Ask pretty much any pro street boarder out there who their favorite photographer to work with is, and undoubtedly, the name Bob Plumb will get thrown in the mix at some point. There is a fine line of whether Bob is considered a comedian vs. a photographer, and this is why people love having Mr. Plumb around. Not only is he one of the best photographers, and one of our most coveted contributors, but he also has the ability to make anyone laugh and this is essential to keeping morale high on filming trips. There is no doubt that this ball of energy from SLC has a ton of personality and knows how to have a good time, but when it’s time to get the job done, Bob is going to get the shot. If you don’t know Bob, now is a great time to read up and see how hilarious and talented this character is. – Mike Yoshida
Name: Robert Alan Plumb Jr aka the Possum aka RAP JR
Age: Maybe 30
Home Mountain: Brighton, UT
Hometown: Salt Lake City UT
Gear: Canon Mark 4, Canon 5d Mark II, Hasselblad 500c, Hasselblad 2000, few lenses for both cameras, a couple Elinchrom Quadra flashes and some Sunpaks
How did you get introduced to snowboarding and likewise, photography?
My best friend when I was in junior high started to go snowboarding so I went up and tried it. My parents also bought us a plastic snowboard to try before we got the real thing. We would go to a park here called Sugar House Park. It has one steep, small hill that we would ride down. For photography, I think I was always into pictures. My Uncle Paul was real into shooting photos when I was younger and my mom, Rebekah, would shoot a little too. I always loved looking at photos in magazines whether it was snowboarding or “Nat Geo”, haha. I took a class in college and that was it. I fell in love with it.
Do a lot of guys think that you look like a girl from behind, even with your shirt off?
I would like to think so. I mean it feels good getting checked out whether it’s a guy or a girl, right? Although I’m pretty sure my woman, Cheree, would tell you I don’t have that ass to be mistaken for a women. It’s too flat.
How did you get introduced to snowboarding and likewise, photography?
How many times do you want me to answer this question, Yosh? Is this a typo? You need to get your shit together.
Do you have any funny childhood stories about growing up with Lizard King and what’s it like going out and shooting photos with him?
I have two brothers. The Big Fish and Lizard King. Big Fish is the most mellow out of all of us. Everyone loves him. A good story of Lizard? I got a lot. One time we were on a family vacation in Mexico. The showers weren’t closed off to the rest of the rooms, so naturally I wanted to fuck with him. I got a bucket of water and went to dump it on him and low and behold, he’s going to town on himself. Hahaha, so funny! He looked up with this terrified/busted look and I just said, “oh Mikey (Lizard), you spanking the monkey? That’s a bad monkey!” Then I poured the water on him. For the rest of the trip that was the joke. Every time he went in the shower after that, the monkey joke was in play. He was maybe thirteen at the time, so I’m sure he hated me for months after that. Skating and snowboarding with him is the shit! You can do the lamest trick and he’ll act like it was the most amazing thing he’s ever seen. He always has the good positive energy.
What does it take to get on the SLC sex offender registry?
Not sure on this one. I think you should ask Andy and E-Stone.
List five things you always bring with you to shoot in the streets.
Cameras, flashes, and bad jokes. That’s three things that are always present. Most importantly, I NEVER bring a shovel. Artists don’t shovel!
What is the most influential trick, image, or session you recall shooting?
Mmmmm. Not sure if it was the most influential trick, but I remember the first time I shot photos of Mike LeBlanc. I was tripping. He’s my snowboarding idol. The whole time I was setting up my flashes I was just saying to myself, “DON’T FUCK THIS UP!” It ended up working out and we have become friends since. He’s such a rad human. Also, when we were up in Quebec City sometime ago filming for “Bozwreck 2”, Keegan [Valaika] wanted to find the Red Ledge the whole trip. We ended up finding it the last day and it was buried in snow to about half way up the stairs. I remember thinking, “well, we found it, but sorry, this isn’t happening.” Keegan and Cale [Zima] got out and started shoveling and didn’t stop ’til it was dug out, which took probably four hours. Then they sessioned it for another three hours. Keegan did a switch back lip and a cab 270. Cale got a back 180. It was crazy. Then we drove all the way back to Burlington.
What do you think the riders think of you on a shoot?
My jokes are the best they have ever heard; I’m always entertaining; I’m the world’s greatest photographer and if they shoot a photo with me it’s going straight to the cover! In reality, though, I’m annoying, not that funny, and the photos are soggy! Call me if you want your shit to sit on a harddrive.
What would be your dream crew to work with?
Mikey, Matty, Bozung, Cale, Keegan, Bennee, Deadlung, OE, Forest, Bradshaw, Wittlake, Grenier, LNP, Hefe, Hammid, Dirks, Butters, Shane, LJ, Bubble Boy, Riley, Justin. Not doing anything except talking shit and telling jokes.
Give us some word association with the listed riders:
• Travis Rice: Helicopters
• Nate Bozung: Matty Ryan
• LNP: Hairy Beer Gut
• Knut Eliassen: Glistening Forehead
• Timmy Ronan: Underrated
• Mikey LeBlanc: Legend
• Jake OE: Entertainment
• Jed Anderson: Golden Child
• Keegan Valaika: Bozwreck 2
You’ve shot with the best of the best. That being said, who are some of the new talent that you are stoked on snapping photos of these days?
Sam Taxwood, Ian Hart, Justin Fronius, Danimals, Chip, and Forest
I imagine you have quite a bit of downtime in the summer months. Aside from photo editing, what keeps you busy in the off-season?
Nothing is worse than photo editing. Staring at the computer for hours is terrible. I swear I have ADHD. I can only last for a couple hours before I get sidetracked. I have a garden at my house that I work on every year. Do some work around the house. Shoot skating. Play soccer. Go on trips. Do some work for Nitro and L1. Oh, and I got a job working with a company Coalatree this summer. They have this rad farm that’s up in Colorado. We already went on a skate trip through Denver down to the farm and on to Salt Lake. It was tight.
Without mentioning any names, what’s up with the competitive photo drama that goes on between SLC-based snow photogs?
HAHA, this is such a good question. There was some serious drama between a couple of the big wigs this winter. Making appointments and claiming spots. Getting all competitive with each other. There is an SLC battle for the number one exposure meter spot, hahaha. I think it’s hilarious. Maybe because the winter here has sucked so bad the past couple years, people were getting crazy. I got over it and just went and shot photos with the kids…that sounds weird. No one cares to shoot photos of them now, but just wait a couple years and the photographers will be all over them, haha.
If you had never picked up a camera, what would you see yourself doing?
I don’t know. I was pretty lost when I found photography. I’d probably go into the family business and be slanging houses with my dad, Bob Sr.
Film vs. Digi: which do you prefer and why?
Each has its purpose. I remember shooting a sequence of my brother doing a frontboard big spin when I first started shooting. I went through twenty-plus rolls of film and he never got it. It’s crazy to think about shooting sequences with film, but I love the way film photos look on the Hasselblad. Their lenses are so sharp. Besides, I fell in love with photography because of the darkroom. I’m hoping to get back in there and make some real prints.
What would be some good advice to any of the younger up-and-coming photogs out there reading this?
There is nothing worse than hanging with photographers that think their photography is more important than the snowboarding going on around them. We are all in this together. Nothing works if you don’t get along with the filmer and the people snowboarding. Never take for granted how insanely talented the people are that you’re shooting. They are the ones putting themselves at risk. We’re just pushing a button.