Andrew James Peters has been immersed in skateboarding since he was donning a school uniform. His formative years were spent rolling around with his best friend Chima Ferguson and flicking through the pages of Slam Magazine. An encounter with his dad's Minolta camera, as a means to keep up with Chima who was excelling in the Sydney skate scene, quickly turned into Andrew's ticket behind the lens.

Cover: Jake Anderson BS Smith. All Photos: Andrew James Peters // @andrewjamespeters 

The first roll of film Andrew ever shot won him an online skate photography competition, and his young doggedness to approach skate magazines at the time, whether it was posting photos to Slam HQ or rolling into ASM with a school backpack full of slide film, quickly caught the attention of the editors. Soon, AJP was being nurtured and mentored by skate photo legends Dave Chami and Mike O'Meally.

Andrew has consistently pushed the boundaries of skate photography. His skills behind the lens have seen him burgeon into one of the pre-eminent skate photographers, having captured many iconic moments within the culture. I first came into contact with AJP and his photography when we both worked at Monster Children – his images gracing many covers and double-page spreads within the magazine.

What always stood out to me in Andrew's work is his unique approach to framing shots. He often incorporates the surrounding environment to highlight the skater, showcasing a creative and considered perspective. Having always lauded Peters as a photographer, it was a privilege to catch up with him for our latest edition of Good Chat.

Brad Cromer, NYC


AJP, great to connect man. Let's kick this off. Tell us, what inspired you to first pick up a camera? 

Skateboarding. Every weekend, I'd head into the city and see these dudes I knew doing amazing stuff. I was obsessed with everything to do with skateboarding but I wasn't keeping up on the actual skating side of things myself. Skate photography was a necessity to stay somewhat relevant in my group of friends cause I was fairly useless on a skateboard. There was a monthly skate photo comp on I had the idea to borrow my dad's SLR camera and capture some shots of someone ripping over the weekend and enter the competition...

How'd you go?

I was lucky enough to win that comp with a photo of Jamie Hawley, heelflipping over the “silver rail” in Sydney. The frame was from the first roll of film I shot.

FIrst roll!? That must have skyrocketed the confidence...

Yeah, I think that really helped give me an early boost of inspiration and led me to believe I should keep on shooting photos and try to take it all seriously.

Do you remember what your dad's camera was?

It was a Minolta SLR. I'm not sure of the exact model. Soon after shooting my first roll of film, I bought a Nikon 801s from Guy Miller. I shot with that until it started to fall apart about a year ago. 

So, where did your love for skateboarding originate?

I thought skating was the coolest thing when I was really little, way before I attempted to skate myself. My parents gifted me a subscription to Slam Skate Magazine before I even owned a skateboard, and in hindsight, that might have been when my obsession with magazines started as well. 

Kader Sylla Kickflip

How has skateboarding influenced your photography process?

Skateboarding and shooting for skate mags completely formed my photography. In the beginning, and for a long time, I only cared about shooting the perfect textbook skate photo. How to light my shot like my other favourite skate photographers... always trying to get that pin-sharp photo that the mags wanted. I had to kind of unlearn all of that at some point, broaden my mind and accept that there were other ways to take photos. Even to shoot skating itself, I had to pull myself away from the typical three flashes and a fisheye kind of tradition.

You mentioned trying to emulate lighting like your favourite skate photographers. Did you have any influences or mentors when you were starting out?

My first main mentor was Guy Miller, the owner of Juice Clothing. He sponsored my best friend, Chima, and he was also shot skate photos. I did my high school work experience at Juice, where I gifted Guy a portrait of Chima that I had developed in my home darkroom. Without me knowing, Guy turned it in to Sean Holland at Australian Skateboard Magazine (ASM). They ran it as the portrait for Chima’s first full interview, which was also my first photo published. I think we were both 15 at the time. That was a pretty huge positive influence.

It sounds like you were surrounded by the right people...

I was lucky that the skate media people around me really nurtured my growth. The magazine editors, notably Jake Frost at Slam and Sean, who would go on to establish The Skateboarders Journal, both gave me a lot of time, advice and a bit of film to shoot. Dave Chami was still cutting his teeth in Sydney and was happy to share lots of knowledge with me as certain aspects of photography got more technical. And then there was Mike O’Meally too, who was already living in LA by the time I picked up a camera, but he was kinda like The Godfather of skate photography in Australia, and I was trying to become a made man, haha. 

How did you get your start shooting for skate magazines?

I don’t think the editors had a choice. I was the 16 year old sending letters about how I was an “up and coming skate photographer in Sydney”. I'd bombard them with sheets of slide film, then I'd call the editors office asking, “did you get them? Is anything going to run”.

I love the determination.

