Adam Stokowski

A Career Choice: The Trick Of The Trade

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Adam Stokowski slashing at mother earth.

Adam Stokowski, slashing at mother earth.


I’ve found myself at an interesting point in my career, I must say. Like being in the eye of some immense hurricane of life and stopping for a moment to open the front door to take a look around. What’s the status? How are things doing? I did the college experience, trained in a specific field to be a specific thing. Finished my schooling, began working in my chosen trade, and then thought, “Here we are, this is it, your career, the rest of your life”. I dunno about you, but there was something largely unsettling about that thought for me. Maybe it had to do with the times, maybe my own crazy personality? Whatever it was, there was no way the confines of the drab grey cubical walls could keep me contained for long, I knew this before taking the job. Like going through the motions to appease your conscience, it was something I had to do for myself, just to know for sure whether or not it was somewhere I felt I could belong. It took me just under two years to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t built to spend my days slowly melting into a Herman Miller desk chair. I may have worked well within the sphere of advertising, but I could only fight off my passions for so long. The adventure beyond the temperature controlled work environment had come calling.

Andrew Schumaker, flippin' the bird while slip sliding through Malibu.

Andrew Schumaker, flippin’ the bird while slip sliding through Malibu.

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Ben Desnyder squeaks out a squat check in a corner in Malibu.

Ben Desnyder squeaks out a squat check in a corner in Malibu.

Being completely honest however, I had always wanted to be a documentary combat photographer. The thought of existing to capture a moment that most would shy away from stuck me as something special. I had been to photography school, I grew up with cameras, but a career seizing a moment most others feared put you beyond the gear and the schooling. Your camera was no longer a Canon or a Nikon, your college where you learned photographic theory no longer applied. Out there, in those situations, your knowledge and your gear were no longer brands, but things you relied on. I guess overall there was something about that whole situation that enticed me, the thrill of danger and adventure that woo’ed me on. However, while the idea of hanging out of a helicopter door strafing the sands of foreign lands may have appealed to my fantasies, there was something else that came into my life around this same time that had just as much appeal and allure… skateboarding.

Victor Kerr, scrubbing off some speed to make the corner.

Victor Kerr, scrubbing off some speed to make the corner.

Amanda Powell, gettin' elegant under a cloud covered sky in Downtown LA.

Amanda Powell, gettin’ elegant under a cloud covered sky.

Daniel Fissmer, crushing this driveway in Echo Park before filming.

Daniel Fissmer, crushing a driveway in Echo Park before filming.

Skateboarding had always been there, sitting in the far back corner of the room waiting for its moment to speak. It only ever took one run blasting down a slope for me to fall head over heels in love with the thrill and charm of the sport. It was something that just felt natural from moment one, something that ultimately usurped everything else I had been involved with. Love on wheels, a tributary redirected. So while combat photography may have been an enticing concept, skateboarding’s voice was louder. A sphere that encapsulated all the elements of travel and danger, without the potential for PTSD.

Dustin Hampton, riding the clouds in Santa Barbara.

Dustin Hampton, riding the clouds.

Petter Hagman on the edge.

Petter Hagman, on the edge.

Victor Kerr, air-braking during his pursuit of skating nirvana.

Victor Kerr again, enjoying the road during his pursuit of skating nirvana.

Nicolas Escamilla, blasting a bluntslide at sunset.

Nicolas Escamilla, blasting a bluntslide at sunset.

I always found it funny to hear those infamous one liners in college coming up. The “follow your heart and make your passions your career” kinda phrases. The ones that were suppose to inspire you to want to do something you actually felt like you wanted to do. Well, this phrase has always hit pretty close to home for me. The idea of spending your whole life slaving away at a job that you didn’t necessarily feel connected to felt more like a death sentence then a career. A wasted existence trading the hours of your life for a paycheck never made sense to me. So while I’m still figuring it out, making it up as I go, I just know that there is one golden truth behind all of my trials and tribulations; to be happy. As long as you have that little element of joy in your life, then there are no wasted days. Photography and skateboarding are my passions, and while I may never be a rich man, I know that I’ll be happy, and that is worth all the money in the world.

Thanks for reading. Now be passionate, and go skateboard.

Brian Bishop knows a thing or two about finding his bliss.

Brian Bishop knows a thing or two about finding his bliss.

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  1. Sean Maple

    that pretty much sounds like me right now except that combat photography doesn't seem the slightest bit interesting to me and I still gotta finish high school. sad face. :(

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