Follow Toronto native Pat O’Rourke through the city as he captures fall styles in their unnatural habitat.
Photographs by Pat O’Rourke
Interview with Pat O'Rourke
Where are you hailing from?
PO: I live in downtown Toronto.

How did your life as a photographer begin?
PO: I remember shooting with disposable cameras as young as 8 or 9. I think I would just find them around the house with photos left on them and finish the roll. Most of the photos were of my friends skateboarding outside my building or things I liked in my bedroom. I think from then on I was just always attracted to shooting film. I like the waiting game of getting a roll back and seeing if it turned out the way I pictured it when shooting.

What was your first camera?
PO: I used to shoot on a variety of different cameras when I first got more into taking photographs. Pretty much whatever I could find from the thrift store that worked. The Olympus Stylus was a stand out camera for me around that time.

What do you enjoy photographing the most?
PO: I like shooting things I see on a daily basis that others might walk by and not notice. It’s fun trying to take photos that make you look at something that is so common in an uncommon way. I am attracted most to things with strong color and shape.

Most memorable project?
PO: I liked working on my latest zine, Play. It’s exciting to pull my photos from over the years and curate them into something you can hold, rather than just seeing them on computer screen.

What inspires you most to go out and shoot on a personal level?
PO: The constant progression of my work is what inspires me most. I like being able to look back on what I've done and see what I would have shot differently, or what I wouldn't have shot at all. Watching my work move forward too is exciting, getting new jobs, shooting for new people, etc. With the Internet it’s so easy to follow the progression of other photographers I like, which pushes me to shoot more on a personal level. It helps, too that a lot of my close friends shoot photos, so naturally we feed off each other’s work.

How does your environment or upbringing influence your work?
PO: Growing up skateboarding in the city, you're always looking for new skate spots. As I got older and more into photography, the searching became not just for spots to skate but for photo ops as well. Photography and skateboarding are two totally different art forms but very similar in the sense that you're always observing your surroundings.

How do you relate to Vans?
PO: Vans has always had a strong presence in skate culture, which I've been a part of since I was super young. Whether I was wearing a pair or a skateboarder I looked up to was wearing them, I've always been surrounded by the brand.

What did you shoot for this issue of the Classic & Family magazine?
PO: I was told to shoot "product shots" of the shoes in whichever way I liked. I pretty much just walked around for a few days with a hockey bag of shoes, and shot them in different settings I thought looked interesting. Lots of the images are kind of unnatural or set up, but that’s what I was going for. I just tried to have fun with it.

What other interests do you pursue?
PO: Besides shooting photos, skateboarding takes up most of my free time.


Kick back and relax as Bay Area local Stefan Simikich gives you a peek at the iconic California North Coast.
Photographs by Stefan Simikich
Interview with Stefan Simikich
Where are you from?
SS: North coast San Diego.

Where do you live now?
SS: North coast Bay Area.

How did it all start for you with photography?
SS: My dad got a Polaroid spectra, which was like getting a digital camera of its time, so he just gave me his trusty Pentax K1000 when he went instant. I got real into using that thing, I still have it today and it works killer.

What has been your most memorable project so far?
SS: Red Stripe beer ad campaign in Kingston, Jamaica. Me as photographer, Rick and Buddy, the great film makers that made Antihero skateboards, and Tent City Video as the film crew. We pieced together the most insane ad campaign that would have changed the world if it ever surfaced. I think it was too real and raw for the "hooray beer folks".

How does your upbringing influence your work?
SS: Growing up reckless and careless can put you in some interesting situations.

Is there a project you have in mind or a person or group you would love to work with in the future?
SS: Not really. I think I'm busy?

How do you relate to Vans?
SS: I love Vans. I've had a bunch. I only drive Vans, the Swiss Army knife of vehicles.

What did you put together for this issue of the Classic & Family magazine?
SS: The photos I shot were of friends I hang with on the daily. Whether I'm surfing, working, hiking, or fixing things. Basically those are people I spend time with and we just put some shoes on, hung out, and shot it up. As locations we went to friends’ houses, the beach, hiking zones, the Mendocino coastal areas. People, places, and things of enjoyment just like how a pair of shoes should be.