It's kind of wild to think that once a month, I would put my favourite photos together, package them up carefully and put them in an express post bag to the Gold Coast. We never sent scans to see if they wanted stuff, you'd just chuck your film in the post and hope the mags would send them back. The first time I went into the ASM office in Sydney, I was in my school uniform with a bag of slides and prints. Half way through our meeting, amidst going through my slides on the big light box, I realised I had left my trumpet down the street in the cinema and I had to run out to get it.

Haha, that's amazing...

The editor, Sean Holland, loved it and never stopped bringing that up, so I think a weird first impression helped my start.

Louie Lopez for Stance Socks

You also grew up skating with Chima. How was the dynamic between you as a photographer and him, one of the best skaters in the Sydney scene at the time?

We primarily had an old friendship. Chima and I began skating together when we were just eight years old; our birthdays are only a week apart. Chima was always miles ahead of me on a skateboard, and the gap between our abilities continued to get greater and greater. At the time, he was the best skateboarder in Sydney and I was not the best skate photographer. I was still learning the ropes. Chima shot most of his photos with the older guys, and I was just hanging in the background asking a million questions and packing up light stands. I was very much the apprentice. We have had more and more opportunities to shoot as we've gotten older.

What has always drawn me to your photos is your incredible knack to extend the scene or narrative beyond the skateboarder, often using the surrounding environment to frame or highlight your subject. Images that come to mind include the Taylor Kirby 'pink taco' shot for Thrasher, the West Adams Barrier shot taken from beneath a car, the rooftop image of Brian Dela in NYC, and the Sheckler kickflip in Sydney. What's your approach to framing up an image?

Mike O’Meally kinda blew my mind one night at the Gaslight Hotel in Sydney. I had been out shooting that day and I had the polaroid with me from my Hasselblad, which I was using as a lighting test (this was pre-digital light tests). Mike was like, “Did you stay in this spot to shoot the photo”? I confirmed I did, and he elaborated, “Dude, micro composition. You have to isolate the skateboarder. If you took a step to your left and a foot lower, you would have had the skateboarder completely in the sky, not obstructed by the tree”. 

It was so simple and obvious. I felt a little embarrassed and amateurish. However, I would never shoot another picture without searching for the frame within the frame in which to isolate the skateboarder. I put down the flashes for a couple of years too. I was trying to minimise my gear bag cause I was moving around a lot. Without the help of dramatic lighting to help the skateboarder pop out of an image, you have to really focus on your composition and find something in the environment to help lead your eyes to the skateboarder and make them stand out – find an empty square in the background or sky, or even use something in the foreground to help frame them.

Taylor Kirby Kickflip

What elements do you seek within a frame, and how far do you push these considerations?

Basically, my approach is to turn up to the spot and start running around like a madman figuring out the angle that is the most flattering for the skate trick but also has something interesting going on in the composition. 

Haha, observation is key.  How do you go about scoping spots to shoot? Do you lot put a lot of time and energy into sussing vantage points... climbing trees, rooftops etc?

There are moments when you arrive at a spot, and it just makes sense. You know exactly what you need to do and where to shoot the photo from. That's the best feeling. However, there are occasions where you are second guessing and experimenting with angles or positioning whilst the skater starts to figure out the spot. You want to make pretty quick and decisive decisions as to not throw the skateboarder off. They don’t want to put their bodies on the line while you’re running around like, “I don’t know if this is the best way to shoot it".

I do like the idea of shooting these skate tricks from interesting vantage points though. Places you typically wouldn't get to yourself or usually view skateboarding from. Hopefully, from these positions, I can add to the story a bit and give the photo and trick a bit of context of where we are in the world. More often than not, I find myself in a tree or on a rooftop. 

What's the wildest thing you've done to get the shot?

Hmmm. I’ve climbed every kind of fence, roof, bridge, highway, scaffolding, tree etc, so it is hard to have one scenario come to mind. More often than not, I find myself in some weird pose or location. I’ve spent a lot of time in gutters too. The worst is when you have to put up with a terrible smell to get a photo. 


Cat Power and Erik Ellington for Monster Children

How has your approach to photography changed over the last decade of shooting?

I realised I needed to learn how to shoot portraits. While I had previously taken a few portraits for people's interviews in magazine or tours, I hadn’t figured out how I could make them feel like my own. I had a method for shooting skate photos that, I feel, mostly made them distinguishable. However, this hadn't translated seamlessly to my portrait work. I'm still in the process of figuring it out. Which cameras I like to use, what film I want to shoot, and how to have a more distinguishable aesthetic.

Looking at your current body of work, it extends far beyond shooting skate – including portraiture, street and commercial work. What else do you enjoy taking photos of?

