Special Feature

Sneakers Through a Lens

Sneakers Through a Lens

Written by: Mercedes Watson

It's no secret that art and fashion have a huge impact on hiphop culture. A small part of that culture is the sneaker community -- a community where the taste makers influence determines what sneakers sell and sit on shevles. A key tool for these taste makers are photographers. In this article, we had the opportunity to interview one of the best up and coming photographers in the sneaker community Luis Ledesma.

Photo by Luis Ledesma

Photo by Luis Ledesma

What got you into sneakers?

When I was younger my brother-in-law had all the jays. Always waited till I got home from school to do an unboxing with me and from then I was consumed by the culture. Witnessing the hype consume everyone and see him NOT be able to walk into a Footlocker and cop was devastating. We're definitely not in the late 90's anymore.

When did you find your passion for photography?

 Ever since I was younger I had those CVS cameras taking pictures with my family through everything we did. It was always my getaway. It didn't start truly impacting my life until high school when I was finally able to get some form of social media and realize how tied together sneakers and photography were. 

What is it about boost that made you stop buying Nike/ Jordan's?

 I love telling this story, lol. First off, it has to be known that I still have an appreciation for Nike/JB. They originated the passion for footwear for me. But it all started when I was a part timer at footlocker. One day we got this massive shipment of Adidas. It was the first batch of pureboost that came out and retailed for $120. I was wearing my DMP 11's that day when I took them out the box and realized how lightweight they were. Saw the boost sole and just wondered how comfy they'd be. Slipped them on, and from that moment my only goal was to get every customer to at least try them on. Soon enough... you see me wearing them every day. Happy that no one else really wanted them at first. Until that fateful day Kanye wore them playing basketball . I never got a chance to stock up on so many pure boost and 1.0's. But to answer the question; it's all about comfort now. Jays are good for 1-2 hours max for me PERSONALLY (everyone's feet are different). JB was also been dropping in terms of quality at that point so it only seemed right. So I slowly sold all I had Jordan and Nike wise. 

Photo by Luis Ledesma

Photo by Luis Ledesma

How do you feel about the marriage of art and sneakers? 

It's a great relationship. Take any sneaker like a blank canvas. Collaborations between brands of today display that very well. Mixing materials and concepts to further push the envelope of footwear is something that still keeps me into the culture to this day. 

How do you see the forecast of the sneaker community and the culture 10 years from now? 

 Honestly. 10 years from now I see even younger kids looking for 1.0 ultraboost as if they were the OG Jays from early 2000 's

What's your all-time favorite pair of sneakers ?

 I'd have to say my Nice Kicks NMD. if you know me. You've heard the story and seen how demolished my pair is. Yea they're a grail to me but meant to be worn. Camped 13 hours at my local boutique UBIQ. To only get cut in line by 30+ people. At the time I was interning at UBIQ's corporate office (and no I didn't have a plug to a pair LOL). So after getting cut in line it just so happened that here was one last pair left at corporate. It was the photo pair used to promote on social platforms. It was offered to me and I was able to cop for under retail. Now I had no idea how NMD's ran; this was my first pair and it was a size 9. I was usually and 10. Slipped them on and they rarely came off after that moment. 

What inspires you the most? 

Number one is my kid Aiden. Everything I do is for his future; my legacy. 2nd are the people I surround myself with. Last year I was stuck in someone's shadow. Not really seeing myself progress and create as much as I could have been. So I decided to switch it up. Interact with people just as hungry as me, and I've been climbing since.

Photos: by Luis Ledesma