No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as cool as these LA skater kids from the 70s

The year was 1975, and LA was covered in both smog and American Spirit. The drought crisis only helped to serve skaters and rallying supporters of the time, who relished the opportunity to carve up empty swimming pools and drainage ditches.

These Lords of Dogtown ignited an eternal-summer revolution, and Hugh Holland was right there with them, capturing every moment.

LA skater 70s
Photography Hugh Holland, courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

In Hollwood during the 70s, the LA skater kids were kings. Step into their stylish, territorial way of life with Hugh Holland.

Photographer Hugh Holland recalls how his fascination in the underground skating culture was sparked. “To me, it seemed like this was the center of everything” Holland says from LA, where he still lives at the age of 74. “I always say it’s like a ballet on concrete.”

Before Holland started his iconic series, the photographer had only used black and white film, but boldly changed to colour to capture the red and gold hues so typical of the time. This “sort of started my look” he says.

LA skater 70s

This vintage, sporty look is still exhibiting its influence today, with founder of American Apparel Don Charney crediting the photos for his nostalgic, 70s inspired fashion line.

Throughout his three-year study of skating’s ‘Golden Age’, Holland documented the scene’s progression from teenage rebellion to athletic professionalism. He explains that as the industry became more commercialized, he lost interest, and stopped shooting in 1978.

“I was interested in that shirtless, no socks, no shoes time.”  

LA skater 70sIt wasn’t until 2005 that Holland’s Locals Only series graced the public art scene. He didn’t think of the shots as “fine art prints”, which led him to tragically box up the thousands of unique glimpses into the seaside slum culture.

Get your hands on Hugh Holland’s entire album on Amazon and subscribe to his website to receive news on any upcoming exhibitions.

See a few more of the photos below.

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