Dave Chami
The world's your skate park.
Frames 2m

Doesn’t matter if your only connection to skateboarding is owning a Thrasher shirt – there’s an artistic quality to Dave Chami’s work that lifts him out of that “skate photog” category and makes his portfolio mind-blowingly impressive for all.

A native New Zealander with nearly 20 years experience in the scene, Dave scours the skate park (and beyond) and precisely captures the skater in the sweetest of spots. In one shot, pro skater Dennis Busenitz slides across a ramp with a child in tow, and another sees Pat Hoblin pull off a wallride on the glass surface of the Louvre Pyramid. It’s shots like this that replicate the high-intensity of skating, where a simple kick of the deck can propel you over two metre fences or along rooftop railings (see Mike Carroll and Ben Gore). 

“Having skateboarded since I was a teenager, I’ve always gravitated towards anything related to skateboarding,” Dave says. 

Dave’s affinity for the sport has taken him beyond the skate park, too. So while he may snap the excitement of a mid-air stalefish like no other, he’s also more than willing to cast pro skaters in a more stylistic lens. You’ll find Caswell Berry decked out in a dollar bill tux, and Jack O’Grady distorted by dazzling light leaks. These choices give Dave’s work a creative flair, and have pushed him to capture a wide array of subjects. 

“I’m really drawn to old photographic processes and equipment, and I try not to repeat myself too much…I really just enjoy making images- my family, friends, studio stuff, the stars, anything,” he says. 

But what is skating without the urban scenes that surround it? For Dave’s subjects, the sprawling cityscape is a skater’s playground, and every staircase, kerbside and parking lot presents an opportunity to carve. These board-friendly locales are on full display in Dave’s work, as public libraries and fountain monuments are transformed into sites for the perfect kick-flip. Tracing him from his hometown of Sydney to the cobblestoned street of Paris, the world is Dave’s skate park.    

“[Photography has] enabled me to travel the world many times over, I am so appreciative of that…I love creating, capturing moments and sharing them for others to enjoy.”

Scroll down for Dave’s full portfolio, and head here to follow him on Instagram.

Words by Tom Disalvo July 15, 2021
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Presented by Tens.