From The Archives
Volume 1, Issue 4, Winter 2017

Jeff Zielinski, Edwin DeLarosa & an X-Up Grind Photo

by Nick Ferreira

courtesy of Tread Magazine/PropsVisual

You mentioned this was shot back in 2001, before you moved to California. Can you set the scene for us this day? Where did it originally run?

Jeff Zielinski:
Yes, I officially got hired at Ride in October or November of 2001 (exact dates are a blur), but Edwin was wearing only a flannel in this photo, so I’m assuming it had to be October still. Anyhow, once I got hired, the plan was for me to stay back East for about a month and shoot as much as possible, then make the drive out West. During this time I was also filming the first Animal video and basically splitting my time up between shooting photos and filming. Fast forward to me getting out to California, once I got all my film processed, it turned out that I had a bunch of great shots all from the same day on one roll—the X-up grind shot of Edwin, one of Tyrone Williams, and I believe two of Wormz. The photos ran in the April 2002 issue of Transworld BMX. It was a photo issue with Brian Castillo on the cover doing a smith grind on a giant orange box. My little feature was called “One Roll One Day” or something along those lines. I have the issue in an archive, but it’s buried and I can’t find it at the moment to verify everything.

One thing I like about this photo is that it’s hard to tell when it was shot -- maybe the bars and the sneakers could place it, but barely. I was just looking at some other photos by you and they have the same vibe -- 2007 or 2017. Is that a goal when you shoot at all?

Jeff Zielinski:
No, that’s totally just by chance. As far as my style or approach to shooting photos, I know what I like and what I think works, so maybe I tend to shoot a lot of stuff in a similar way, which makes the decades of photos blur together… haha. And of course, Edwin’s style will always be timeless, as well.

Having such a naturally talented rider to document helped me further my career just as much as I helped him start his. So we definitely played a major role in each other’s lives.

I was poking around online and read something where you said Ed’s mom was bummed his first photo in a magazine didn’t show his face. Did you keep that in the back of your mind when shooting him in the future?

Jeff Zielinski:
Yeah, that was a funny one. Edwin’s first photo in Ride was a twisted x-up off a slanted wall on Water St, in lower Manhattan. It was a late night shot with a lot of city lights and blurred action. Anyhow, I can’t recall if it was the angle I was shooting from, or if Edwin’s arms were blocking his face since he was twisted up. The story about his mom is accurate. He also told me that when he brought the magazine to school (he was like 15 at the time) some kids said they didn’t believe it was him because they couldn’t see his face. And yes, it’s always great when you can see the subject’s face—occasionally the best angle for the trick doesn’t allow for that, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

The world works in mysterious and interesting ways. Obviously people have control over their own lives, but it doesn’t hurt to have dope photos taken of you. Do you ever think about the role you’ve played in people like Ed’s lives?

Jeff Zielinski:
Good question. I’m really not sure if I have or not. But in Edwin’s case specifically, I was just getting my feet wet as a photographer and filmer when I first met him. And having such a naturally talented rider to document helped me further my career just as much as I helped him start his. So we definitely played a major role in each other’s lives. But yes, he definitely has a lot of documentation from his years in BMX. With it starting really early on too, I mean how many 15 year-olds had a spread in Ride as their first photo?
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