Keith Terra’s “My Eyes Are Open”

Since I can remember I have been seeing Keith’s work published in just about every magazine I can think of. Not much has changed over the years in that regard. What has changed is his affinity towards the mustache and his new photo book “My Eyes Are Open”. Keith was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his latest project. The book is available for purchase over on blurb.

This book “My Eyes Are Open” spans 12 years of your photography. During that time you have traveled to some of the most revered spots in the world. Do any spots in particular stand out in your mind? Any spots you wish you could be a local at?

Yea… I have been to quite a few spots through out the years, and many of them were amazing, and still are. When thinking of ones that stand out, I can really think of hundreds. The old Asbury, NJ park stands out cause it was located in an old, run down building that at one time, years ago it was a casino. All the trails I’ve been to I can remember quite well, like the first time I traveled to cali to ride places like Sheep Hills and Bo’s trails, and I can go on for hours about all the other places. I just feel that any place that I was at surrounded by friends will always stand out in my mind. I’m not sure about wanting to be a local at any place besides where I am right now at the Panamoka trails on Long Island… well… maybe I could see myself being a local at Posh.

Is there a Shredder Dan photo in the book?

Haha…no, there is not. There almost was though. I have some good shots of him, but now looking back at them I just wish I shot them better and I feel i wouldn’t be giving him justice with a photo I have doubts on.

I remember a time when it seemed you shot almost exclusively in black and white. Since then you seem to have incorporated a lot more color into your work. Any reason for the change?

It’s the digital age, brotha. It has just became so much easier to get photos places to where they need to be, and also my dark room has been out of commision for a bit now. If I’m going to shoot a b/w photo I want it to be film, and I want to print it up myself and give it that unique feel to it. Sometimes I do fall victim of changing a color photo to b/w, but I die a little bit inside every time I do… haha.

What is your favorite film stock?

With b/w negatives it would be Illford hp5 plus 400 speed for 35 and 120. As for color slides it’s Fuji Velvia 50 speed. For color negatives I really dont have a process.

Where do you enjoy shooting the most the trails or the streets?

I would easily say the trails. I feel the possibilities are endless when it comes to shooting in the woods. Every set of trails are different and so are the woods that they lay in. When shooting street, alot of spots look the same. A ledge is a ledge and a rail is a rail. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really unique street spots, but not as many trails as there are. Another reason I like shooting trails more is because it’s the thing I like riding the most. In my opinion you can’t beat a day in the woods at the jumps with your friends enjoying an all day session.

How long did it take you to pick out images and compile the book?

I’ve been working on this on and off for about a year and a half. I would get motivated and really bang out a few pages and find some good images, and other times it would take me hours to just make one single layout, so I would give a break for a bit. It was hard going back through all my photos over the past 12 years and trying to pick what images made the cut or not. I actually cut myself off when the book got to 144 pages, but i got a test copy of the book and when i went back to make some changes i wound up adding 6 more pages. I easily could have made this book something like 200 pages, but I think that would be a bit much for people looking at it.

Is there anyone that you would like to thank?

There are hundreds and hundreds of people I would like to thank that I’ve shot photos of, traveled with, and have met through out my times riding and shooting bmx, but I’m not goin to name them all.. haha. This crazy life of riding bmx and being a photographer has brought amazing people into my life and has allowed me to see amazing places. So to all those people and places, I thank you. I would also like to thank Least Most for this interview and showing interests in my book, and that goes to anyone else who shows interest in it.

Bryan Tarbell

A vegetarian Ron Swanson.