Michael Cohen aka “The Concierge” has been a true supporter of our site since day one and has been an overall supporter of the New York skateboarding community for years now. In addition to being the VP of Ops for SHUT he’s always backing youth programs and remains active in the skateboarding and snowboarding community making it to just about every event possible and of course snapping photos. We sat down with Michael for our latest Q&A interview, check his answers along with his collection of photos below.
Full name? Michael A. Cohen
How did your nickname “The Concierge” come about? I worked at the Hudson Hotel as a Concierge at night while working for SHUT part-time in the day back in 2006.
What year did you start skating/photography? I started skateboarding at the age of seven, and started taking photos of skateboarding at 14. I never did it as a profession, always simply for recreation, although I studied basic photography in high school and in college. Most of my skateboarding photography that reached the masses in publication were taken through work and not as photography projects. I was recently published in the NYC skateboard history book “Full Bleed”, and had a photo show the following year where I sold my first photo. That was when I looked at myself as a professional photographer.
Where are we right now? At my desk at the SHUT office… 158 Orchard Street, NY. Come skateboard over and say hello anytime!
How did you end up working for SHUT? Rodney [Smith] hit me up after he was the last one to leave Zoo York and started SHUT again in ’06. I couldn’t say no to an amazing start up with such great history!
What’s your most memorable moment at the SHUT office? There are too many and some I can’t discuss for this interview…I’ll tell you about those another time. But it’s getting to meet all the “Skalebes” like Olson, Cardiel, Glenn E Friedman and the list goes on and on!
Do you have a favorite SHUT deck from throughout the years? My favorites are the Rodney Smith Customs – nothing beats a 1 of 1! My favorite shape of all time is the Hang On shape by Tino Razo.
This or That:
Film or Digital? I prefer film when I have the funds
Kodak or Fuji? Kodak
Canon or Nikon? Canon
Sequences or Cover Shot? Cover!
Film or just photos? Both
In the viewfinder or post (edit/crop)? Viewfinder
Aperture or Lightroom? Aperture
Stop Down or Wide Open? Stop Down
Where are you living currently?
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What’s your favorite spot of all time? In NYC?
Along the East River, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO and Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Where would you like to skate/shoot/visit in the future?
Aside from New York, New Jersey and Montreal. I love Barcelona and’d be psyched to go back with my Old Man crew to shred and capture it. Last time I was there was brief and did not get enough time to hit up all the spots. Lets bring Slappy Sundays to Barci!
Who do you like shooting in NYC?
It’s not as much who but more about when and where. Being that I don’t have a deadline or have to get photos of skateboarders for anyone in particular allows me to get what I want when I want and with whom I want. But my favorite is capturing my friends.
Firsts & Lasts:
First: My 1st setup was a yellow NASH in the late ’70s.
Last: My current setup is of course a SHUT!
First: For cameras, I started with cheap disposables and a hand-me-down point-and-shoot.
Last: Now I shoot with a cheap ebay 35mm point-and-shoot and a Canon AE1. For digital I like to use the Canon G Series.
First: Beastie Boys & Bad Brains
Last: Anything mixed by Jules Gayton… best DJ ever!
First: My OG crew was the Apache ramps in dirty Jerz!
Last: Slappy Sundays Crew and “The Good Life”
First: Pop Shuvit
Last: Mine would be mannies, and to watch are no-complys.
First: Apache ramps
Last: LES & HOV
Favorite skate spot in New York? The Astor Cube on a Sunday.
Favorite skate shop in New York? SHUT, not only because I work here but it’s really a great shop!
Favorite NY based skate brand? SHUT
Favorite crew or person to skate/shoot with in New York? Timbo, Alex Corporan, Big Jim, Luke van Unen, Mr. Mcgill, Todd Higuchi, ALL SHUT skateboarders and my friends from VT!
Favorite New York based movie? The Warriors
Favorite New York based skate vid or section? Zoo York Mixtape
Favorite thing to do in New York off the board/behind the lens? On the bicycle exploring new spots to shoot.
Favorite place to eat in New York? Pianos and The Meatball Shop
Favorite bar in New York? I’m gonna have to say MAX FISH.
What did you think the first time you visited/skated/shot in NY? I have been coming to NYC since I was born, growing up in New Jersey. My first real recollection of embracing and skateboarding in New York was in Soho out in front of Soho Skateshop.
What makes New York different than other places to skate/shoot? You get extra. More than what you expected or asked for. The backdrops are better. The feel and look that you get when shooting in NYC is sorta timeless.
To anyone visiting New York to skate/shoot? Keep your camera locked and loaded and ready to fire on command!
General advice to anyone who wants to start skate photography? Make sure you know your subject/skater capabilities and try to get the most out of what they can do to work with you. That’s why shooting your homies in the beginning is always a great start. And its makes for more personalized images.
Shout outs to my family, SHUT Beach and friends & NYSkateboarding.com!