Photographing PROTO in SF | David Coe

David Coe
Flowto Rider

Since the first push, people (we) have been documenting scootering, usually without even knowing it. The streets, which are our infinite playgrounds, are full of numerous surprises. Anything can happen, whether you’re crouched or lying on the ground, clothes all dirty and ragged up, smiling because you’re outside, not in school or in the office, capturing what you love, and being in the essence of everything that surrounds you and creating something unique which feels like it only belongs to us. We experience the street life; we end up in odd places, dark places, and true places. So close, but yet still so far from, the tourists routes. These streets are our realm.

What’s up guys, David Coe here. As you all witnessed the drop of PROTO’s new insanely rad website on Cinco de Mayo, minus being busy on 4/20, there was a ton of new content that was put out. Besides riding for PROTO, I’ve been a photographer myself for the past 3 years and I shot a handful of those new Team photo’s. I got into Photography because of the situations and places scootering put me in and I felt like it was just another aspect of riding. It is (really) amazing the places a scooter can take you, if you let it. I wanted to incorporate whatever I could into my passion for riding and documenting scootering by taking photographs was apart of my aesthetic for riding. What really sparked me towards photography and shooting film more in particular was because back in April of 2015 me and a couple buddies got robbed at gunpoint of all our camera equipment. I had lost my HVX200 that I only had for a few months. Although I was shooting photos years before that happened, the only thing that was left when I got robbed was my Canon AE-1. Having this only tool that produced an image left for me had given me the spark to shoot more and discover the more wonders that photography could bring.

When I look at scootering and skateboarding photos I think there’s more than just capturing a trick, if there’s something going on in the environment around it the photo becomes more appealing. As scooter riders we see such insane things that go on in the streets that is missed by the average person. We become more aware of our surroundings and are constantly searching. I’m really not after shooting the next big riding shot or pretty picture. Although I still do, I’m really looking for what lies on the sideline. These photos showcased here were all shot with film, which can be difficult process compared to shooting with a digital camera. It’s more of luck when shooting with film, there’s always that 50-50 chance a photo will come out how you want it to be. It’s also a real treat when getting to develop rolls that sometimes you don’t remember where you shot them or what is on them. This is why I enjoy and prefer to shoot film because of how rad the process is. In this article I pull out some of my favorite photos from PROTO’s SF trip last year as well as one from the shop that are some of my favorites now depicted on PROTO’s new site.



Brandon Kilbury scooterflip

This shot of Brandon Kilbury has to be one of my favorite photos. BK did a front scooter flip over this rail and into a bank. Despite taking some pretty gnarly slams, ripping his pants, and having to borrow Zack’s Supreme pants, he was able to land it perfectly. I was able to capture his precise execution of the trick. By capturing his one hand on the bar and one in the air, his scooter flipped upside down, and his body and legs over the rail. I only shot one photo of him doing this and quite frankly it came out perfectly. The composition really portrays how gnarly the bank is, the stairs are, and how sick the trick is. This photo can be viewed on Brandon Kilbury’s profile as well as in Scoot Mag Issue 24.



scan 5

As mentioned in the previous photo, BK took a slam attempting the front scooter flip and landed on the bank thus ripping his pants. He then had to borrow Zack’s expensive Supreme pants from what I remember and wearing those to land the trick. I decided to shoot a photo of BK as this happened because it was all pretty funny. I love this photo because it portrays BK’s shocked facial expression in amazement after the slam he took. I can’t believe he was able to have a smile on his face after slamming hard and flipping his body over and somersaulting down the bank. I guess he was just in awe that his pants had a huge gash in them haha. I love the contrast as to how this photo came out. Which is seen in the bottom corner shadow of his scooter, and the contrast on his body and face from light to dark. Anyway, it was all gnarly and pretty funny. This photo does justice as to what BK went through in order to land that front scooter flip seen above.



Alex Steadman In The Trees

This photo of Alex Steadman is definitely rad one. We took a day trip to the city where we went to the famous bank spot at Fort Miley. Eventually, Alex, Addison, and I decided to go on a hike from the top of Fort Miley down to the beach while the other dudes were getting clips. During the hike down Alex decided to climb a pretty tall tree to either look out ahead in order to peep the Golden Gate Bridge or take a wiz. Either way it was intriguing to me to take a picture of him posted up high in the tree. I really like how I was able to capture his facial expression of him looking out into the distance in this photo. I also like how the picture came out as well as its composition. Meaning there are 2 parts to the photo. Alex being the dominant focus point and the trees before and after being the subordinate elements to the photo.They all tie in leading your eye to him. @Alex, this is our time! This photo can be viewed on Alex’s profile.



