The Leaf Interview: Pat O'Rourke
Tell me about yourself, have you always lived in Toronto?
My name is Pat O’Rourke, and I’m a skateboarder and photographer from Toronto. I grew up in the west end of Toronto, and moved about an hour outside of the city for a few years during high school. I would take the train back downtown every weekend, so even when I wasn’t living in Toronto I was there as often as I could be.
What was your first camera, and whats your current set up?
My first camera was a disposable camera; I loved the concept of disposables growing up. In grade 9 I got a Kodak digital point and shoot camera for my birthday - it had 4 megapixels haha. Right now I’m sort of jumping around cameras. I have most recently been reverting back to an old favourite the Yashica T4. It’s small and easy to grab when running out the door.
You just had a collab with Habitat Skateboards tell us how that came about?
Yeah, that was really fun to do. I got connected through my friend Bobby who’s a pro for Habitat. One of the dudes at Habitat, Brennan, reached out to me and we started chatting about collaborating. They were open for me to do pretty much whatever so it was cool to have control which photos were used and how they were laid out on the boards. One of my first legit boards I bought as a kid was a Habitat so it felt kinda crazy to have that opportunity to work with them on this.
When did you start skateboarding?
I think I was 10 when I actually got my first board but I remember being into skating for at least a year before even trying it. I thought it was cool so I would buy skateboard magazines and just look at the photos and pick out my favourite boards and stuff.
Are you currently working on any upcoming projects?
I have a few personal series I have been shooting sort of irregularly the last few years, so hopefully I can get some time to focus on those this summer. I also started an online magazine 2 years ago called “Rental Magazine” which I have now been laying out the first print issue for, so that will be out in the next few months.
What kind of Incase products do you have ? How do you use it in your day to day?
I have a few different Incase bags I use actually. I have the DSLR Pro backpack that I generally use for travelling, or if I have a shoot to do where I need to bring a variety of cameras & equipment. On a day to day basis I generally use the Camera side bag - it’s the perfect size to fit a camera, some film, and my phone.
Do you feel apart of the photography community?
Sort of - I feel involved online in the photography community especially with Rental Magazine. I look through submissions I receive daily and engage with the Rental community regularly. There are so many talented photographers in Toronto, and I am fortunate to be friends with lots of them. However, I’m a pretty shy person so things like gallery shows, or book fairs can freak me out a little. I would like to work on forcing myself to leave my comfort zone more often and be more involved with the rest of the photo community regularly.
Toronto also has lots of talented skaters turned photographers, did you all come into this together or find it independent of each other?
Yeah, there definitely is a lot of people who skate and shoot photos here. We didn’t come into it together though. I think photography is just a natural extension for some skateboarders to want to try out. There are some similarities with the two in the sense of always looking for new good skate spots, and then looking for something you maybe want to shoot a photograph of.