This weekend I got to go to a book release party for the new book, Jay Boy, Classic Photographs by Jay Adams' Stepfather, KENT SHERWOOD. The party itself was pretty much a who's who of skateboarding, as it was held a few blocks from the ASR show in Downtown San Diego, but I don't think I'll drop any names, because I know I'd miss people and other obligations required that I leave just as it was getting started anyway. Besides, it wasn't about the people there, as it was about showing your support for Jay Adams, so without any further adieu, on to the book.
The book is mostly black and white photographs, taken by Jay's stepfather, as the title implies. There is a brief introduction by C.R. Stecyk III and the back cover blurb by Glen E. Friedman, but really it is just a collection of photographs, with handwritten captions written by Jay during his incarceration. The captions give it more the feel of a family album than a piece of photojournalism, and that's kind of what's cool about it.
In the back of the book, Jay explains that he just wrote the captions as the thoughts came to him. He didn't try to print real neatly or look words up in a dictionary. As result, there are a handful of spelling errors and typos (can you make typos when writing by hand) just like you'd find in any family album. They decided not to try to fix these things, and I don't think it really matters. There were a couple of spots where the text was a bit hard to read, but this was mostly when they placed the captions right on the photos. Sometimes, when you do this, you have spots on the photo where the black text would be more readible and other spots where white text would be more readible. Not a lot you can do about it.
If you've seen the film Dogtown and Z Boys as many times as I have, you can almost hear his voice in your head. He writes almost exactly the same way he talks in the interviews. The pictures themselves are excellent. Kent Sherwood is a very good amatuer photographer. You'll recognize a lot of them from the film. Most of the shots are of Jay skating, surfing, or just lying sitting on the couch, but there are great shots of other skaters, Tony Alva, Shogo Kubo, Wenzle Ruml, and "Baby" Paul Cullen, mostly earlier than when we first saw them skate in the pages of SkateBoarder magazine. There are also shots of people like his Mom, neighborhood friends, and stuff like that. At first, it seems kind of random, but when you see a picture from the late sixties of two women sitting on the beach, and the caption says that one of them is his Aunt, and he doesn't know who the other lady is, you realize that it really is a family album. It's just a family where a lot of the extended family members were some of the 1970s greatest skaters.
The book runs about a hundred pages and measures 9.5" wide by 7.5" tall. Glen Friedman, Kent Sherwood, C.R. Stecyk, and others donated their time in preparing the book, and all profits will go to help Jay and his family. At about 20 dollars, it's not just worth the money, it's a bargain. The fact that the money is going to a good cause to help a fellow skater is gravy. Buy this book. You'll be glad you did.
You can order it through tailtap.com, using the link below.
Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 2006 Chris Sturhann