Auckland based Skate Store, ARCADE have teamed up with New York based photographer, Tom Gould to present an exhibition of the New Zealand born photographer’s work and release a series of collaborative decks. ARCADE is very much at the epicenter of Auckland’s Skate Scene and very much the local hang out, its a store which transforms itself from Boutique to club house to art gallery.

Tom Gould is fast making himself known on the streets of Brooklyn & Queens through photography and videography. With his eye for capturing captivating subjects as they interact with their environments, his imagery has become noted for itʼs clean silhouettes and composition whilst also capturing the raw emotions of each moment in time. Centering on pop culture sub-groups such as Graffiti, Rap & Hip Hop artists and skating, Tom covers these passions as well as all sorts of interesting individuals, places, events and environments that satellite around these core elements.

Tom has gone from shooting for VICE magazine locally to shooting videos for the likes of Action Bronson, and others. We caught up with Tom to discuss his work and interests…

Tell us about where you grew up?

I grew up in central Auckland, New Zealand. A beautiful island in the South Pacific Ocean, which I will always call home.

What were you like as a kid?

I was a kid that was always interested in art and music, and of course a dose of mischief!

You grew up in NZ but live in NYC.. for me, when I made that move it was a big culture shock, what do you miss about NZ?

New Zealand and New York are both amazing places but they have very different speeds of life. I suppose I hit the ground running when I first moved to New York and enjoyed the hustle of the city. That being said, I do miss the relaxed nature of New Zealand, along with the food and the sea. All in all I feel lucky to be in a position where I can enjoy the best of both worlds.

What’s your favorite thing about NYC?

The culture and the people. It’s such a diverse place and I find myself constantly learning new things about new cultures, hearing new languages and slangs, and appreciating different ways of life. I also love the fact that the city holds so much history. Everything I grew up following and admiring was birthed in New York, so it’s cool to be able to be at the center of that and to document my time here today.

How did you first get involved/interested in skateboard culture?

I was introduced to skating as a young kid and was doing it because it was fun. A lot of my interests were then spawned from skating, and those interests have ultimately led me to where I am today.

And photography, did you always want to be a photographer? – how did this happen?

My mother was a creative person; she gave me my first camera and encouraged me to take pictures whenever we travelled. She also opened my eyes to art and graffiti at an early age, and was the one who actually taught me how to drop shadow letters in primary school. Throughout my teens I was taking a camera with me and was documenting mischief along the train tracks, then eventually I began to take this documentation and art of photography more seriously.

I never planned on being a photographer, it was just something I grew into because of the things I was interested in and the people I was around.

We live in a time when anyone can shoot a digital camera, what makes the best stand out?

To me, the best photographers are ones who are able to immerse themselves in their environments and surroundings, are able to relate to their subjects, and importantly have a distinct style that ultimately produces iconic imagery.

What drives you to capture moments?

I feel very strongly about the power of documentation. I find myself getting pissed off when I see things change and evolve in a manner in which it’s history and culture are erased. Unfortunately this is a fact of life, but we do have the power to preserve this through documentation. I get a kick out of capturing a moment in time that will never be repeated but will ultimately last forever as a negative and as an image in peoples minds.

What’s next when you get back to NYC?

I have a couple of photographic projects that I aim to have completed sometime soon, but with everything I aim to take my time and to do it right.

Tell us about your work in this series at ARCADE, and how you chose the imagery for the decks?

The images that we chose for the decks are directly related to graffiti. One of the images depicts the process and the other the personality/identity behind a writer. The images chosen are of two writers who are at two very different stages of their lives/writing careers. In effect this shows the power of this sub culture and the fact that it is never going away.

The skate decks are available for pre-sale from ARCADE today with the Exhibition opening night Thursday 16th February 2012 at ARCADE, 22c Cross St, Auckland Central.