If you’re here to see Miley Cyrus’ boobs because this is where Google told you to go, check them out:
Yay! Hope you feel better. See you later.
For the rest of you, you might be wondering what the Disney princess’ chest has to do with anything outside of fodder for enraged pedophiles who say it came too late. The photo was allegedly leftovers from Maxim’s Hot 100 shoot and released this week (and I use allegedly firmly because I’m going off reporting from gossip sites here) with Billy Ray Jr. and Brian Bowen Smith.
Brian Smith, Blading’s First B. Smith
Brian Bowen Smith—or Brian Smith to those blading long enough to remember his 1-800-Call-ATT commercial (or even remembering what calling collect was without a trip to the county jail)—has photographed more stars from any 90s spank bank than any Playboy photographer.
But Smith didn’t land somewhere out of no where to snag the kind of shot that gives too many people something they’ve been waiting to see. Then again, after the VMAs and the “Wrecking Ball” video, a still of the now-21-year-old version of Hannah Montana’s bare chest isn’t much to see.
Regardless of anything, people are looking and they’re looking at a Brian Bowen Smith photograph.
(Full disclaimer: I had to write about her ass antics for work, so don’t mistake anything here as judgement against any party involved.)
It is, without a doubt, a influential moment of childhood mega-stardom, like when Lindsay Lohan fucked up her first stint at court-ordered rehab or when an Olsen Twin was implicated in the death of The Joker: at what point do we let go and reel back in shame over what we, a supposedly evolved society, have created?
I guess that’s a conversation best saved for another, longer media.
But Smith has the client list most iPhone photographers would love to post to Instagram, from Cindy Crawford to Mila Kunis and John Hamm and Samuel L. Jackson in the pages of magazines we’ve all seen.
Side note: one of his subjects was Aaron Paul, from Breaking Bad, who you may remember was allegedly doing stunts on the blades at the same Smith was dealing up Hoax offerings. Kind of cool, if you think about it.
The Days of Ringer T-Shirts and Belt Buckles are coming back,you know
While a full-grown adult with a vibrant professional life, the spirit of Brian Bowen Smith’s photography is still that of a young and daring Brian Smith ala T-Bone films.
He’s the man who brought his own vibe to our sport, especially during the red VHS days of Hoax II, which just so happens to be the first time I saw rollerblading outside of ESPN.
This was the guy switching up on kinked rails, smacking his man-pretty face on bannisters, screaming like a banshee at a skate shop, and eating canned dog food, all things you should expect of a touring pro rollerblader in the early 90s.
He was the guy peeing on Mike Opalek’s head while he puked in Smith’s houseplant (True story, according to Opalek). Yet their reunion tour a few moons ago left Opalek with an original Smith tattooed autograph on the bottom of his foot:
“I’ll never ask him for anything, yet all he does is give me stuff,” Opalek told me.
But outside the boyish tomfoolery, Smith gets the best endorsements for his professional work. But if blading will teach you anything, getting respectful praise from men who knew each other as boys, well…
“Brian’s photography stands up to the best of them out there these days. But what sets him apart is the way he makes the talent feel on set. He’s all personality and fun, and makes everyone feel like they’ve known him for years. He gets the photos most would never have the chance to.” — Mike Opalek
So Hannah Montana flashing the second or third to last bit of flesh she has left to bare shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who knows Smith’s work.
We should all strive to be famous enough to get a studio session with him.
But hey, you know there isn’t just one blading celebrity photographer out there.
Tyler Shields & The Sold Out ShoW
Questioned whether “Warhol or Wannabe” by LA Weekly, Tyler Shields has taken some topless photos too, but he made his mark in Hollywood by getting them from a different child star, 17-year-old child actress Abigail Breslin, or Olive from Little Miss Sunshine.
Just like Smith, not really too much of a shock if you know his work. His book is titled The Dirty Side of Glamour, after all.
The guy seems to have a theme and I’m sure it’s at the ire of political correctness, feminism, and other things that don’t jibe well in the world of high fashion and art.
One of his photos, among the many controversial ones, involved setting a $100,000 purse on fire and his girlfriend at the time, who just so happens to be Clint Eastwood’s daughter.
At least the photo allegedly sold for $75,000.
Shields, whose roots in blading dip nearly as far back as Smith’s, gave us many gifts, including War, featuring this section from a then-upcoming Chris Haffey:
But not all are set with seeing a rollerblader rise to fame…
Then again, negative press is still press. Or, as Warhol himself put it, “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Only measure it in inches.”
But Shields got a few feet of good press last week when he discovered fellow Dirty South blader Kevin Dowling’s sacrifice to get his Atlanta show going.
Their story will give you a Dickensian hard-on:
Atlanta’s Dowling had one of those go-for-broke moments made for Hollywood: he was slinging prints of his photography from his makeshift studio in the back of a U-Haul. He had to sell off some of his camera equipment because shit wasn’t paying the bills. When Shields heard of Dowling’s brazen antics to get his art out at the costs he’d already paid, Shields agreed to buy all of Dowlin’s prints—for $20,000.
That’s some straight-up Great Expectations shit right there. And Pip couldn’t be happier…
“Tyler is one of the most influential photographers of our time, so for him to support what I am doing is incredibly motivating,” Dowling told Zimbio.com. “I made this series during one of the hardest years of my life and it means everything to me to have the support of such a prolific artist.”
Even the now-famed photographers Smith and Shields—our celebrities shooting America’s celebrities—got their earliest glimpse of the big life with a little help from friends on blades. And none of these Hollywood shooters are forgetting the wheels under their feet, whether tattooing them or helping someone get back on theirs.
Blading is, after all, the starting point where many people hone their creativity that may one day make them a living. Our blade friends are, and should respectfully remain, our first audience, the holders of some of the harshest criticism we’ll ever face, and the friends who made us into whatever we have the potential to become.
That’s pretty dope.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S. — If you enjoy the self-implosion of Disney-born celebrities and can tolerate my writing, I think you’ll like my next novel. More details will come soon, but I’m really going to need all your help.