Skateboarding legend, influential photographer and zine-maker extraordinaire (to name a few) ED TEMPLETON once again confirms his iconic status in the creative arts industry through the release of his highly anticipated new zine “Lick”. With over twenty spectacular zines of work behind him, “Lick” will not disappoint, exhibiting the pure moments of delight, satisfaction and comfort of kids, adults and everyone in between.
First and foremost, what inspired ‘Lick’?
The photos in Lick are pulled from my archive. As a street photographer there are things I look for when walking around people watching, kissing, smoking, gesturing in some way, any types of action, and licking is one of them. About 6 months ago out of curiosity I searched my archive for photos of people licking in any way and was surprised on how many I had. So I thought perhaps there’s something here for a small book. Of course once you open your mind to an idea the floodgates open and suddenly all I saw were people licking in public and so I would try to shoot them if possible.
How did this collaboration with Cafe Royal Books materialize?
This nice man Craig from Cafe Royal contacted me out of the blue. I was already familiar with Cafe Royal’s books, they make a lot of great photography zines, so I was happy to work with them. It’s as simple as that!
The act of ‘licking’ could be synonymous with many things such as intimacy, yearning, innocence and bliss; which did you most frequently encounter when building this zine
The most common act of licking in public seems to revolve around ice cream. So bliss was the most common one. Young and old, tall and small, we all love French kissing a creamy cold pile of sugar. I excluded images of people licking each other’s tongues, since I already did a book called Teenage Kissers. I have a few photos not published in that book that could have been included in Lick that involve some graphic tonguing. I also didn’t go blue by adding any photos of licking genitalia. Most of the time it’s just a person by themselves taking a moment to enjoy an ice cream. There’s something so human about watching a stranger lick down an ice cream cone. The ways they consume that pleasure.
Whilst all the images we have seen from ‘Lick’ are phenomenal, could you tell us a little more about the image of the girl in blue, licking her ice cream?
Her name is Evan Cassidy, she’s the daughter of my friends Shelley and Liam. I was doing a shoot for KidsWear magazine and Evan and her brother were starting to get cranky, it’s tough to be walking around posing for photos all day, so we got them some ice cream. I wasn’t planning on shooting it, it was just a break to recharge everyone. Both of their ice creams started melting so quickly we turned around for one second and suddenly the melting cream was all over her jacket! It was so funny that I started shooting again, the ice cream was dripping down her hand and was splattered all over the coat that we had to return to KidsWear! Even though it was making a huge mess the kids never batted an eye and just continued eating gleefully. The sunlight and colors helped too.
Every zine has a behind-the-scenes story to tell – what is Lick’s?
I guess my behind-the-scenes story would be when we literally went behind-the-scenes on a Terry Richardson shoot in NYC. We visited him at MILK studios while he was shooting and during a break he caught me trying to shoot a photo of him about to eat a cupcake. Right when I pushed the button he stuck his tongue into it. That’s why there’s a random photo of Terry in the zine.
As a street photographer, have you adopted a certain ‘etiquette’ when approaching your subjects?
Yes. By “approaching” I mean physically, not conversationally. I rarely talk to anyone. And although I get close to people, they rarely see me. There’s 8 photos in the zine where the subjects know I’m there. 17 photos in the zine are totally candid and the subjects had no idea their photo was taken. There is an etiquette to it, especially if somebody sees you. Politeness, and big smiles go a long way. But for the most part I’m walking and seeing and snapping fluidly and nobody suspects anything.
Both you and your wife Deanna have been referred to as ‘the godparents of zine culture’ (and rightly so); where does you love of zine-making stem from?
I think it stems from how we were raised in the skateboard and punk cultures of southern California. There’s an attitude of nobody is going to come and make a book about you, you have to do it yourself. We built our own ramps or found our own skate spots out in the streets, and when we shot photos or did projects – pre-internet – there was no way to present them but by hitting Kinko’s and photocopying them and passing them out to your friends mostly for a laugh. So making zines just became part of what we did. And even though self expression is easy now with the internet, or maybe we are more known, it’s still nice to use the zine as a way to get things you are doing out there. It’s a small run usually, and so it’s really for a small audience of 500 people or less. The ones who are plugged into that scene will get it, the ones who aren’t, we don’t care about.
You have beyond cemented yourself as an icon within the skateboarding world, and the creative arts world; do you have any hidden talents that will next emerge?
Ha! I doubt it. I never stuck to the guitar, and have not yet dedicated any real time to cooking. So painting, photography and Toy Machine will continue to be my outlets I suppose.
All images by Ed Templeton
“Lick” is available for pre-order from Cafe Royal Books here