A Photographer’s Worst Nightmare

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.You’ve all heard it a thousand times before, but your mom was right. Riding is fun until that time you fall down and all the fun turns to pain. But in a photographer’s world, we don’t really experience the pain, just the guilt. Guilt? Yeah, the guilt of seeing somebody take it just so we can shoot a photo.

There was a local amateur contest on a random night at the Escondido Skatepark in Escondido, CA. I decided I’d show up, possibly take a few photos and maybe even get a BMXonline story out of it. The very first person I asked to shoot photos was my friend Tex Brito. He was a bit reluctant in the beginning, but after some coaxing I was setting up over this steep wedge to wedge hip. I figured I’d fire off a few photos of nothing in particular and then move on to the next thing. Tex is a Escondido local and has done the same thing/trick/jump hundreds of times without incident, so never once did it cross my mind that something would go wrong.

Three shots down and completed, but on the fourth run something went bad. I still don’t know what, as I was looking through the lens, but it didn’t look good. Tex hit the hip, the shutter went, and then sometime after that, his wheel slipped and he went face first into the concrete. I knew it was bad right away, so I got up from my crouched position and was the first one to make it to Tex. He was still face down and awake, but the first real sign of damage was his lack of finger nail on his index finger--it was completely ripped off, held on only by a thread of skin. From there I could see all the various cuts on the top of his hands and elbows, then the ones on his face and the instant swelling. I called some people over and we made sure nothing major was wrong. He got up on his own power and made his way to the bathroom where the next half hour was filled with a lot of running water and wisps of pain.

Frame number four of the roll.  credit: Ryan Fudger

I didn’t want to be in the bathroom, so I let other people take care of him. After he was moderately cleaned up, he came back out to the skatepark and asked me, “What?!? When did you get here?” He bonked his head pretty good and after a few minutes of wandering around, he was driven to the hospital where he spent the rest of the night. The final count was a bunch of cuts on his hand, elbow, shoulder, and face, a severely swollen elbow that requires therapy to get back to normal, a swollen eye that soon turned into a black eye, short one fingernail, and a mean concussion--all because I asked him to shoot a photo. Sorry Tex, I really do appreciate it.

Frame number five.  credit: Ryan Fudger