words // Brandon Richard
Last month, I received a call from Eastbay that would allow me to present an extremely exciting opportunity to several photographers that have regularly contributed to our weekly Sole Shots feature here on the blog. While brainstorming ideas for a future cover of their catalog, Eastbay recalled the high quality photos submitted for Sole Shots and reached out to me with the idea of having one of the photographers shoot the next cover. As somebody who remembers pulling the Eastbay catalog out of his backpack in Elementary School, the chance to work on an actual cover was an instant no-brainer for me.
Not only was I excited about the growth of Sole Shots, but genuinely thrilled to give such a huge opportunity to the talented photographers from Sole Collector. I’ve spoken and worked with some of those individuals for more than a year now, and it seems as if they’re only improving their craft as time pushes forward.
Though overcome with excitement, there were a few challenges for this project that I had to work around. One, I was permitted to select a maximum of 5 photographers from a group of hundreds. Two, we were up against time. With the magazine heading to press, I had to have the 5 photographers on board, the pair of sneakers designated for shooting shipped to them and a final set of submissions back to Eastbay in less than a week. However, working with such talented photographers and a company that operates as diligently as Eastbay made the entire process a breeze.
Speaking of the shoes that were designated for shooting, I was given a handful of models to choose from, but ultimately settled on the Nike Zoom Kobe VI. My reason for choosing the shoe was that the various textures and unique silhouette would make for an interesting subject with infinite possibilities. All photographers would receive the White/Black-Del Sol-Neutral Grey “Playoff Pack” colorway (which was unreleased at the time) and were able to keep them afterward.
Eastbay requested that the shots be taken in “What Did You Wear Today?” style. If you’re unfamiliar with that terminology, it simply means taking photos of the shoes while they’re actually being worn. Of course, with the task at hand being the Eastbay cover, these photographers would add a little artistic flare.
Once all of the photographers submitted their photos, we ran into a bit of a “problem” – all of them did an exceptional job and had photos worthy of taking the cover. In fact, the photos turned out so well, that Eastbay came up with the idea of having all 5 photographers share the cover. This was an idea I embraced because they all truthfully deserved a spot and because of that, would make the cover that much better.
Now, I’d like you to meet the photographers responsible for the May 2011 cover of Eastbay. Along with a little information about each individual are some of the shots they submitted for the project. At the bottom of the page is the final Eastbay cover that will be arriving at households starting tomorrow. Congratulations to all five of you.
Butch Cordero aka airbutchie
One of the OGs in the game and a personal favorite, Butch started photography back in 1985 and laced up his first pair of Nikes (Cortez!) back in 1979. When shooting the Zoom Kobe VI, he enjoyed being able to envision, create and photograph the shoes on and off the court. He did find some difficulty with the short time frame, but only because his mind was flooded with so many ideas that he wished he could execute them all. Butch also noted that the quick turnaround also helped push him into creating great imagery in such a short time. Additionally, Butch thanked Eastbay for the opportunity and congratulated all of the other photographers that participated in the project.
Pat Lauder aka quickster
Pat is one of the moderators over at Sole Collector and has gained a reputation as being one of the best and most innovative photographers on the forum. His roots in photography date back to 2005 and his sneaker obsession started when he got the “Raptor” Air Jordan VII as a kid. He’s no fan of Kobe or the Los Angeles Lakers, so shooting the Zoom Kobe VI put him in an interesting dilemma. What he liked about shooting the shoe was the way in photographed in-stop motion and the fact that didn’t crease during the shoot. One of the challenges he faced was shooting a low-top at a low angle, but found that relatively easy to overcome.
Angel Gonzalez aka Vagrant
North Bergen, New Jersey
In a conversation I had with Angel while setting up the project, I got a real feel for where he’s coming from as a sneaker enthusiast. Though we aren’t necessarily into the same things, I really appreciate his unique approach to collecting, and it really pays off in his sneaker photography. Surprisingly, he’s only had a hand in both photography and sneaker collecting for about two years, which makes his contributions that much more impressive. He says that he enjoyed the opportunity to shoot a shoe that is typically far off his radar and he likely would have never owned otherwise. One of the challenges he faced was finding the right amount of lighting to make the scales on the shoe’s upper visible. The Eastbay cover project gave Angel the opportunity to dive into some night time photography and utilize flash for a night capture for the very first time.
Bryant Easter aka BryantDIGITAL
Bryant immediately captured my attention when I started posting Sole Shots because he does such a great job of incorporating scenery into his photos. He’s one of my favorite regular contributors and gets his photos posted often because he always has something new (and great!) to share. Bryant has been into photography as long as he can remember, but first gave it a try on a serious level back in 2006. His sneaker collecting days can be traced back to 10th Grade, where he was finally able to purchase his own after landing his first job. Shooting the Kobe VI made Bryant feel as if he were pushing his abilities and gave him new ideas for things he could shoot in the future. Knowing he was up against so many other talented photographers proved to be one of his biggest challenges, but it also motivated him to be creative. As somebody who wasn’t a big fan of the Kobe VI going into the shoot, Bryant says shooting the shoe has converted him and he’s looking into picking up other colorways and taking pictures of them as well.
David Giron aka Launchpad.
David is also part of the Sole Collector forum staff and has really become one of the best photographers we have. Starting out with basic ‘point and shoot,’ David has been honing his photography craft for three years now. He’s been into sneakers so long that he can’t pinpoint an exact moment where he became a collector, but estimates somewhere between the age of 14 and 15 when he started working. Though his initial thought was to use an actual snake in his photos, David still enjoyed shooting the Kobe VI because it allowed him to come up with a plethora of ideas. As a visionary, he found it a little challenging to work with constraints, but managed to emerge with some incredible images. David thanks both Sole Collector and Eastbay for the experience and the chance to work alongside such talented photographers.
Here’s a look at the final product, which makes use of photos from all of the photographers: