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Dec 21, 2017
Joe Hammeke grew up skateboarding in Nebraska during the 1980's and has been documenting the people, tricks, bands, along with everything else that comes with it through his photography since the mid 90’s. Joe's first photo published in a magazine was an image of Peter Jedruski doing a kickflip fakie in the Photografitti section of Thrasher Magazine. Since then, Hambone has shot for pretty much every Skate Brand in existence. Since 2002, Joe has been a resident staff photographer at Thrasher magazine, still traveling and shooting skateboarding all over the world. Recently we asked Joe to send over 10 iconic photos he has shot over the years and give us a bit of a back story behind the images. Below is what we received from Hammeke.
Shouts out Joe, thanks for doing what you do!
We completely back what you do.
Mad Love - Bumbag
Photo 1: Red Hailey Loop
Mark “Red” Scott is a determined individual. He was one of the main driving forces at building Burnside and spurring a DIY skate park movement that now spans the entire globe. A guy who won’t back down from something once he sets his mind on it. Around the turn of the century he started Dreamland Skate parks and they quickly became known for building the gnarliest skate parks in the Pacific Northwest and soon all over the world. Hailey, Idaho was no exception. Ten foot transitions and 3-4 feet of vert throughout the park plus this full pipe that is also a roll-over. Well the design was somewhat indicative of this full pipe being loopable. There was a 14-foot-tall 1/4 pipe that could possibly set you up with enough speed. This was the second time Red had attempted to loop the pipe he built. The first time they were able to borrow the local high school’s track and field crash pads but this time something had happened to them and were no longer available. So a trip to the local Play it Again sports and a full set of hockey pads were acquired. Plus, this local guy offered to go home and get his lawn furniture padding, seen here. Well Red carved into it at the wrong angle and at that point there’s no turning back, combined with the local getting scared shitless and he jumped out of the way taking the pad with him which resulted in Red barreling out and crashing pretty hard. Most anyone else would have gone to the hospital for sure but Red is tough as nails and he got up and walked away. It was still another month or so before he was good enough to skate again.
Photo 2: Red singing with microphone in his mouth
2006 and Phelps had announced Skate Rock with Grindline the Band, Bad Shit, Kilgore and Shed. Well Red wanted in even if only for the Portland stop. So he formed a band of his own and called it Piss Boner. This show wasn’t on the Skate Rock tour but a couple months after back home in Lincoln City at a porn shop. Here he is banging on the drums singing through a microphone in his mouth because the mic stand got broken almost immediately. I don’t think the porn shop was too stoked on the show. But those skate rock shirts now had the name Piss Boner listed on the back with all the other bands.
Photo 3: Hewitt boneless at Klammath Falls
Peter had just got on 88 footwear and needed an ad. He wanted to do something big so Peter, Darren Navarette and I think Mohler went down to Klammath Falls skate park in Southern Oregon. There’s a 13-foot-tall wall at the bottom of a downhill there. A catcher’s mitt if you will. Well Peter figured out the speed line to get a little to the left of center and started feeling out the boneless. After a few attempts he said he was ready to put one down. He told me to shoot it a bit later than I would think, wait till full extension and this was it. One and done. Boosted it. This ended up being an 88 Footwear ad and probably paid for 3 months’ rent at the time.
Photo 4: Hewitt with scorpion on his forehead
Besides being one of the gnarliest skaters ever, Peter is a complete goofball. This was on a trip to Pescadero, Baja Mexico. We heard about this “super bowl” that was built down there. When we got there the bowl was definitely there but the park was closed. So after a few phone calls we got in touch with the owner of the park and since we were staying at his friend’s surf camp we were cleared to skate it. Which was great news since we were staying for a week and none of us know how to surf.
