to my work that people will notice and remember me for. No one really knows what look or style will be popular next, but I want to pave that path.
CULT: Favorite local haunts / hideouts:
Chris: The desert in Southern California is by far my favorite place to get away to and explore. Theres something about how vast and barren it is. Most people in LA don’t give the desert a second look since most of it seems to have been thrown away from civilization.
But its places like this where I draw inspiration from, the places where all others are ignoring.
I’m starting to build up a series of images documenting my exploration of it, something I’m real excited about!
CULT: Three things on your bucket list include:
Chris: Travel abroad with no plan, no map and no technology (besides my camera of course).
Change the education system…too many days sitting in high school thinking, when will I need to know this?
Have a purpose.
CULT: First thought waking up in the morning:
Haha I always think I’ve overslept! Which is weird because I rarely schedule anything early morning, and I don’t sleep late either…
CULT: Words to live by:
“Stay patient and trust your journey”
You really have to trust the process, and that process takes time. Like the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes years if not decades to completely hone your skill. You just have to keep pushing forward creating work you love, and money/success will surely follow.
Just the inspiration and advice I needed to hear on a Friday! Stunning work.