If you’re an avid social media user, you will know that it is easy to get lost endlessly scrolling through images, clips and videos of skaters defying gravity, landing jaw-dropping tricks and skating in unique places. Amongst this sea of media, you may find yourself occasionally stumbling across an image that stops you in your tracks. It leaves you in awe of how lucky the skater in the image is to have been captured so beautifully suspended in time, in the midst of reveling in the joy that skating brings to life. It’s a beautiful and rare moment to stumble across a shot that has this effect on you and one of the photographers who’s work consistently does this, is Marshall Garlington.
Marshall Garlington (also known as @fxmixer on Instagram) is a visual artist and photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Marshall has been photographing for 15 years and he frequently focuses on capturing stunningly dynamic shots of skaters and the skating scene. In conversation with Marshall, we got a chance to learn about the person behind the lens and talk everything from his inspiration to his experiences during the pandemic and plans for the future.
Marshall, how did you first get into photography?
I bought my first digital SLR camera when my kids were young to try and be able to keep up with them! Hah.
What drew you to photographing roller skaters and capturing the skating scene?
The thing that drew me to photographing skating and skaters was attending my first roller derby match. I was immediately hooked on the style, action and energy!
Amongst your works, which one is your favorite?
I don’t really have a favorite image. I’m usually most excited about whatever I’m shooting right now.
How have you found life in the pandemic? Has it affected you or your photography?
The pandemic has been challenging in so many ways. Photographically, I basically just stopped shooting until I came across the idea of doing photo sessions over FaceTime. These sessions really reignited my passion for creating images and connecting with people.
What (or who) influences and inspires you?
I get a great deal of my inspiration from dancers and dance photography. Omar Robles is one of my favorite dance photographers. I try to bring some of that feeling into my skatepark images and I love capturing interesting shapes and forms.
Could you tell us about your equipment? Do you have a particular favorite lens or setup that you use to capture skaters?
Equipment wise I’ve always shot my roller skating images with Canon cameras and lenses. 98 per cent of my images are captured with a 16-35mm lens. One system is not necessarily better than the other, it’s just what you’re most comfortable using that can capture your vision.
What is your creative process like?
I have a very laid-back style of capturing skate park images. I like to watch people skating and see what they enjoy doing and try to capture that in my own style.
What future plans do you have for yourself and your skating photography?
In the future I hope to keep pushing myself to create new images that people are not used to seeing in the skating world