In the 1970s when Southern California was experiencing a serious drought, it left a surplus of empty swimming pools across communities that ultimately became playgrounds for young boys from Venice Beach with skateboards in their hands. The increase in empty pools coincided with a rising generation of wavy-haired, sun-bleached skateboarders who would make up the pioneering competitive skate team Z-Boys. In the blink of an eye, a subculture that had evolved out of surfing culture had staked its claim, and California’s back yards and asphalt were its main platforms to shine.
Photographer Hugh Holland was 32 and living in Hollywood when he began photographing the wave of skateboarders who had descended on parks, boardwalks, empty pools and parking lots in the ‘7os. For three years Holland documented California’s vibrant skate subculture, eventually lowering his lens in the late ’70s as the sport was becoming more commercialized and skateboarders were receiving endorsements from sponsors.
The ’70s-era photos were first shown at M+ B Gallery in Los Angeles in 2006. Holland received a nod in the 2005 skateboarding film “Lords of Dogtown,” and his work is prominently featured the Blender Gallery in Sydney, Australia.
This year –40 years after Holland began documenting the young skateboarders — Ammo books published his extensive collection of California skateboard cool, titled “Locals Only.”
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