What do you do when you don't shoot photos?
SS: Anything that is non-internet related is appealing to me.

What’s next for you?
SS: Fixing up an old Victorian house in San Francisco. I fix broken houses for a living. I've been a photographer for the last 20+ years but now, since everyone has become a self-proclaimed photographer, I must pursue other avenues of making money.


Explore springtime in NYC through the lens of Brooklyn photographer Jason Levins in the newest installment of Classic & Family.
Photographs by Jason Levins
Interview with Jason Levins
Where are you from?
JL: I was raised in Vermont, on a dirt road with a covered bridge on it, a town called North Clarendon. I live in New York City, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

How did photography happen?
JL: I was always attracted to the idea of the photographer and their darkroom, like an alchemist in the lab, as well as having a record of the past to look back on. That combined with the interactions I had in my childhood with photographers working for skate and snowboard magazines and brands made photography seem like a natural characteristic of a life well lived.

What field do you work in most?
JL: I consider myself to be an artistic photographer. My tastes and style have evolved over the years from being a purely diaristic photographer working just to keep a record of my own life and times to working on bodies of work deliberately photographed for publication as a series or for show. A few years back, I decided to justify my work by publishing my own zines through a publishing company I founded as Red Hand Publishing, which not only publishes my work, but that of my friends and contemporaries as well.

What do you enjoy photographing the most?
JL: Recently I have been burning a lot of film photographing the flower vendor stalls around NYC, and when the clouds are nice I photograph them, but I'm still kind of a good times photographer, capturing moments of my friends and I living it up, basking in the sun on a riverbank, or just enjoying the world for what it is with what we've got.

How do you relate to Vans?
JL: Well, coincidentally enough, I wear Vans Authentics, Sk8-His, and Chukka Boots somewhat ritualistically, so when the opportunity to work with the brand came up there was no question in my mind it was the right thing to do.

Describe what you did for this issue of the Classic & Family magazine?
JL: For this issue of the Classic & Family magazine I rounded up some friends and interacted with the city in the ways each one does. It was springtime so the whole city was in good spirits, and we ate a lot of pizza together.

What do you do when you don't shoot photos?
JL: I have a 1972 Harley-Davidson Ironhead that I'm in love with, and spend most of my days just burning gas and counting car alarms (which it sets off frequently enough for that to be an activity). I keep it in a garage here in Brooklyn with a great community of guys and gals, and put a lot of energy into maintaining it and keeping it running well with the help and advice of that group of people.

What kinds of projects do you have lined up in the near future?
JL: I am presently working on a few projects for Red Hand Publishing that I am real excited about, a photography zine for my friend Taylor Brubaker, who has been a huge inspiration for me, and another showcasing the artwork of an extremely talented tattoo artist here in Brooklyn by the name of Bailey Hunter Robinson. I’m real excited to be working on projects for, and growing the publishing company, eventually being on the shelves of art bookstores in countries around the world and working with more and more artists and photographers to get their work out there.


Follow photographer and filmmaker Taylor Bonin and friends as they travel across Southern California in this edition of Classic & Family.
Photographs by Taylor Bonin
Interview with Taylor Bonin
Where do you live?
TB: Los Angeles, California

How did you become a photographer?
TB: I started with video when I was really young. I wasn't really into photography until I got my first film camera. I've been hooked ever since.

What was your first camera?
TB: I can't remember my first digital camera... I've been shooting with film for about 4 years now, and my first camera was my grandfather's old Canon AE-1.

What kinds of jobs keep you busy?
TB: I mostly do project-based and music photography. Filmmaking takes up a lot of my time as well.

What do you enjoy photographing the most?
TB: My friends. I'm lucky enough to tour around the world with my friends who are in a band called The Growlers. I've been touring and photographing and making videos for them for almost two years. Traveling with The Growlers throughout Europe last spring was my first time in Europe. We spent 6 weeks there and went through more than 10 countries. Lots of great memories.

