Rich Gilligan

Rich Gilligan

My Sweet Shot — First up in our My Sweet Shot series, where photographers zone in on an iconic shot from their archives, is Irish skate shooter Rich Gilligan.

To celebrate Huck 46: The Documentary Photography Special II, our annual celebration of visual storytelling, we are having a Huck website takeover – Shoot Your World – dedicated to the personal stories behind the photographs we love.

In this regular series, My Sweet Shot, we ask photographers to zone in on a single photograph from their archives that they feel best embodies the questions they’re broaching, generally, with their work.

First up is a Huck favourite Rich Gilligan, whose fine art approach to skate photography – like his stunning series on DIY skateparks around the world – has taken the genre into a new realm.

My Sweet Shot

By Rich Gilligan

Bruce Kelliher, Kenmare Co.Kerry, Ireland. 2000

“This photograph was a pivotal moment for me and my path in photography. For a number of reasons it still resonates with me as much today as it did when I first printed it in the darkroom beneath the Gallery of Photography in Dublin 14 years ago.

The subject of the photo is one of my best friends, Bruce, and it reminds me so much of a time in our lives when we were both totally obsessed with skateboarding. If we weren’t skating, we were talking about skating, constantly planning road trips everywhere, making zines and just so hungry for it all. This picture ended up running as a double spread in the late, great SLAP Magazine from San Francisco and it was the first time I had ever had anything published or Bruce had any real coverage.

This photograph very quickly opened so many doors for us both and within a year of publication Bruce was a legit sponsored skater getting recognition for his unique on-edge style, which a good friend once described as “a ballerina on acid”. I was also suddenly getting regular paid work from various skate magazines and travelling the world shooting with people I’d always looked up to.

Luck plays a big role in all our lives but I’m a firm believer that you make you own luck in this world and this photograph sums all of that up for me in a single image.”