Besides his bright, freshly dyed blue hair, Ian Reid is calm, composed and slightly soft-spoken; an interesting contrast to his photography, which, like his hair, is loud, controversial to some, and above all else, bold.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ian first came to prominence as a skateboarder and video documentarian of New York’s urban skate scene in the early 2000s. After releasing his infamous skate video "Sex, Hood, Skate, and Videotape," a seminal DIY project that showed a dude living life by his own rules, Ian realized he could better express himself through photography. Now, besides shooting for media powerhouses like The Fader, Vogue and Vibe, not to mention his work with Nike and Converse, Ian has become the go-to photographer in the New York City BDSM community.
Reid photographed a female neighbor who was heavily involved with the BDSM fetish scene. His interest was immediately piqued by this subculture he previously had no idea about and he quickly was introduced to others in the scene from whom he learned the nuances of the community and culture. His images are filled with women, both dominant and submissive, partially nude, fully nude and usually flaunting either some type of leather whip, leash and collar, mask, or gag in the streets of New York, in abandoned buildings and rural-looking wooded areas. The subject matter and contrasting scenery will have you engrossed, making it almost impossible to look away from the images. And they carry characteristics of both fine art and journalistic photography. His seasoned documentary portraiture style urges the viewer to want to uncover more about the story behind the image.
We had the opportunity to hang with Ian and Girl Skateboard's co-founder Mike Carroll, before the opening of Reid's new exhibition at These Days, "A Day's Work," which not only showcases a healthy amount of Reid's photography, but also Girl’s release of three skateboard decks adorned with Reid’s fetish photography. Flying in the face of the logo-driven marketing that dominates most of action sports, Girl has taken a brave leap into the unorthodox by championing Ian's controversial work.
We've got a rad video coming out with Ian and Mike about the show later this week, but until then here's some behind the scenes images from the set-up of the show and the interviews we got with these two creative dudes.
Words: Alex Khatchadourian