Uncovered Hugh Holland photos of the 1970s So-Cal skate scene

With the wave of 1970s denim styling taking over the current denim scene, we take a look back at the rediscovered photos of California’s 70s skate scene. The images emerged earlier this month when i-d talked to LA photographer Hugh Holland, author of Locals Only.

The article showcases a selection of his unseen images that take you on a trip into the very origins of skate culture – a world of tube socks, short shorts and empty swimming pools. Taken during the birth of legendary crews like Dogtown and Z-Boys skateboarders, these amazing images capture So-Cal skate scene at its prime with images of long-haired, golden-skinned kids gunning down Venice beach promenades and tearing up suburban backyard haunts.


The images on show are just a selection of the thousands Holland took over the course of three years from 1975-78. They truly capture the scene as it evolved – from its short infancy as an unruly after-school activity, through to it rapidly becoming adopted by America’s youth and hitting TV screens across the country as a professional sport.

Up until now, the images have never seen the light of day and have been sat unsorted in boxes at his house. But earlier this month they went on show at Blender Gallery in Sydney, where a special exhibition is showcasing Holland’s “Locals Only” collection along with some brand new additions.

Just as it is today, denim is worn as a staple throughout the photographs, with the young tearaways wearing DIY cut-off shorts, shredded 5-pockets and bleached out blues. These young kids would’ve been wearing 1970s denim favourites like Levi’s Orange Tabs in the then newly introduced stone wash finishes and infamous open-end “orange peel denims”.

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Credits: Photography Hugh Holland, courtesy M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

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