In 1975, when Hugh Holland first began photographing the skateboarders in southern California, he had already been living in Los Angeles for nine years. His interest in photography had developed in the mid-sixties as a 20-year-old living in his native state of Oklahoma. Except for a college job working in a photo lab, Holland had no formal art education. He spent years training his eye by shooting photographs and working with the images.
It wasn’t until after returning from a trip to Spain in 1968 and settling into what would become a career in West Hollywood as an antique finisher, that he began to seriously pursue photography. He made a dark room and began shooting everything that came into sight, especially people.
In 1975, driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard one afternoon, Holland encountered his first skateboarders carving up the drainage ditches along the side of the canyon. He knew he had found his subject. Although not a skateboarder himself, Holland for the next three years never tired of capturing on film the burgeoning culture he was witnessing. However, by 1978, the scene had become more commercial, and Holland’s documentation of the skateboarders came to its natural end.
Hugh Holland’s “Angels” series was first shown at M+B in Los Angeles in early 2006. Following the success of the show, the work was shown in Paris and New York City. Additionally, American Apparel has used Holland’s skateboarding photographs for their publicity campaign and a new monograph of the artist’s work is currently being published by Grey Bull Press. It is due out in late 2008. Hugh Holland currently resides in San Francisco and continues to photograph.