Today's "Who's Rad" isn't about a girl. And it's not about a skater, surfer, snowboarder, or BMX rider. It's about a guy. Why? Because Ken Hada is one of the few photographers out there taking photos time & time again of girls who skate. He's not on assignment looking for a paycheck, he is doing it just like most skaters are - for the love of it. Read on to find out what makes him interested in shooting the women of skateboarding and what makes a skater easy to photograph.
Who's Rad? Ken Hada
Where do you live/work ? Southern California
How did you get started in photography?
Back in 1975, I would borrow my sister’s 8mm video camera and make films of my neighborhood friends skateboarding, biking, and doing stunts.
What type of photography do you do when you are not shooting skateboarding?
mostly my kids, some Product Shots, Live Concert, band press kit type stuff, and portraits.
What made you decide to start shooting female skaters?
I bought a used Nikkormat camera and some lens from my buddy Chuck Lantz, back in 1978 when I worked at Skatopia Skatepark. Yet I captured very few photographs from that historic time in skateboarding. A few years later lawyers and liability challenges closed most of the skateparks. Many years later when I would look at the few skateboard photos I shot from the 1970’s I realized that I missed a wonderful opportunity to capture a historical aspect of skateboarding. So for me it is very interesting to document these amazing female skaters, making their way through skateboard history.
Are there any skaters you really enjoy working with & why?
I will shoot anyone who has a trick and a location in mind. It is always fun to shoot Lizzie, Julz, AmeeJay, Mikayla, Hunter, Alana, Natalie, and Nora. They show up on time, want to make a good picture, never complain.
What are some of your favorite places to shoot at?
I like to shoot in bright sunlight. So anywhere outdoors is fine with me.
Do you have an all time favorite skate image? No.
Any favorite tricks you like to shoot?
I like to shoot back Smiths and back D’s.
Favorite camera body & lens?
Whatever I own or have borrowed at the moment works for me.
Do you like to light or do you prefer shooting with natural light?
I always light my shots.
Any girls out there you haven’t shot yet but would like to?
The great news is that there seems to be many more talented girl skaters these days. So there are many people I would like to shoot.
Any advice for someone who wanted to get into action sports photography?
If you are going to shoot skateboarding it really helps if you are a skateboarder. Study previous skateboard photos, there are some unwritten rules in skateboard photography. Make pictures with the gear that you own.
Where can we see your work?
A few of my non skate photos made some National TV commercials, aside from that you might see my pictures at skate company websites, Zines and Skate Mags. I did a showing of a few photos at a Channel Street art show a few years ago.
What social media sites can people follow you on?