Behind the Scenes with Pro Skateboarder Turned Photographer Arto Saari

Arto Saari is one of professional skateboarding’s legends, but Saari has another passion as well: photography. In the video above, Oakley takes us behind the scenes on Saari’s first skateboarding trip where he was hired specifically to take photos of people doing gnarly tricks, instead of performing them himself.

It’s not atypical for big-time skateboarding photographers to have been skateboarders themselves (in fact, you pretty much expect it), but Saari is different. He was a legendary skateboarder that is now as in demand as a photographer as he was as a 16-year-old phenom.

The video goes behind the scenes on an Oakley sponsored trip to Australia with four of the biggest names in skateboarding: Ryan Sheckler, Eric Koston, Rune Glifberg and Curren Caples. In his own words, Saari says he was “sh**ting [his] pants for two weeks packing for this trip,” making sure he was ready to take the best photos he possibly could.

Here’s a selection of photographs Saari captured while in Australia:









The skateboarders on the trip were almost as nervous about performing for Saari and Saari was about executing for them. As one of the pros explains in the video “having a legend take a photo of you almost makes you feel like ‘sh**, do I belong here?'”

Check out the video at the top to see Saari at work in Australia, and if you’re interested in skateboarding beyond just the photographic side, check out Oakley‘s full article on the trip, “Fear & Loathing in Australia,” by clicking here.

Image credits: Photographs by Arto Saari and used with permission

  • Ryker

    Atro is the best!!

  • Ryker


  • worker88

    He has some really solid work.

  • BDWT

    Woot! Arto! He ought to be “Sorry” for killing it! Hah. Couldn’t resist the old video reference!

  • San Diego Portrait

    Love these action shots.

  • kizi 2

    Yes, it’s wonderful

  • Christoffer Rosenfeldt

    Top-left FTW!! :)

  • Tim

    Skateboarding and photography have a lot of things in common, they both teach you to look at things from a different perspective. Instead you’re looking at a set of steps or block and thinking “How can i skate that?” whereas the normal person on the street dosen’t see what you see. It’s the same with photography – you look at the lines, symmetry and the light and you pick something interesting out of the ordinary. You could go even further and say that each photographer has a bag of “tricks” up their sleeve they can use to enhance the image in the same way that a skateboarder uses tricks. The creative process is very similar.

  • Pascal

    thanks. couln’t have said it any better.

  • Adam Cross

    really cool seeing some more skateboarding coverage on PP lately =D Arto is a big favourite of mine, on or off his skateboard, awesome guy.

  • BDWT

    Well said. The ability to see urban spaces in more ways than their primary function and design originally intended, is what I find so appealing about the sport. No two skaters skate the exact same way on the same spot just like no two photographers will see an image the exact same way. The minor differences and details are what make or break an image, likewise for a skateboard photo or video part.