The Photographic Journal

Manual

Essay 386 • Jan 28th 2019

MANUAL is the culmination of a year-long, collaborative photography project featuring the work of 12 fellow photographers who I commissioned to create small bodies of work surrounding their individual experiences with a single handmade skateboard that traveled between them over the course of a year—all without the creative constraints typically associated with an assignment brief. No mandatories beyond producing photographic images; no required content to capture, no number of images to turn in, no stylistic direction to consider, etc.

Really, I launched MANUAL to provide other creatives with a context in which they could explore unbridled expressions of their work. That freedom was something I was able to fashion for myself by launching Side Project Skateboards as my own business back in 2013. In contrast to what was then my day job at a design agency, I could actually pursue what felt compelling as creative director of my own company. That was incredibly liberating, and once I realized how precious—and replicable—that was, I came up with the concept behind MANUAL to share that opportunity with others to see where they could take it. This resulted in what I think is a wonderfully diverse, 160-page hardcover book featuring 12 distinct photographic approaches to the same challenge.


Henry O. Head


Henry O. Head


Henry O. Head


Henry O. Head


Lauren Marek


left: Lauren Marek, right: Lauren Marek


Sera Lindsey


Sera Lindsey


left: Joshua Anderson, right: Joshua Anderson


Joshua Anderson


Melissa Laree Cunningham


Melissa Laree Cunningham


Weston James Palmer


Weston James Palmer


left: Weston James Palmer, right: Weston James Palmer


Yana Yatsuk


left: Yana Yatsuk, right: Yana Yatsuk


Kirk Chambers


Kirk Chambers


Kirk Chambers


left: Christian Gideon, right: Christian Gideon


left: Adrian O. Walker, right: Adrian O. Walker


Paige French


Paige French

 

On the surface, Side Project Skateboards is a one-man skateboard company that crafts vintage-inspired cruiserboards from found and recovered hardwoods and American-made components. Beneath that however, it is a platform for creative experimentation and collaboration, which has garnered a global following. It was launched in 2013 by Jake Eshelman, who still works as the company’s creative director and sole craftsman in addition to his photography practice.

CREDITS

Contributors:

Lauren Marek
Website | Instagram
(Brenham, TX)

 

Paige French
Website | Instagram
(Athens, GA)

 

Melissa Laree Cunningham
Website | Instagram
(Dallas, TX)

 

Adrian O. Walker
Website | Instagram
(Oakland, CA)

 

Henry O. Head
Website | Instagram
(Point Lookout, MO)

 

Sera Lindsey
Website | Instagram
(Cody, WY)

 

Joshua Anderson
Website | Instagram
(Berlin, Germany)

 

Yana Yatsuk
Website | Instagram
(Venice, CA)

 

Weston James Palmer
Website | Instagram
(Los Angeles, CA)

 

Christian Gideon
Website | Instagram
(Springfield, MO)

 

Kirk Chambers
Website | Instagram
(Charleston, SC)

 

Concept & Creative Direction:

Jake Eshelman
Website | Instagram
(Houston, TX)

 

Design Direction:

Daniel Pagan
Website | Instagram
(Houston, TX)