It was 4AM and the streets of Philadelphia were wet and shiny. One of the guys in the entourage started skitching on the side of old-ass limo, the kind with the boomerang attached the trunk, when a middle finger presented itself from out the window. Certainly one of the more brilliant things I’ve seen at that hour.
It was either a roadie or a townie, but he bet me $100 that I couldn’t kickflip on his longboard. The board was about as long as a car bumper and the wet griptape was slicker than a seal. But through sheer force I pulled it off. Of course I didn’t get the $100. But I think I did earn the respect of Jamie Smith from The XX who I’d been photographing for my first feature for The FADER. It was our last few minutes hanging out, after days of slinking through greenrooms and backstage of theaters. Going into this, I knew two things about Jamie — that he was a musical genius and that he was notoriously quiet. Talking with him, I learned that he was a skateboarder. We bro’ed down over that and Jamie let me do my thing.
But still, having some creepy dude (me) follow you through the innards of a theater or the afterhours club with a camera always dangling from his neck doesn’t really have a calming effect. At least until my kickflip. Then wading through the soggy streets to the tour bus, I finally felt like one of the gang. Even if I didn’t take any more pictures, I knew I could and it would be alright. Even if it couldn’t change the content of the photos I already shot, it did change what they mean to me. This is my friend of a few days, Jamie XX, and this is his story.