Ghost Writer: Jamie Thomas - The Long And Winding Road

October 15, 2015

Jamie Thomas:  Chief, Dad, Mentor, Friend.  The list goes on and on and on.  If you’ve followed his career and how he’s built his empire with his bare hands, you would probably agree that to try to put one label on Jamie is impossible, but maybe the closest one would be Visionary. Most know Jamie for his drive and passion for perfection in skateboarding.  From how things felt while doing a trick, versus how it was filmed, and vice versa.  The guy will travel the world to get that last shot for a video part, and put blood, sweat and tears into it until that hunger is fed. But there is another side of Jamie that many don't know about...yet.  He has just as much passion for art (photography in particular), and travel as he does for skateboarding. For this installment of our Ghost Writer series, we have the pleasure of presenting that side of Jamie.  The aspiring photographer, always working to blend patience, with his perfectionist eye.  Decades of being in front of the cameras of some of the best photographers around, like Daniel Harold Sturt & Grant Brittain (to name a few), provide him a unique base of influence.  But then Jamie takes it from there to capture his own emotions and moments in a style all his own. We hope you enjoy these exclusive images of family, friends, and legends, as well as a few of Jamie's thoughts on the subject.

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As an aspiring photographer, I thrive on the different feeling you get from capturing experiences on different cameras. Whether it’s the spontaneity or convenience of an iPhone, the anticipation of a Polaroid, the versatility of an SLR or the engagement of a Rangefinder; each format provides a different and unique emotional experience. iPhone It's often said that 'the best camera is the camera you have with you', so as Apple continues to improve the quality of the iPhone and companies like Olloclip make high quality lenses for our phones, the iPhone will continue to be the camera I use most.

John Rattray blasts a lien melon in Winnipeg on a Canada tour in 2011 | Shot with an iPhone 5S with an Olloclip wide-angle lens 

Louis Mendes, street photographer NYC 2014 | Shot with an iPhone 5S

Brian Hansen & Tommy Sandoval entering the Sequoia National Forest on the Road Less Traveled trip 2012 | Shot with an iPhone 5

Polaroid Similar to digital photography, you get the satisfaction of your photo experience relatively quickly, but that few minutes of mystery is just enough time to build the anticipation for the result, and when it’s good, it feels so good.  It’s also an amazing that you can be holding a small but good quality print in just minutes.

Kurt Hodge, pole jam in Encinitas, CA | Photo taken on a Polaroid 195 Land Camera with FP 100 film

Ruby watching | Photo taken on a Polaroid 195 Land Camera with FP 100 film

Steve Caballero with one of his boards from the 1980's | Photo taken on a Polaroid 195 Land Camera FP 100 film

DSLR With auto focus and a high speed shutter, new DSLR cameras seem to do a lot of the work for you.  While this may seem like cheating, it actually enables you have more headspace to focus on lighting, composition, and getting creative.  With unparalleled efficiency and feedback, the learning curve of photography is shortened and you’re well on your way in just a few short weeks of shooting manual. 

The 'Cat Ba Imperial' in Halong Bay, Vietnam | Shot in the water with a Canon 5D MK III and a 24-105mm lens

Vietnamese woman walking with her herd of water buffalo in a small village in Northern Vietnam | Shot with a Canon 5D MK III and a 24-105mm lens

Dane Burman frontside ollie on the Northern California coast | Shot with a Canon 5D MK III and a 24-105mm lens

Rangefinder A rangefinder camera is a camera with a split-image focusing mechanism that allows you to measure the subject's distance in order to help obtain sharpness. This focusing process is 100% manual and takes some practice to perfect, so the result is a slower more intimate photo experience, which requires your undivided attention.  It’s also often hard to tell if your photo is tack sharp on your LCD screen and since the process is more limiting, it feels very rewarding when everything comes together and the photo turns out just as you imagined. 

This is the first photo I shot with my Leica and it may be my favorite. My dog, Otis, on the tracks, Cardiff, CA 2014 | Shot with a Leica M9 and a 35mm lens

Young Afghan girl with soulful eyes in the alleys of Kabul, Afghanistan | Shot with a Leica M9 and a 50mm lens

J-Roy and his dog Molly Los Angeles, CA 2014 | Shot with a Leica M9 and a 50mm lens

I like to have options, so I try to have at least 2 cameras with me at all times. The beautiful thing about photography is that you don't have to know much about the technical side of the craft to experience the joy of the process.  Once you just start taking photos regularly, you begin to see life as a photographer.  Whether it be the opportunity of amazing lighting or the intrigue of an interesting person, everything is a photograph waiting to be taken. - Jamie Thomas Follow Jamie on Instagram