20 Years of Documenting Skate in Los Angeles
The simple way to introduce Atiba Jefferson is to say he's a photographer. He got his start in skateboarding, so that's what many people know him for. But that's really just a small portion of his story. He's a photographer, yes. But along with the Guy Marianos, Eric Kostons and Sean Maltos, he's also shot Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kanye West. His work has adorned the cover of SLAM Magazine and billboards for Pepsi and gallery walls in Hong Kong. He's an entrepreneur, a businessman, a publisher and a Jägermeister aficionado. But all of those different facets of his personality and life spawned from his humble beginnings shooting skateboarding on the streets of LA.
Born and raised in Colorado, but for the past 20 years Atiba has lived and worked in Los Angeles. He's developed a reputation as one of skateboarding's most highly respected and hardest-working photographers. He went from a kid with a dream arriving in LA with essentially nothing and managed to build himself into one of the most successful photographers to come out of skateboarding.
His photography career now spans two decades. And while his portfolio has become ever more impressive and he's on the level where he's high-fiving Kobe Bryant after winning an NBA championship, Atiba still shoots skateboarding. It remains his first love. Since capturing his first image in Los Angeles in 1995, Jefferson has documented some of the most influential figures to get on a board at many of the city’s most iconic spots, capturing some of the most important and seminal imagery in skateboarding.
20 years of Atiba’s work shooting skateboarding in Los Angeles was showcased in an exhibition during Oakley In Residence: Los Angeles – some of which has been curated below.
“Los Angeles has a long history of skateboarding… but this is not it," Atiba explains. "This [exhibition] is my history of skateboarding in Los Angeles.”
The collection of images, printed in a limited-run book, are a time-capsule of the evolving nature of skateboarding and Atiba’s craft.