Jay Reilly’s Lifestyle Work and Why I’m Making Cheesy Photos

While trying to shoot more lifestyle stuff for my book (which needs to be completed before my rapidly approaching graduation date!) I have been looking at a lot of lifestyle work from skate photographers, whether they would label it lifestyle or not, as well as photographers who specialize in that type of work outside of skateboarding. One who I recently came across is Jay Reilly, a lifestyle and editorial photographer based out of Oceanside, California.

Jay has a really solid portfolio and his images illustrate the strength of a good lifestyle/editorial image, which is its ability to tell a story. I love shooting skate photos. The technical and creative aspects that come together in a great skate photo are the best thing for me. But sometimes that one image can’t illustrate all the other things that really make the trick as crazy as it is, like the rocks that had to be swept away, the sign you had to put over the big crack in the run up, the four times you came previously but got kicked out, not being able to get the tightness of your truck just right, or the hour of tries that chipped your board and skinned your hands before finally sticking it.

I know that to put the label of “lifestyle” on the photos I’m making right now would strike a lot of skaters, myself included, as kind of corny. But at the risk of looking like a Gatorade ad, I think it’s rad seeing everything that went into getting a trick, because we all know that as awesome as the split second that a skate photo shows is, it is only a tiny part of what we really do as skateboarders.

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