Rhino, with a name like that you’d expect a big, mouth frothing, nostril flaring beast – and actually, you’d be half right. Come to think of it, I don’t even know the guy’s real name. Well, the point is, he’s one of the nicest, coolest people you’ll meet in this wide world of skateshredding.
The best photographers are personalities – that’s why skaters want to shoot and travel with them. Wanna hop in the car and do a month-long roadtrip from Cali to Florida? Rhino’s down ’cause he’s done it before. Drink on the hill at Marseille then carve the bowl at 3am? Rhino’ll take the first run.
The last time I saw Rhino who shoots for Thrasher Magazine, he was piss-drunk at some ASR party at the House Of Blues in San Diego. He and Lizard King started moshing around too close to the bar and doused my girlfriend and I with their drinks. Upon realizing it was my pal Rhino, I went over and said something like, “Hey Rhino, you got me all wet!” as I poured a little bit of my drink on the front of his shirt to return the favor. He simply looked at me with a sauced up 20-mile stare and instinctively slapped the bottom of my cup in an upward direction dumping the remaining portion of my drink into my face. Now how can you get mad at a guy like that? – Blair Alley – TWS
Chris Rooney aka “Rhino”
How long have you been a photographer?
Counting a shitty point and shoot since 1979.
How did you get into skate photography?
Just growing up reading Skateboarder Magazine and eventually moving out to California and documenting places where I skated to send to my friend back in MA. And being around really good skateboarding out here and knowing and skating with pros. Also when I started skating a lot of backyard pools in the early 90’s.
Is there an image that inspired you so much to take up photography?
I didn’t select an image (there are too many) that wanted me to take up photography, it was just years of reading magazines and eventually being around good skateboarding that got me into it.
Instead we have a shot of Rhino wasted under a truck in Boston MA, afeer skating a pool, seeing Poison Idea and sinking too many beers and some wacky tabaccy at a house party! ha! I love this guy!
What were the best and worst bits of advice anyone gave you in regards to photography?
Read a book, take a b/w class and trial and error.
Have you ever felt bad about taking a photo? If so, which one?
Please tell us why you have picked your fave skate shot you have submitted?
It’s a shot of Jeff Grosso photo at Belmars pool. I was starting to shoot photos and didn’t know how to line up the shot. Like hey Jeff can you do this trick here so I can shoot. So I was just trying to figure out where he was going to come up the wall and finally got a good photo, didn’t even know what trick he was going to do. But anything he does is on point.
True – What were the best and worst days shooting skateboarding of your life ever and why?
The worst is when your gear breaks. The best days are usually on trips when the whole crew is breaking it off all day and you are tripping on how much shit you shot that day when you are at the bar getting loaded.
What’s the relationship like between a photographer and filmer?
Good and bad, depends on the filmer. If its Pstone, its fucking great!!!
What main advice would you give to upcoming skate photographers?
Study the skate mags for tips and don’t be a photo goon. Skate.
Please tell us about the non skate shot you have submitted and the story behind it.
Chet Childress wanted to kick flip this set by the beach and he was getting ready and all these people kept getting in his way. Totally fucked up his concentration and he was over it! So I shot this photo of what most people think stairs are for.
Are there ways of getting better/free equipment as you continue to grow or do you have to fund everything yourself?
Working for a magazine will help a lot, but usually you need to purchase your own gear.
Is the work of a skate photographer well paid? Do you get by in life with this income alone?
Depends how much you want to work, just like anything else. Depends on how you work with skaters, your photo qualtity and not being a fag on the road!
Does music ever inspire your photography? What music artists can you not leave for a tour without?
Budweiser beer – when you open them is music to my ears – they make the best sound ad helps dealing on tour.
If you were to buy a pocket snapper for capturing skating on a budget to get going, which camera would you suggest?
Pocket snapper sounds kind of fishy, I try and get the real snapper if you know what I’m saying. Any 35mm slr that sync’s at 1/250th.
Would you recommend digital or film?
Film for stills and digital for sequences.
What are the benefits of using film or digital?
Film still looks better and takes more skill.
What kit do you use?
Hasselblad and some first model digital seq Canon.
Your photography website address if you have one?