Proto Team SF trip

As BK’s photos are overall my favorite in the roll, this shot of TGE’s Vista Time Machine has to be a runner up as one of my favorites for sure. One of the days we took a trip over to Treasure Island which is between Oakland and SF. As we got to the first spot BK had twisted his leg which ultimately led him to depart and fly back home later that day. As we rode a couple spots on the island we also explored it. We went up to a lookout spot overlooking the bay bridge where we shot some team photos. Andrew then decided to drive the van up towards the rocks next to the bay where we then shot some more team photos. This photo sums up that day of chilling on the island. It also shows how windy it was that day as Matt is being overtaken by the wind and other team photos on the site depict how windy is was. What really sticks out to me in this photo is the faint outline of the city as well as the Transamerica tower in the back and the van right next to that. It all ties in together and shows how the van made the journey up to SF.



Andrew Broussard Treasure Island

Andrew is one of the most extraordinary individuals I’ve ever met and is also very gnarly when it comes to scootering and and his mind towards designing new parts. During the treasure island day we decided to explore around the island by driving the van on rugged roads and near the water as seen in the previous shot. This photo depicts how Andrew is exploring the island and his mission to find and seek the unseen. This photo of Andrew is pretty gnarly because of how close he is to the edge of the cliff next to the street. Also how close the cars heading over the bay bridge are to him. This photo can be viewed in Andrew’s profile in the team section.



Chema Cardenas Welding

Chema is hard working both on and off the scooter. When he’s not out killing it on the pegs or in Guadalajara, Mexico he’s usually in the PROTO shop welding bars. I was down at the PROTO shop back in February when Chema was in town and when I was riding through the shop I saw him welding some bars. So I decided to take a photo behind him working with a point-n-shoot I had brought along with me. I really like this photo because first of all it shows that the PROTO parts are made by riders for riders which is really rad. I also love the exposure and contrast in this photo. The light above him illuminates his workspace and whiteboard as well as the light coming through the shop showing the outline of some stacked bars on the left and an empty bar placement holder on the right. The photos underexposure of light in certain areas of the photo make it rad. This photo can be viewed in Chema’s profile.



scan 2

This photo is awesome and really sums up what else happened during the SF trip last year. During one of the days we were riding and filming at a spot in front of a building in Oakland for about an hour. As we headed back to the van and started driving down the street we drove passed the spot again and saw three hooded individuals who seemed to be looking for us who had just gotten out of their car. They saw our van and deadeye stared us for a solid minute before getting back in their car rapidly and following us. Two months prior to this as mentioned in the introduction of this article I got robbed at gunpoint of my HVX in this same situation with three hooded individuals in the city of Oakland. So I was in the same situation once more and it got pretty tense. Their car began to follow and tailgate the van for a couple miles. In the van,  Andrew I guess had brought a bunch of tools and other survival weapons in a bag up on the trip. I remember we all began to arm ourselves with knives, axes, hammers, and other weapons in fear of them getting out and attacking the van at a stoplight. I’m pretty sure McKeen even grabbed a machete hahaha. After a solid 30 minutes or so of driving around we then lost them and then decided to get out of Oakland and head to Berkeley. We pulled over and as I was in the van Andrew was holding the tools demonstrating his plan of attack if the van was attacked. Alex Steadman was also showing his fighting skills too. This was a close attempt at the van getting robbed and a lot of good footage being gone. Thank god we were able to loose these thugs.

In all, these photos really show what happens on scooter trips and when out in the streets. As scooter riders we never know what might happen when we travel and explore. I haven’t released much of my photography work to the public via social media because I’ve kept it more personal. But in this past year I’ve been more dedicated and decided that I really need to showcase my work in the scootering community. This is why some of my work is displayed throughout the new PROTO site. I’ve taken photography a bit more seriously on my personal part and have built a website, which you can view here at : DAVIDLCOE.NET . I’m also working on a zine (mini-photo book) with a local publisher right now which will feature photos from my past scooter trips and other new shenanigans not seen on my site. That zine will be out HELLA SOON so keep up on my instagram (@davidlcoe) for that as well as PROTO’s. In the future I plan to work on a zine documenting PROTO’s scooter trips, so be on the lookout for those and other photo articles here up on the site. Thanks for reading up, check out the rest of PROTO’s site and keep shredding!


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