Portraits are my main focus at the moment. I Love shooting portraits and meeting interesting people. It is a whole new discipline. However, I find it really creatively fulfilling. You go into a shoot kind of knowing that you have this opportunity to create something you will really like... and you don’t have to worry about whether they land the trick or not! Skateboarding can get frustrating. Some of my favourite photos I've shot never saw the light of day because the skateboarder wasn’t able to land the trick.

Skepta and Naomi Campbell for BMW

Any frame you 'missed' that still haunts you?

I shot the first attempt of Chima’s kickflip at the Cook & Phillip 17. We were both like 16 years old, and that one was a little out of my depth. I shot a blurry black and white photo, similar in style to some of the photos I'd take later on. However, at the time, this wasn’t going to cut it. When Chima went back to try it again, he had Guy Miller shoot the photo, which ended up on the cover of Slam. I couldn’t argue with a $15,000 Hasselblad fisheye and blue skies.

Damn! You do, however, have quite the number of covers under your belt! Are there any that stand out as your potential favourites?

The Brian Delatorre Skateboarder cover was a really big moment for me. It was my first cover of an American skate magazine, so it felt like I was finally in the big leagues. It is a blurry black and white photo, unlike your normal skate cover with saturated colours and blue skies. It was like I had gotten my way on the cover, or something like that. It was how I was shooting photos at the time and was a good representation of how I wanted my photos to look. It was also a huge surprise. The cover came out right at Christmas time – just as I had returned to Sydney, after my second little stint living in New York. I was really proud of that one. 

Brian Delatorre, NYC Rooftops

You're currently residing in Los Angeles, right? How's life as an Australian living in LA?

I love it in LA. There’s so much going on and so many people constantly coming through town. I’ve been shooting more portraits, and it's a good place to track people down. I still miss and love Sydney, though. 

How would you describe the current scene over there?

It is just a big hustle, but that's good for now. There's lots of really talented people all in the one place, trying to create stuff. Skate-wise, there's so many skaters still going out, every single day. It’s exhausting and impossible to keep up with, but it’s pretty exciting too. 

Is it true you and Erik Ellington almost burnt down the Monster Children LA office shooting for cover for the Photo Annual, haha?

Not quite, but we did get them evicted. We had a pyrotechnic with us and everything was completely above board with the crew at Monster Children. Nothing was dangerous. However, there was this behind-the-scenes photo that got sent back to Campbell in Australia. He posted it on their instagram story with something like, “seems legal” as the caption. Sure enough, it got shared with the landlord. A day later, MC were sent an email saying they had breached their lease agreement and were getting evicted. It was worth it. The photos turned out. 

Eviction notice. Erik Ellington for Monster Children

Dream cover scenario... pick a skater, a spot, and a camera set-up. Who and what are you shooting?

I think we could all do with a couple more Dylan Rieder covers, so I’ll say Dylan in New York, shot on Pro 400h 35mm (discontinued), on the cover of Skateboarder Magazine, which was my favourite. RIP to three of the greats.

Tell us about "Please, Don't Forget This" with Austin and Jake... how much work and time went into creating that project with the Former guys?

It was all shot in 3 trips. Each trip was around 10 days each. Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia (and a quick day trip to Washington DC). It was really nice to have a very specific time constraint put on the project. The shooting started once we embarked on the trips, and ended when we went home. Austyn was busy working on the video, the brand itself, and his big move to Globe shoes, so he was totally fine just letting me do my thing with the book. That was my project, separate to all of his projects. Although I spent countless hours on the book, organising the logistics and labouring over photos, I also was able to delegate a few tasks, a bit more than other projects. I had Farran Golding conduct the interview with Austyn because I wanted to remove myself from that a bit. I also had my good friend, and frequent collaborator, Eric Mchenry, help me with the book's art direction. It was helpful having someone come in and make some basic decisions and sense out of a large series of photos.

The book got an incredible response. Any standout photos or moments from this project?

The whole project itself was just really fulfilling. With all the mags dwindling or dead, it was nice to work on a long form skate story, print it, and put it out in my own way. It was enlightening to realise that it was possible. The project felt whole. It was more than just an article in a magazine or a job that you get to see come to life in print. The response was really refreshing and encouraging.

"Please, Don't Forget This". Jake Anderson Kickflip

Can we expect another AJP book anytime soon? What projects are you cooking up at the moment?

Yes 100%! I  put that book out in 2021. Last year, I didn’t publish anything, and it felt like a major void. I had jumped back on board with Monster Children, and I think the constant grind of putting stories out and traveling for a magazine got in the way of me being able to focus on a bigger project. We’ve got a big year of stuff coming up at Monster Children, as it's the 20th year anniversary, and I'm still going to be a big part of that. However, I absolutely need to publish something else myself this year, also.

What cameras and film stock are you running at the moment?

