David Marino is a humble guy that gets his caffeine kick from the percolator in his kitchen and wakes up slow with some Qigong and stretching which sets his intentions for the day. Skateboarding let him express himself as did photography. Then both skateboarding and photography lead him to pursuing a career in architecture. Don't stress though he promises skateable ledges and ramped walls on the sly for any buildings he later in life constructs.
We like David, he is a genuine guy. He even donated a sick print for our store opening which we got to auction off for a mad charity Decks For Change, that gives back to the skate community by building skate parks, doing workshops and lessons in less privileged areas.
While he prefers film he currently sticks to digital to save some money and time. A must before he dies is travel, Nepal and India are top of the list to explore and seek solitude amongst the mountain monasteries of monks and capturing the powerful virgin beauty of some of the worlds most mysteriously untouched and spiritual locations.
But don't let us give it all away, read on further, get to know him yourself.
IMAGE: Shaun Gilbert Front Feeble, Mermaid Beach, 2019
So explain about this so called Paradise Point, whats it like ?
It is a really quiet and beautiful spot on the Gold Coast. I live in an apartment complex called Ephraim island which is situated in the middle of the Broadwater connected by a bridge from the main land. It is peaceful and away from distractions which helps me focus on myself and my work.
Sounds chill, What's it like compared to the place you grew up?
My parents were hair dressers and owned a few salons around Western Sydney. but because they were working all the time I grew up between my parents’ house in St Marys and my Grandmothers in Glenbrook, Blue Mountains. Then my Dad decided on a career change, moved into property development. Once he sold the salons, he gradually earned more income and we moved to the Central Coast.
Starting out in Umina and then making our way to Terrigal beach where I spent the majority of my childhood. Dad found work opportunities in the Gold Coast when I was in year ten, so I finished High school up here and have been on the Goldy for 9 years now.
How did you get into skateboarding?
I started skateboarding in year five, the older boys in year six invited me to watch a skate demo at Slam factory. The demo was called Krew, Cash, Grab and it was like discovering an entirely different world. That was my first day on a skate board, my first time dropping into a quarter pipe and also watching professionals rip. It was a good time! Over the years as I progressively improved, I was mainly skating the streets of Terrigal with my friends. Few locals started to get really good so we had a crew that would meet up everyday after school.
Do you remember your first camera ?
A photographer I grew up with on the Central Coast, Reed Plummer, gave me his camera to borrow and try out for a couple of months when I was in year seven, it was a Canon 1100D which I was insanely grateful to use at that time! I saved up and bought a Canon 550D because I was hooked on taking photos after that.
IMAGE: Ben Newell & Joe Birch 2010. (Shot with Canon 550D)
Film or digital ?
Film is by far the best, for many reasons. However, I shoot digital because of the way I’ve set up my work flow over the years. The main reason is because I need to produce ideas and concepts quickly and I don’t want to spend a bomb on film doing so, even though I wish I could.
What is your go to camera at the moment ?
Canon 5D Mark iii and my work horse 2.8 Canon 70-200mm lens, while jumping between two fixed 1.4 Sigma art lenses, 50mm and 35mm.
While working with a film maker by the name of Tristian Houghton, I admired his ability to tell stories with the use of different focal lengths. He would jump between four different lenses based on the concept he was conveying. This inspired me to do the same, with skating and lifestyle shoots.
IMAGE: Luiz Flavio, Frontside Blunt, Hope Island, 2019
What drove you to photography? and what inspires the images you capture?
Being dyslexic, I really struggled in the traditional learning environment and when I was young all I wanted to do was express myself. Skateboarding was the first medium for me to be able to do that which then started my passion for photography. I was looking at the world around me in a completely unique way compared to others who did not skate. I was exposed to a very different lifestyle from a young age, never home, destroying public property, surrounded by drugs and alcohol. This mentality definitely drove me to experiment, discover and capture what was happening around me in my own way. It acted as a tool for me to detach from sometimes negative experiences, I would become the observer and not a participator. It definitely kept me out of trouble. It is incredible how photography has created not only photos but a life of friendship, amazing memories and good times.
