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Contrast Magazine

Sam Muller

Sam Muller
Words / Travis Hancock

If you ask Sam Muller how, over the course of his teenage years, he went from a kid filming amateur skate videos with his friends to a respected photographer in the skate industry, he says it’s sheer luck, a right place right time kinda thing. But, unlike Sam, luck doesn’t sit in the California sun for six hours straight shooting sequences of a nearly impossible trick. Luck doesn’t often haul a hundred pounds of lighting gear over an eight-foot chain link fence. And luck doesn’t go very far when shooting intimate portraits of skate legends, musicians and Oscar-winning directors. At the ripe, hairy age of 24, Sam has the work ethic of a seasoned vet, matched by a knack for precision on the order of German engineering. But for all this, he’s humble about his success, and less interested these days in exploiting skating’s mainstream than in branching out, exploring new subjects and terrain—from ballet to his Hollywood Hills hometown. Read more

Danny Fuller


Words / Jeff Mull
Portrait / Dave Homcy

It’s the winter of 2008 and the sun has just dipped beyond the horizon on the North Shore of O‘ahu. The last bits of the day’s color are quickly washing away, leaving only a soft palette of subdued blues and greens hanging in the air like cotton candy. Standing on the shoreline, Danny Fuller quickly raises his lens, snaps off a few shots of his surroundings, and unassumingly heads back to the Quiksilver house on the beach. From this moment on, his life will never quite be the same. Danny Fuller the professional surfer has just unwittingly made his first inroads to become Daniel Fuller the professional photographer. Read more

Matthew Tapia
Matthew Tapia
Words / Jenny de Jesus
Portrait / Mark Kushimi

Matthew Tapia will tell you he got lucky. The self-taught artist was working odd jobs and drawing in his free time when the owner of clothing giant Ecko Unltd. happened to spot Tapia’s work in his first and only art show in a small skate shop on the Windward side of O‘ahu. Impressed with what he saw, he left his card with the store and asked that Tapia call him before he left the island in two days time. Tapia made that call not knowing it would change his professional life forever. Just a couple of months later, he accepted a full-time job with Ecko in New York City. Read more


Estevan Oriol

Estevan Oriol
Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito
Portrait / Mark Kushimi

The first camera Estevan Oriol bought was a Canon AE-1, and it’s been his tool of choice ever since. He didn’t find photography, rather it found the Los Angeles native in the early-’90s as the tour manager for hip-hop heavyweights House of Pain and Cypress Hill. His father, Eriberto, who was a photographer, gave Estevan a Minolta to document life on the road with the rappers. From there it manifested into a career for the burly, tatted-up Latino. His stunning images of low riders, gangs and tattoo culture gained him a loyal following, while his portraits of athletes, artists and celebrities garnered Estevan mainstream recognition. He shot campaigns for big brands like Cadillac and Apple; directed music videos for artists like Enimem, Cypress Hill and Blink 182; and produced shoots for internationally renowned photographers like Luca Babini for GQ Italy. His book, “LA Portraits,” showcases the gritty, street culture of his hometown, but moreover, shows the beauty that he is able to capture with analog film. Read more
 

Contrast Magazine

Augustine Kofie

kofie
Words / Jasper Wong

Augustine Kofie is a self-taught artist living and working in Los Angeles. His art has been shown extensively worldwide with highlighted shows in New York, California, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. With a deep interest in process and structure, Kofie creates works of intense detail centered on the order of balance. The precision of his “drafted” art is strongly inspired by modern architecture as well as the form and shape of typography. In his quest for balance, Kofie harmonizes opposing and contradictory dynamics in his work by setting futuristic compositions against vintage earth-toned palettes, and creates organically complex formations through meticulously structured line-work and layering. Read more

Kanoa Zimmerman

Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito

The summer of 2012 was a dismal season for waves on the South Shore of O‘ahu. Old-timers and the local news called it the “worst summer of surf in history.” From Memorial Day to the end of August there were only two substantial swells in Town. Photographer Kanoa Zimmerman, 30, happened to score one of the brief windows of waves while in Honolulu for an exhibition of his work put on by Interisland Terminal. Kanoa showcased black and white images captured with Nikonos, Contax and Mamiya 35 mm film cameras. The San Francisco-based, Native Hawaiian prefers the tangible aspect of shooting film and having something physical in the end over DSLRs with images stored on a hard drive. Read more

James Jean

JAMES JEAN
Words / Carolyn Mirante
Photography / Brandon Shigeta

James Jean is an enigmatic figure. Trained as an illustrator, Jean acquired a cult following with his unique and meticulous style. In 2008, he surprised the world by leaving the realm of commercial illustration for the more structured world of fine art. His first foray into this realm—a solo exhibition at the Martha Otero Gallery in LA—was met with great success. Today, nearly two years after the opening of a much-speculated-on exhibition at the Tilton Gallery in NYC (Parallel Lives), Jean opens up about his life, creative inspirations, and what the future has in store for him. Read more