Spike Jonze – The Early Years

Spike Jonze has directed enough Hollywood movies to be considered a seasoned vet. In addition to memorable films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze has directed videos by some of the’90s most prolific bands: The Breeders, Weezer and The Beastie Boys to name a few. In the skateboarding world, his videos are legendary. Hands down his work here has dominated, he’s constantly pushing the envelope with the ideas he puts forth in his videos. While not as widely known as his film work – his photography is where he got his start, and where he also pushed the envelope with creativity.

Spike Jonze grew up in Maryland, pursuing his love for BMX, (and eventually skateboarding) which in turn lead to photography. After touring around with the Haro BMX team through the US, Spike’s photography skills caught the attention of Freestylin’ Magazine in California. During his tenure at Freestylin’, Spike was one of the main photographers, he went on to contribute to Club Homeboy Magazine and later Dirt, TransWorld Skateboarding and Grand Royal Magazine.

In BMX and skateboarding, Spike introduced new angles and processes. He relied heavily on his fisheye, shot both black and white and color, and also toyed around a lot with photocopying and hand coloring of slides. His photography always took on an extra level – like he was trying to create the graphics and art that would accompany an editorial layout onto the film within his camera.

The photography of Spike Jonze has captured some of the pivotal moments in BMX, skateboarding and indie music of the late ‘80s to mid-nineties. His eye for uniqueness and composition catapulted him to videographer. Through video and photography, he is truly one of the great image creators of my generation.