We checked in with KC Armstrong a few months back to hear about his work in the world sports and key art, but this month we’re going to showcase the biggest thing he’s been working on this past year, which is a personal project called Skate Legends.
Skate Legends is a portrait series of all the ground breakers and legend in the skateboarding world, dating back to those who have been big since the 1970s. KC brings his signature portrait look to this project, capturing them in an editorial way which they don’t normally get photographed. They are not at all shot in the typical skateboard photographic style— which tends to be a lot grittier to mimic the lifestyle of the sport— but instead a little more high end portraiture, like a celebrity photograph you would see in the Hollywood Reporter.
The set for these shoots is typically just KC and an assistant, with one or two lights. The images always tend to turn out best when he is lucky enough to go into the skateboarder’s homes, capturing them in their true environment. His access to skaters are majority word of mouth, originating from a friend of his who was involved with skaters back in the 80’s, and he was able to put KC in contact with a bunch of them. From there, it was a snowball effect, where one subject would turn him onto another subject and so on and so forth. As of mid 2017, KC had photographed 38 subjects. The vibe on set is as extremely loose, as if its just a couple of buddies hanging out.
When he was a kid himself, he snowboarded more than skateboarding, but the whole skateboarding/ punk rock world was the one he live in. Skate Legends is a documentations of a whole sort of subculture and its leaders. Some of the men in the project are in their 60’s now, so KC finds it quite fantastic to be able to capture it all and have it be a really broad spectrum of the whole skateboard world as opposed to 5 or 6 different faces.
The project keeps him busy and creative, and has him holding high hopes it will help him break into the entertainment world in Los Angeles where most of these icons reside. By the end of the project, KC is looking to publish a book of the images, as well as hold an exhibition in Los Angeles following the release.