I'm en route to Australia and I have a stupid amount of cameras and film with me. I have a Toyo 4x5 camera. For that, I have 320 Tri-X and Portra 160 sheet film. I also have an old Hasselblad 500cm with a 40mm, 100mm and 250mm lenses, plus a bunch of Pro400h. I have my F6. I also brought a ton of Trix and Portra 400 because I heard that Australia still doesn’t have any color film stock available. I have a shitty lil point and shoot, I think its a Pentax... I go through those things all the time. I also brought an SX-70 and some polaroid 600 film. I got a digital camera with me, a D850 and a bunch of lenses that all go on the F6, too. There’s a couple camera’s that I left at home, but this is my pretty broad, ready for anything traveling kit. I brought my Profoto B10’s instead of bringing the skate flashes. This is a first, and probably a good indication of what I’ll be focused on shooting out in Aus.

Wow, that's a solid load out. I'd hate to have to check in on a flight with you, haha.  What's your go-to kit camera kit when shooting skate? Favourite lens?

If I know someone needs a photo for an ad or mag, I’ll probably shoot digital. D850 and a 70-200 or fisheye is most common. However, if I have total creative freedom, I’ll probably shoot a film photo with my F6 or maybe the Hasselblad. 

Ok, what's in your Hung Supply Sidewalk Camera Sling?

I have my Fujica 6x9 in there.

AJP, Sidewalk Slinging w/ Fujica 6x9

Nice.  If you could only shoot one camera for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hasselblad 500cm with a 100mm lens.

What do you enjoy most about shooting on film? 

It is magic. The pace is awesome, as you get to slow down and concentrate. Also, the performance you get out of your subject. I can shoot hundreds of digital photos. However, when I pull out the Hasselblad the subject always kinda perks up. Their back straightens, they get a more purposeful look on their face, and it is like “the real camera is out now”.

Do you still develop your own film?

I haven’t in a couple of years. I still have all the equipment and need to rebuild the darkroom. I'm shooting too much film these days to process it myself.

What's the best advice you've ever received? It can be photography related, or not.

Micro composition.

Thank you Mike. What's the best advice you can give for aspiring young skate photogs?

Someones gotta do it. Seriously. Skate photography could have a bit of a lull in the next couple of years, as the magazines are dying, which could lead to less career opportunities. The way we view skating is changing little by little, and the necessity of shooting a photo of a trick is getting questioned. So, just do it. Someone has to do it! We need it all documented!

Brian Delatorre Nosegrind


What gets you hyped outside of photography and skateboarding?

Learning new stuff, particularly skills or sports. My ability to grow beyond skateboarding and skateboard photography might have been a bit stunted throughout my 20’s. However, I’m excited to take up all of the hobbies and learn how to participate in other stuff as much as possible in my 30’s.

What's the most surreal place you've ventured to on a photography assignment?

The weirdest was probably going to Sri Lanka for Team Average 3. We couldn’t find anything to skate, at all. We also got stuck in a van for way too long. I would like to go to a few more surreal places on a non skate trip.

Forest Minchinton for Slow and Low


Ha, yeah, I've been to Sri Lanka a few times and there isn't much in the way of spots. Ok, which place, fictional or real, would you love to visit on a non-skate trip and why? 

I really wanna go to Italy. I can’t really get past that. I’ve been lucky enough to be sent, or send myself, to most of the places I've always wanted to go to. However, I'm yet to hit Italy. I want to go and eat pasta more than shoot photos. However, I’ll shoot some photos, just so I can write it off as a work trip. 

Name three Instagram handles we should check out and why. They can be photographers, friends, inspirations...

Ooof. I like that account @sporarts, as they always post really amazing images. @aspictures / Art Streiber is a great account to follow to get some insight into the world of commercial portrait photography. The lengths he goes to create some of those images is wild. He is not my favourite photographer, but the process is fascinating. Ummm, follow me. I need to bump up my social credit score.

Dylan Forever

Finally, which three people (living or past), would you want to take on your next skate trip and why?

Ok, these are going be completely separate...

1. I've got to start with Dylan, as he was the best skateboarder and such an interesting subject to point the camera at. He knew how to have a damn good time, and a brought a strong sense of ‘cool’ wherever he went.

2. I want to take an assistant. They can set up my lights and fetch me beers. This would be really nice... load my film for me, back up my memory cards. They could even find some vantage points for me, or at least give me a boost into the tree.

3. I always wish my partner Jordan was with me. She knows nothing about skateboarding. However, the most interesting thing about skate trips is very rarely the skateboarding itself. She could also act like an assistant, bring me beers or fill up my wine, and then get to share some of the stories and experiences from the road. Coming home to try to explain them just doesn’t cut it.

Check out more of Andrew's work and give him a follow, here. Grab a copy of the Monster Children Nora Vasconcellos Guest Editor Issue, here, shot by AJP.

Join the waitlist for the Sidewalk Sling, here.

September 18, 2023