Skateboard Photographer Talks Travelling the World with Camera and Board in Tow

It started with a trip to Hong Kong. That’s what got skateboard photographer Jonathan Mehring hooked on travelling. But while there are a lot of photographers that travel the world capturing different cultures, Mehring was more interested in answering the question: “is it even possible to skate some of these places?”

This short interview was put together by The Photographer Series, a site by multimedia storyteller Andrew Norton that dedicates itself to telling the stories behind some of skateboarding’s coolest images — and Mehring has captured some awesome images.


The lifestyle he’s built for himself — travelling all over the world with his skateboarder friends, exploring cultures and grinding rails thousands of miles from home, and then making a living publishing those photos in skateboarding magazines — is surreal to him:

People probably think it’s stupid, you know what I mean? Some people, but enough people think it’s cool, I guess, so that I still have a job […] It’s kind of the balancing act, where you have to figure out: ‘alright, where is the gnarliest, culturally different place that I can go to that also [has] good enough ground, architecture, whatever, to be able to skate.?’ […] Somewhere that has texture in the background, and somewhere that’s different … that you haven’t seen before.

He and his friends have travelled to Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, the Canary Islands, Russia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and the Amazon, his skateboard and camera always at the ready. Here are some of the photos he’s captured along the way:
















Of course, there’s a lot of hard work involved too. Since it’s not a photo editor telling him to go do this, the burden of setting up these trips and getting everyone together is entirely on him. But, so far, the photos he’s captured and adventures he’s had as a result have been well worth the trouble.

“It’s just an expansion of the high school road trip,” says Mehring. “You got your drivers license and you’re heading out into the unknown.”

Check out the full video at the top (warning: he does drop the occasional curse word) to hear the entire story, head over to Mehring’s website to see more of his photography, and be sure to visit The Photographer Series website for more interviews with awesome skateboard photogs.

Image credits: Photographs by Jonathan Mehring and used with permission

  • Goofball Jones

    Honestly, one of reasons I got into Photography so long ago was because of skateboarding….but it was a lot different back then. We’re talking the late 70’s and the Z Boys were the big thing. I remember my heroes such as Lonnie Toft (I had his signature skateboard), Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and others.

    Skateboarder magazine was the big one to read back then, and they had awesome photos. It was the first time I saw slow shutter syncs with flashes to sort of catch the movement and frenzy. I wasn’t as good a skater as my friends, but I wasn’t bad at photographing them. I learned little by little. It’s also where I picked up my nickname Goofball Jones.

  • worldtraveler

    I like how the first still was in Istanbul but no mention of traveling to Turkey…

  • Scott

    Very cool images. I had no clue you could actually sell images to magazines anymore to make enough money to pay for the trips and make a living off of it.

  • CurrentCo

    just discovered this old post. what a huge inspiration to those of us who want to travel and do photography! thanks!