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Skateboarding’s progression and culture have long been documented and, in turn, propelled forward by some of the best photographers on the planet. One of the most prolific and influential of those photographers would easily be J. Grant Brittain, who over three decades of shooting the sport’s biggest legends in some of its most vaunted time periods and hallowed locales, has notched an entire catalog of some of skateboarding’s most iconic images ever produced. Having first picked up a camera at the age of 25, Grant originally made his mark and honed his skills from 1979 through ’82, shooting his friends at the legendary Del Mar Skate Ranch, which he managed during the early ’80s along with bulking up on photography courses at Palomar College.
In 1983, after having his first photos published in Thrasher magazine a year earlier, Grant submitted work to the premiere issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding and subsequently became the magazine’s founding senior photographer and photo editor. Over the next two decades, Brittain helped grow TWS into the largest and most popular skateboard publication on the planet, continued to shoot scores of the most cherished photos ever, and mentored/managed some of the most talented photographers, writers, and editorial staff still leading the industry today. Having parted ways with TWS in 2003 to found The Skateboard Mag and continuing to develop his craft creatively to this day, Brittain’s influence (especially during the ’80s) is so large that the history of skateboarding itself could not be told without including at least a dozen of his most famous action shots and portraits alike.