Welcome to another week of Comacan questions. One thing we can say for certain is that every single person we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing has brough forth their passion into every answer to each question we’ve asked. Without giving anything away that is exactly what our guest this week did, he dove in with great depth into the answers he gave us including what he uses to do what he does and exactly what these things mean to him. We are so grateful to share this week’s interview, suggested by one of our supporters, with Rory Procyk.
What inspired you to get into photography?
Literally skateboarding. I often tell the story about how skateboarding was the first thing that changed my perspective of the world. As a kid I used to think maybe everyone just sees the world the same, it just is. But skateboarding as everyone who’s in it knows that you no longer look at a park bench or stair set the same. It gave me a new filter as I like to call it to see the world differently. I saw magazines and videos as a kid and was always blown away by the world they created through their vision, I wanted to do that. I wanted to capture life and showcase it in my world and how I saw it. Now I photograph people from all walks of life and am adding new filters to see the world through their eyes.
What do you like most about photographing skateboarding and snowboarding?
I like that it is infinite. That there are no rules. And the only limitations are in your own head. You can literally do anything and everyday something is new. I love showcasing a different reality, I don’t just like capturing a trick. I enjoy capturing a moment, showcasing the scene. I just like collaborating with the skater or snowboarder and working together on how to translate their style and personality through a trick. I love how a million people can do the same trick but it’s not about what is done always, it’s about how it’s done. You’re not going to get a straight answer for any of these questions aha.
What unique challenges are presented photographing either one?
When I take photos on film, I find it easier to edit because the colours or contrast with black and white is pretty much how I like it but also it kind of is what it is. I struggle with digital in the fact that editing is infinite, and I truly believe that art is never finished just abandoned. That goes for editing a single photo or a video edit. It’s tough because you always find a way you would do things differently but in a way, I embrace that second thought later on and just accept it as learning and a progression. Also finding the right angle or 1 singular perfect shot. That’s got to be the hardest because I never see it as one, I always want to take multiple photos or video angles in different ways.
I have so many different ideas and creative paths that I try to separate the ideas aha
Do you skateboard or snowboard yourself?
I skated since I was 10 and actually stopped for a few years. I came back to it recently because there was a void inside of me, something that was missing. And I haven’t stopped since. I’m more so filming on the board than actually doing tricks, but I prefer to document and shoot more anyways. Snowboarding I have when I was younger but not really. Last winter filming and taking photos of the boys in the streets was like when I first found skateboarding, so I’m super stoked to get back out again this winter and film and shoot more. It’s totally different and the ability to use the snow and your environment differently is such a game changer for snowboarding in the streets, it’s so sick.
What do you use to shoot your videos and photos?
Videos I use a VX1000 or VX2000. I keep breaking VX1000’s and I still have the same VX2000 from 6 years ago, so I think that says something. For b-roll I have Sony HI-8 cameras I use to get a different feel for footage, but those cameras are even more unreliable, I have like 4 and pick the one that wants to work for the day and just go with it aha. For digital photos I use a Sony A7II and adapt vintage Nikon or Leica glass to. That camera is a chameleon it’s so cool but colour shifting on old glass can be frustrating to edit sometimes. And the camera that will be buried with me is my Leica MP film camera. I usually shoot Kodak Trix 400 in it but have tried more Portra 400 & 800 lately. I believe in finding the right tool that works for you and captures the world how you want it to be captured.
What does skateboarding/snowboarding mean to you?
Pretty much everything. It defines so much; I’ll try to unpack. Most importantly is a family. A big part of what I believe true to life, is family. Skateboarding is that ice breaker, it’s amazing how quick you become friends with people -from all walks of life- just because you skate. The connections you make are unmatched and authentic, you bond over a piece of wood and a turning mechanism, it is just so crazy. It’s definitely saved my life; it gives me purpose and a reason to look forward to tomorrow. I think a huge component is how strong it develops you mentally. The ability to envision something and bring it to fruition is something I don’t think skaters stop for a second and consider. The way a property developer sees a piece of land or the way Steve Jobs developed all the Apple products. Those things were all thoughts that were brought to real life that change the world, skateboarding is same, but I feel like it’s a personal battle and you change your world. The ability to create something out of nothing, seeing a ditch and envisioning how you can make it your playground is what I respect about all of us. We don’t need much, and we can have fun for hours. This is something that cannot be bought or sold, if you get it, you get it. The amount of personal development and success I see in people that skateboard is unmatched. Pushing through physical and mental pain just to do some trick seems absurd and trivial to an outsider, and I absolutely love that. I love that people don’t get it, that they think you’re just going to get hurt. To me that’s all you need to know in anything in life that you’re on the right track. That’s what separates us, that we push for something greater in this life, we want something more. We can be unemployed, make minimum wage, or millionaires but you still get out there and go after something that this world can’t bring you or explain, but only you and a skateboard can. I honestly don’t know why we do it, I honestly don’t know why I take photos or video and have this burning passion. All I know is that there is something more to this life that I feel when doing it. I could go on forever but let’s just leave it at that aha.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
Everyone that I have met along my journey, all the people on the streets that were kind enough to let me take their photo and to all of those that didn’t. Everyone who has let me into their life and let me document it. All of those that have listened to me rant about life, and to all those that have been patient enough to share their stories with me. All the homies in the Barrie skate scene that have been nothing but kind letting me into their lives and letting me capture the good times, I am forever grateful. My parents for documenting my life and influencing me to document mine. My lovely girlfriend Kaleigh for letting me run off and live my passion. Thank you, CoMaCan Skateboards, for putting up with my long answers. And Alexander for whom I assume recommended me for the interview.