The day Jacob Rosenberg shot still

June 28, 2013
by Seb Carayol


We found some rare photo gems for the FTC book! Jacob Rosenberg -The name rings a bell, right? You might have heard about his modest documentary abilities (as in : The Danny Way epic biopic), or his filming of Golden Age Embarcadero, but a more little known fact is that Jacob, before being Mr cinematographer extraordinaire, did shoot a few really cool photographs of Jovontae, Mike Carroll, and a few others, around 1990.  How come they were never seen until today? Just because he sent them all, back in the day, to a tiny French skate mag –which I happen to read every month, back in the homeland. Lucky strike indeed… Let’s see how life was when Jacob was just “Jake”. 

Seb Carayol: From when to when were you a photographer and not a videographer?
Jacob Rosenberg: I was always a videographer first and a photographer second. I worked for a French skate mag and because I was in the Bay, I would send them articles and stories about SF-related skaters and spots. I started shooting video in 88, but my first pic was published in 89 and I started working for the magazine taking pictures on and off from 90-92ish (when I moved to SD). I got paid to film from like 1990 onwards.

Who did you shoot with mainly?
I started by filming Greg Carroll and the Think skaters like Karl Watson, Sam Smyth, Nick Lockman, Jason Adams, etc. But we’d always end up at EMB, so naturally I filmed everyone who was there skating at the time ; Wing-Ding for DTS, Kelch and Henry for Real, etc. When I first started going to EMB I think I may have been the first kid who was their same age who filmed everyone. I remember Aaron Meza coming up as the next local shooter as I was moving to San Diego.

Your photos were virtually unseen in the US -how come?
I never had any of my photos published in the States because I was working for the French Magazine No Way which became Anyway. By the time I started working for Plan B, my photos usually ended up as Plan B ads or in Big Brother. I have tons and tons of unseen pics because I would always have my camera, but I didn’t always have an outlet for putting the pictures out.

It seems that once you switched to video you never really got back into photography, is that a correct assumption?
Not quite. It’s as I said, I had an outlet for my video work, but not for my photography work. Once I moved to SD and starting making the Plan B videos full time, I pretty much couldn’t consistently send photos and articles to France. I did however end up shooting a ton of pics and videos for the first 8 issues of Big Brother, so I guess that was the only other outlet.

What was more difficult -filming or shooting these guys?
Filming was more difficult because of the volume of repetition to get the trick. In that era you wouldn’t try and take a photo of a trick that they hadn’t landed yet, so filming sessions were long, whereas a photo shoot would be talking about a cool trick or cool spot, going there, getting the photo and then trying to film a trick that they hadn’t done.

What’s your funniest Embarcadero/FTC skaters-related moment?
There are so many memories from Kelch skating in his boxers, to listening to Wing-Ding talk, Mike Carroll’s nollie flip of the Gonz where my camera broke, to a vagrant who passed out on the wave and someone put firecrackers under him and lit them and he didn’t wake up. It was an amazing scene and an amazing moment in time. I have so many memories and so much footage… all of it sounds exactly the same: clack, clack, clack, clack, clack…

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