I did go and study photography and this opened my eyes to different possibilities. Now days photography is my favourite outlet, I’m inspired by everything around me. I think the fun is to challenge what you perceive as beautiful because there is something unique to pull out of everything and everyone around you.
What’s been your favourite project you have worked?
As I grow, change and learn more as an individual the projects continue to get more interesting for me. The one I am working on at the moment is really exciting, I’ve been asked to capture the surrounding context of Byron Bay and illustrate a story for a new restaurant in Byron called White Wolf Bistro and Bar. Having a brief so open I’ve been able to have loads of fun with it, location scouting, road tripping and discovering all different things. It’s a great opportunity to get some prints on the wall and help out a local business as well.
Do you believe that the best photographs are a result of capturing the right moment or do you believe that the image captured can re define the moment?
The way in which you capture the image definitely re-defines the moment, you can frame an image in such a way they it creates a feeling that wasn’t even present when you captured it. This also comes down to post production and how much you tamper with the reality of the image. Capturing the right moment ultimately gets you an interesting photograph, the moment in which its captured comes with its own story and perspective. However, how one perceives that moment captured is completely down to one’s own perception of the information they are receiving visually. As human beings we all like to project our own experiences onto what we are looking at, hence why art is different to everyone. That’s the beauty of it!
IMAGE: Walker Ryan, Nollie Frontsideflip, Varsity Lakes, 2019
You study architecture do you feel that this helps with the framing of your images ?
It definitely helps! and each discipline informs each other, I often use principles from either train of thought to help provoke a message and understanding. The way in which I frame images is first and foremost dictated from reading the environment and its conditions. Learning to draw at Uni has helped me understand how to play with a sense of scale, perspective and leading lines which has improved my work dramatically. Architecture has taught me that the built environment is capable of beautiful atmospheric qualities with the involvement of light and composition. I feel like the more I understand the more I can capture in response to it.
I feel the framing of your images often evokes a sense of vulnerability for the skater, by the often larger and imposing architecture is this done intentionally ?
My overall intention is to show the environment in which the skateboarder is interacting with and how they are using the architecture to inform their movements on the skateboard. The aim is to enhance the overall story of the skater’s trick and situation of the images setting. I intentionally challenge myself to capture images from a broader perspective because of this mindset.
IMAGE: Luiz Flavio Wallride, Melbourne IMAX, 2017
Skaters really get immersed in architecture often they experience architecture different to most pedestrians. More often than not using the architecture in various ways that the architects would have not envisioned. do you feel that skateboarding sparked your interest in Architecture?
Both skateboarding and photography got me interested in pursuing architecture! I basically failed year twelve haha and getting my diploma in photography got me into Architecture school. Skateboarding opened my mind in a great way to what could be done in the built environment, and how it can be interacted with in totally new ways then intended. Skaters have their own language and rules and that is what’s so special about it. The language of skateboarding informs my design outcomes and they are usually different to people who don’t skate in architecture. Photography is basically visual design, and I was always taking photos of skateboarding framed with buildings so in saying that I was always paying attention. Guess it was a chain reaction haha.
Do you feel skaters and architects share the ability to see buildings for more than what they were intended to be ?
For sure. Architects like to collaborate with artist from all different disciplines to implement a multitude of functions to their buildings. I feel like there needs to be more collaboration with skate boarding because it always gives some much life to a public realm and you can achieve some really interesting forms just by understanding what is skateable. One really good one I like is the Street Dome in Denmark by Glifberg – Lykke Architects, Rune Glifberg is actually a professional skateboarder for FLIP. They have designed some really interesting parks, highly recommend checking out their work.
IMAGE: Luiz Flavio, Push Brisbane CBD, 2018
Skaters often use architecture in very different ways that the architects originally envisioned them hence the rise of skate stoppers and non skate able surfaces, if you become an architect will you be skate stopping or will the areas you design have a sneaky skate focus.
That depends on the client! However, there’s no reason why I couldn’t create skateable ledges and ramped walls on the sly. Even if they don’t understand what its for. It will be my subtle gift back to those who understand its use. Check out House in Casa de Campo by A-cero Architects to see some subtle sickness.