From The Archives
Volume 1, Issue 2, Summer 2017
SOLD OUT Read the PDF here

Chris Hallman on
Tread Magazine’s
Issue 2 Cover

by Nick Ferreira

courtesy of Tread Magazine/PropsVisual

It's pretty safe to say that a cover photograph is one of the most important aspects of a magazine. What made you decide to run a photo of a manual instead of another, maybe more spectacular photo?

Chris Hallman:
I've always enjoyed simple tricks and the experience of riding most of all.The manual cover was the only cover that was planned out, and it actually turned out much different than the image I had in my mind; although, I very much enjoyed the result. As much as I remember, the feeling I wanted to convey was that of rushing through heavy city traffic, tight quarters, backpack on, going somewhere, popping wheelies along the way. The image in my mind was as follows: busy inner city rush hour traffic, late day, sun low and yellow, shooting directly into the sun from behind - I wanted to be able to see the rider doing the manual and cars close in on either side. That was the image in my head. But Rick [Moliterno] was late, the sun had already dropped down below the horizon, and we scrambled to get the shot that we did. That said, I was psyched when I saw the final image. Totally not what was in my mind, much different feel, but it was beautiful. More specifically, the image in my mind was mostly monochromatic, mostly yellow, gritty, sun flared, and contrasty. The final image was like a little gem.

I considered BMX a lifestyle, an experience. It was like a spiritual obsession for me. Manuals are for me... one of the deepest, most basic core-level moves.

To get back to why a manual and not some more spectacular trick-I wanted Tread to be a lifestyle magazine. I considered BMX a lifestyle, an experience. It was like a spiritual obsession for me. Manuals are for me ... one of the deepest, most basic core-level moves. Who doesn't like popping wheelies? I've always had a soft spot for photographs and footage of someone with a backpack on- it seems so spontaneous.

The more I look at it, the more it seems like you're hanging out that car to shoot it. Can you set the scene for us? How did this photo come about?

Chris Hallman:
As I alluded to above, the backpack was part of the story. The photo was meant to illustrate a single moment in a BMXer's day-maybe heading home from work, heading to the park, going to a friend's house, whatever. The bike is part of your life, BMX happens along the way. Plus I also have a soft spot for backpacks. I would find attractive a woman who carried a backpack rather than a purse. I was definitely hanging out of the car to take the photo. Chris Rye was running down the road with an off­camera flash, I was hanging out the window of the car with the camera in one hand stretched at arm's length, and a flash in the other stretched again at arm's length in the other direction. It was sketchy and fun. It was all very rushed as well, racing against the dying of the light.

Do you want to talk about the Kerouac quote at all?The quote obviously matches up to the photo pretty well- was this shot/cover photo something you had in mind from the beginning?

Chris Hallman:
I don't remember if I had the Kerouac quote planned from the beginning to go along with the shot. It seems like I probably did. I definitely misspelled Kerouac on the cover of the magazine! I'm a restless soul. My bike expanded my range of exploration and it was always there with me, like a constant friend. A constant friend that would from time to time put me in the hospital.

This was 1996- a couple years before Moliterno's punishing section in Standard's Domination. I love the fact that Moliterno was this mind blowing ramp rider but also seemed to really just love BMX. Can you recall how Rick felt about this cover shot?

Chris Hallman:
Rick seemed really psyched on the whole thing, the idea and the result. As he was one of my childhood riding heroes, I was equally psyched to have him be a part of it. Growing up I saw him several times at HARO shows and I liked that he was really good at everything. So yeah, he was pretty much as BMX as anyone, a perfect cover model. ︎