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Let's Recognize how Badass Glen E. Friedman is

Glen E. Friedman is one of the most influential photographers of his time. As a child, he loved to skateboard in the West Los Angeles where he grew up. But his career in photography began in 1976 when he got some friends to skateboard in an empty swimming pool. After contacting SkateBoarder, his photos were published in ads. Still, in high school, he became the youngest staff member in the company.

 

In the eighties, he began photographing punk bands, and from there, his career only flourished, and in 2012 he was inducted as an Icon into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. To honor his photography, let's take a look at some of his most amazing, prominent photos.

The Inspiration

This photo perfectly represents where it all began: skateboarding in an empty pool. In his lifetime, Glen E. Friedman photographed nearly every famous skateboarder known by the majority of people today. This one here is Jay Adams, and this picture is made even more powerful by the fact that he died in 2014 of a heart attack, 36 years after the photo was taken.

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The Inspiration

The Sky is the Limit

This photo, taken thousands of feet in the air, perfectly demonstrates the many angles of Glen E. Friedman. He is known for taking grungy photos. But the purity of this image shows us that there is more to him than most people think. 

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The Sky is the Limit

When I See His Photos

This is the face I make when I see Glen's photos. All kidding aside, the candid shot that this captures is hard to get. You may see a meme, but I see a genuine shot of Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat. The band disbanded the following year, again, making the importance of the photo all the more relevant. 

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When I See His Photos

Ice-T Before He was Ice-T

Before he was Ice-T, he was Tracy Lauren Marrow. But today, he is known as one of the greatest rappers of his time who doubles as an actor. The funny thing is, when this photo was taken, his now wife, was just seven years old! Today, the two have a reality TV show! 

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Ice-T Before He was Ice-T

Going Under

This was the year it all started 1976. Paul Constantineau may not be well known today, but he was one of Glen's first subjects and a good one at that. At the time, the perspective that Glen had was unmatched and is what made his career blossom.

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Going Under

How Cool

Even more well-known than Ice-T is LL Cool J, the actor, rapper, and author. This photo was taken when he was just 16-years old! It's as if everyone that Glen photographs becomes a legend. In fact, this was the year LL Cool J released his first album under Def Jam Recordings.

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How Cool

Shogo

Shogo Kubo's story isn't well known, but he was one of the original Z-Boys. He was born in Japan, and Jay Adams was one of his first real friends after moving to the US.  Like Jay, he died in 2014. Since Glen caught snaps of them the same year, likely the same day, this is amazing as it shows the connection the two had.

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Shogo

Perfection Through Imperfection

Another important shot that shows the diversity of Glen. He saw what no one else did. This could very likely be the reason he photographed so many bands and athletes that would one day become legends. He could see what no one else could. He saw perfection through imperfection.

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Perfection Through Imperfection

Never Surrender

This photo proves that he could see legends before they were famous. Black Flag might have been known in 1983, but looking at this raw photo, you can see it was as casual as they come. It is very reminiscent of a garage performance and displays garage concerts with amazing accuracy. 

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Never Surrender

Raw, Real, and Dogtown

Another photo of Paul Constantineau shows yet another beautiful perspective of skateboarding. This was most likely one of the original DogTown boards as well, in its natural, teen-scrawled form. Welcome to the 70s.

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Raw, Real, and Dogtown

KISS and Make-Up

So, maybe KISS isn't here, but Make-up, the 1990s punk rock band is. The gospel-based band was formed the very year this photo was taken in 1995. If anything, this shot should have been an album cover as it captures the wild side of the band, while maintaining the conservative, gospel side of them.

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KISS and Make-Up

The Other Side

Do a 180, and you'll see the other side of things, as Glen obviously did. The basis of this photo is unknown to most, but something about it speaks so many volumes, you won't know what to think. To think that a skater and rock band photographer would see this forces you to see the bigger picture and not judge a book by its cover.

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The Other Side

Beastie Timing

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Beastie Timing

Intensity of Performing

This photo is pure gold. Glen deserves an award for perspective so raw and gritty. A close-up of the hand of a guitarist performing in front of his fans isn't done often. The detail that this took to observe was outstanding and is a perfect display of adding emotion to the art of photography. 

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Intensity of Performing

That's Perspective

Again, with this man's perspective! Taken at a Fugazi concert, this foot pedal close-up also deserves an award. Glen makes us feel as if we are there, watching (or stalking) the band from side-stage. This ability is sought after by the greatest of photographers.

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That's Perspective

Higher Ground

Getting a shot of a skater while inside the bowl is no easy feat, as it isn't readily allowed. But somehow, Glen ‘snuck' in and snapped a few. He not only capture the grab at the perfect moment but also got a great shot of the adoring crowd. 

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Higher Ground

Life, Love, and Relativity

The origins of this photo are unknown, but with all of the music, boards, concrete, crowds, and noise, this piece of peace is much needed for all of those involved in the performing industry. It holds more than peace, a long life. As well as the perspective of the house that was once a tree like the one it's standing under.

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Life, Love, and Relativity

Mullen It Over

If Tony Hawk is the most famous skater of all time, Rodney Mullen is the second. This fresh-faced shot of the young Mullen is extremely rare. But if you'll look closely, you'll see the skill he had at the time. 

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Mullen It Over

You May Be Cool

You may be cool, but you'll never be as cool as Glen E. Friedman with Sean Penn, the Beastie Boys, and David Lee Roth at Madonna's party in 1986. Never. You can literally spend your whole life trying and this moment will never fail to surpass you.

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You May Be Cool

Let Me Tell You a Story

The best part about this photo is not just that Glen got a candid shot of Mike Tyson. But rather, the story behind it. Mike Tyson was trying to tell Glen a story but was frustrated that he wouldn't stop taking pictures. 

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Let Me Tell You a Story

Slayer

It's 1987, and you're at a Slayer concert for Reign in Blood. You capture the perfect shot of Kerry King during a performance. Your life is now complete. If you've ever been to a metal concert, you'll know that there is hardly a better representation of the performers on stage.

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Slayer

Steve and Rodney

So, maybe this picture is cooler than Madonna's party, at least for skateboarders. In this photo, Glen captures a very young Rodney Mullen with none other than Steve Caballero. No one but a few school buddies knew them at the time. But Glen knew that these two would make skateboarding history.

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Steve and Rodney
Nathan

Article WriterNathan

Let us introduce you to the Listicle Liege, the Article Aficionado, the one and only Nathan. Since creating his first photo collage at the age of five with images clipped from his mom’s Chatelaine magazines (all of them), it’s been nearly impossible to stem this one’s tide of visual learning. Be it the annals of history or the latest celeb gossip, Nathan has probably researched it, likely already has a folder of relevant photos on his desktop, and definitely learned a lot of interesting facts to go with those images. Whereas most well-read adults have bookshelves full of classic literature, Nathan’s stacks are composed of National Geographic and TIME special editions and a curated section of first-grade readers (for inspiration). If you prefer picture books to wordy novels, listicles by Nathan are right up your alley.

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