Photo 5: Navarrette dusty hearse
This was the beginning of the second wave of 151. The start of 2003 Brad Dorfman had bought the brand from Watson Laminates and part of the deal for Navarrette, Dorfman bought him a Cadillac Hearse. So the first thing we did was do a trip. Dorman gave us a budget of $1500 and we went to Phoenix for 10 days. Not enough money for hotels but plenty for gas and food. We got a 10-page article called “151 Hearse Tour” and thought that it was gonna be “on” after that. The month after the article ran Dorfman pulled advertising and Nav’s knew it wasn’t gonna last much longer after that so he started talking to the guys at NHS about relaunching Creature and the rest is history.
Photo 6: Navarrette, Andrect at La Kantera
La Kantera, the skate park in Algorta, Spain is one of the best places to go. The brownie pan and vert ramp were built in 1987 and a kidney bowl added in 2001. The park is right on the beach in a sleepy by day, party by night surf town in Basque country. The locals are some of the most welcoming you’ll ever meet and the food of the region can’t be beat. Now Navarrette likes to do things right so it’s no surprise that every Creature trip to Europe has a stop at La Kantera. This Andrect sums it all up nicely, at least the skate side of things.
Photo 7: Vans crew at the Dead Sea
It was 2008 and we did a Vans trip to Israel. Pstone lined it all up with his friend Avi. Avi knew the country like the back of his hand and planned the entire trip with skate spots catered to each of the guys and the best tourist attractions as well. From the Med to the Red to the Dead was one possible article title but we went with Shalom Bitches and this was the opener photo. Angel Ramirez weighed probably 90 pounds and he had never floated before in his life. It was pretty much impossible to sink in the Dead Sea so most of us floated around with a beer in each hand. Photos from the trip ended up being a full article in the mag and the better part of a Tony Trujillo video including the cover of the mag.
Photo 8: Tony Trujillo Indy to fakie with Pstone in the background
That same Vans trip to Israel we went to this natural quarter pipe spot on the hill overlooking Jerusalem. I think it was built for flood diversion but it also was nearly perfect for skating. Tony did about a dozen of these indy to fakie and we shot a few long lens and some fisheye each time getting the angle just a bit better. Pstone was filming. One thing about a guy like Pstone compared to other filmers is you never felt the need to ask him to get out of the photo. Why? Maybe because he’s the kinda guy that when you see him in a photo your like “Rad! That guy was on the trip too!” This photo was the cover of Thrasher in the issue with Tony’s pro interview. Probably his second or third pro interview in Thrasher.
Photo 9: David Gravette, Super Kinker
This rail is at a college in Tallahassee, Florida. We were on day 10 of a two week trip that started in Santa Cruz. The first day of the trip, Gravette got smoked crooked grinding that 18 stair rail in Sacramento, the one that Miles Silvas back noseblunted years later. So the entire trip Gravette, in typical fashion, was pretty much outta commission. But by this point we were all the way across the country and on our way back. We decided to go skate the college in Tallahassee because there are a handful of good rails there and they are also pretty much bust free. So Gravette sees this one off to the side and takes a good look at it and says he thinks he can do it. So within 5 or so tries he’s making it over half way down. Fast forward a few hours and he makes one to the bottom, gets wheel bite and slams. Holy shit what a downer. Well he runs back up totally frustrated and a few tries later he’s rolling away. The still was the contents page in Thrasher and the sequence ran in the photo feature in the same issue.
Photo 10: David Gravette and Stu Graham at Livi skate park
This was Gravette’s first trip to Europe with the Creature crew and when you skate gnarly, you’re bound to get hurt. So we had been on the trip about 5 days or so and made it to Livingston skate park in Scotland. Gravs tried to fly out of the bowl and 50-50 the fence you see surrounding the park. Well he overshot it and flipped onto his back. Stu had already been to the hospital and back that day, hence the arm sling. Actually he had just gotten back and so he just made the call again for them to come pick ole Gravette up. So for the rest of the trip Gravette kept complaining about his back or his “baaaack” which earned him the nickname Baby Lamb.
Joe and his son, Ansel.