Pep Williams grew up skating on the streets of LA, knew Tupac, Dr Dre and Kurt Kobain. He is a professional skater, a model and a photographer. He has travelled the world photographing and being photographed. Pep’s pictures have a gritty rawness that only someone who grew up on the same streets as those who pose for him could achieve. His subjects are often the tattooed sort of people that might make you consider crossing the road but Pep draws out their vulnerability and shows their human side. Click the jump to read my conversation with Pep Williams.

Robert Poole Photography: Hi Pep, please tell us a bit about yourself. 

Pep: Thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog. Well I’m just a normal guy in LA who shoots and skates.

 

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RP: what inspired you to become a photographer?
Pep: Coming up as a kid I was a pro skateboarder so I was being shot often by very popular and famous photographers. I always loved it but never had a camera. I had several sponsors some being clothing so they would use me for fashion shows all over the world. I became popular doing that a bit and from there everything changed and my path to photography started. this was in 96.
One day a designer was freaking out because his photographer booked another job. I found out the job paid $6,000. I immediately said “I’m a photographer.” Everyone looked and were shocked because I never mentioned I was a photographer before. They asked for my portfolio and I said “We don’t have time for that now, let’s just get it done!” I had never even owned a camera before, but for $6,000 I would become a photographer. So, I hired a kid from a local college from a photo class, paid him $250 for the day and asked what he thought we needed for the shoot. We went to Sammy’s Camera and rented equipment. He set everything up and I just pressed the button.  I was hooked.
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RP: what project are you working on right now?

Pep: Right now I’m working on a few Projects with Adidas. I actually just returned from the Adidas headquarters in Germany working on it. I also have a few solo shows coming up in Sao Paulo, Brazil and a Museum in Mexico city will be showcasing my work in 2017. And a few surprises along the way.

RP: What/who inspires your photography

Pep: The thing that Inspires me is feeling. If i don’t feel it i wont do it. I’ve turned down thousands of dollars offered to me to do a simple shoot but I wasn’t feeling it. My body of work is more important to me then money.

 

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Mac Lucci
RP: What does photography mean to you

Pep: Whats photography means to me is never the same thing from the day before. Because everyday that meaning changes from looking at an image shot from a master to looking at an image shot from some just getting their first camera. Always changing.

 

RP:  What cameras did you shoot with and why?

Pep: I shoot with everything from a Leica to my phone. If I’m shooting anything where I need fast reaction time instant focus like shooting on a movie set or sports I use my Canon 5D Mark 2. If I have a specific project where I know I will be showing in a gallery I use my Cannon or Leica will give me a camera to use for the project. If I’m Lucky and I catch my friend I get to use his Phase 1 camera. Doesn’t get any better then a Phase 1.

 

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Sly Vicious and his 2 week old son Cruz
RP: Any anecdotes you can share?

Pep: I have a few but here is one. It happens to me sometimes. There has been times I have gone to shoots and everything is prepped models ready and full staff there only thing missing is my camera. I sometimes get so excited to shoot I leave my gear at home. Hasn’t happened in a while but its funny when it dose because I have to make up an excuse to go to my car and speed all the way either to my home or hotel to get my gear. Back in the day using film there has been countless times I’ve shot with no film in camera so I have to say “That was wonderful lets do it again to be sure”.  Ha ha Too funny!!

 

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Pork Chop
RP: What are you looking for in a photo?

Pep: For me personally I look for balance and harmony. When you look at an Image and it gives you feeling there is always balance in that image.

RP:  What is your biggest regret relating to photography?

 

Pep: No regrets I just wish I had picked up a camera sooner. I know a lot of people in the entertainment business so having images of us when we were young would have been amazing. From Tupac, Dr. Dre, Kurt Cobain, Rick James, and countless others. It would have been cool.

 

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RP: Any closing comments?

Pep: I just want to say thank you again for having me on your blog.

“Just get out there and shoot and show us the world through your eyes.” Pep Williams.

http://www.pepwilliams.com

http://www.twitter.com/pep_williams

Instagram – Pep Williams
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