What influences your work?
TB: My environment is constantly changing. I'm never home for longer than a month before I hit the road on tour so I feel like it’s easy to keep my photography fun and fresh.

Is there a project you have in mind that needs to be planned?
TB: I want to make a cat calendar!

How do you relate to Vans?
TB: I've always loved Vans’ classic style and have been wearing the black and white Authentics for more than a decade.

What did you do for the shoot for this issue of the Classic & Family book?
TB: Half of these photos were shot during the making of my first feature film. I was lucky enough to be working with a wonderful actress/model, and we were able to shoot photos around LA, Lake Arrowhead and on the way to Las Vegas. Also, a few of the photos were taken with The Growlers on tour a few months ago throughout Europe.

What other interests do you pursue?
TB: Lately, I've been really busy finishing my first feature film called Lacrimosa. I am the director of photography and co-director. It's almost done! I also enjoy shooting surfing and making music videos. I plan to finish my film and have a rough cut by September 22 to submit to Sundance film festival. Also, I will be traveling through Mexico and Europe for a month this summer photographing The Growlers.


Follow us into rugged desert landscapes, dystopian visions of Tatooine, and the new Vans X Star Wars collection.
Photographs by Alexis Gross
Interview with Alexis Gross
As a Classic & Family veteran, we are entering round 3, I believe? What's the work with Vans been like for you?
AG: I love working with Vans. They support me and my aesthetic, and we have a mutual love and respect for each other.

What has been going on in the world of Alexis Gross since the last issue?
AG: I moved to my own place finally and have been slowly focusing on organizing all my stuff! Really enjoying California and being able to do whatever I want every day. That can also be a curse, though. I am overall happy with the way things are going in my life.

Let’s talk Star Wars. It is the year of the big Vans x Star Wars collaboration. Have you seen the movies?
AG: Honestly, no. I don't like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, whatever that fantasy stuff is… I've never been into it. I can't really relate to the movie but I guess I can relate in the sense of being obsessed with a phenomenon. I was really obsessed with South Park as a kid!

What was your first thought when being asked to take on shooting the Star Wars product? Had you seen it?
AG: I thought, “Holy shit, I am shooting something for Star Wars. That’s insane.” I would say half the population of the world is obsessed with that movie. I had only seen one of the shoe styles at the point of being asked to shoot this but was impressed by the execution of design. I really like the collaboration of the Star Wars icons with everyday wearable prints.

Did the project or product trigger an idea or did you develop a concept step by step?
AG: The Art Director selected the location and when I Google-mapped it, I saw a giant piece of land with trash and graffiti all over it. Enticed by the massive amounts of crap, I thought up of who I could picture having fun with there. We showed up with dirt bikes, skateboards, tons of snacks, spray paint, and of course Star Wars props and basically just explored the whole day. Everything progressed very naturally.

Who participated?
AG: I invited my friends Mikal and Dana, who have done some modeling before so I knew they knew what they were getting into and would basically be down for whatever. Alison was someone I had photographed on a music video shoot prior for ANTWON and Brad ended up being a friend of Dana's who turned out to be an incredible skateboarder. I also got my friends Al and Brit to take their truck there with us to do spinouts in the dust for a couple of shots. They snuck in a few photos as well. My most favorite person from the day, though, was the man Pete who showed us this place. He was a really great character to have around that day. We just had fun and didn't really have a specific direction, aside from making sure there was Star Wars product involved.

Rating each project for the Classic & Family book that you've taken on, any favorites?
AG: I think the first one I was involved in had to be my favorite because it changed my life. The opportunity has allowed me to pursue my creative side full time.

What other projects have you lined up?
AG: A friend of mine just put out a zine we collaborated on for the benefit of this DIY punk space on East 7th in Downtown, LA. I plan on continuing that project all summer, as well as traveling, spending time in NY with my family, and making all my ideas become a reality. Lots of possibilities. Not enough time to conquer them!