March 28, 2023


Without Art It's Really Boring!!!

An Ode to Analog Surf Photography With John Hook

4 min read

When I resolved to test capturing surf on movie, the expertise of obtaining the digicam was virtually additional absurd than the act of bringing movie into the drinking water alone. 

Scouring the world wide web, I came throughout a single lone listing, titled inconspicuously, “Underwater movie camera, operates not tested.” The listing was full of pictures of a Nikonos V, comprehensive with the dive light-weight, further O rings, lubricant, even spare lenses — all just sitting there accumulating dust. 

“Great!” I thought to myself as I drove to Malibu. “Some random dude has no concept how a great deal this stuff is worthy of. If only he favored surfing!” Turns out, he did. The person promoting the digicam was, in point, a skilled surf photographer. He experienced taken pics of William Finnegan. Appeared in Surfer’s Journal, even. 

But among stacks of historic journals and signed skate motion picture posters, he explained to me there was no revenue in surf images anymore. Especially not if it is shot on movie. “Magazines all want electronic now,” he advised me, managing the O-rings by means of his fingers, telling me to check for fungus in the viewfinder. There was none. 

I bought the digital camera. But I drove household with the songs off, shed as to why a professional surf photographer would give these a novelty item absent for so very little. Was there genuinely no everyday living still left for analog surf pictures? 

I understood a single human being who would, absolutely have answers. Identified to several as a “funtographer,” the do the job of John Hook a short while ago appeared on the address of TSJ 30.6, and, around the several years, he has captured the likes of Nathan Florence, Noa Mizuno, Cliff Kapono, Devon Howard, and Shayden Pacarro. Oh yeah, and he did it all on movie. 

Peahi, as it was originally conceived. Image: John Hook

Hook has shot film for about 20 decades. “There was a second there when I bought into surf photography the place I just desired to do it, just to see if I could do it,” he reported. “I actually felt much more comfy shooting film in the h2o for the reason that I considered it gave off the effect that I was just undertaking it for exciting, and not there to test and steal surf photographers’ work opportunities. Now it actually feels like much more and extra men and women are taking pictures movie in the surf once again, and it is a quite present society.”

He told me he felt lucky to have developed up “right just before cell phones.” He has fond recollections of his youth, indicating, “I beloved using images of my friends hanging out and just skateboarding in parking lots and things. If any one needed a memory of anything we had to choose an actual photograph of it.” 

An Ode to Analog Surf Photography With John Hook 

Classic board shot on classic format. Picture: John Hook

But the mastering curve operating with movie was tricky. “I introduced my film camera everywhere I went and used it each working day, but it only had guide image configurations on it, so I experienced to discover what the camera could do with demo and mistake,” he claimed. “Unfortunately, it possibly took longer than it would have with a electronic camera mainly because I would have to hold out a several times just to see if my pics came out on film, and then adjust from there.” 

Getting the suitable digital camera settings are important in any circumstance, but getting these configurations without a monitor for reference, with fins and maybe gloves on, all whilst floating on the within waiting around for the following set wave? He notes 1 obstacle as staying specially tough. “Being additional limited to 36 shots a session as a substitute of, like, 1000’s, is hard but I sense it’s much more satisfying when you get a good 1.”

When questioned why he places up with the added inconvenience, Hook insisted that, “it’s just a lot more enjoyable on movie. The method of capturing film forces me to pay out awareness to each and every single instant of a wave, or normally remaining mindful of the problem in entrance of you. I feel I get to delight in the waves a lot more when I’m actually looking at them carefully.” 

An Ode to Analog Surf Photography With John Hook 

Regardless of what took place to the ol’ double publicity? Image: John Hook

Elaborating on the euphoria that generally accompanies the improvement of a excellent roll, Hook talked precisely about his double exposure images. “It’s like supplying myself a birthday current every single time I attempt and shoot them,” he says. “Sometimes they come out wonderful, and occasionally they’re just socks from grandma. It is a great facet of movie pictures that you can continue to create illustrations or photos rather than just seize them, so it can be a wonderful way to get ‘artsy’ and develop something out of your mind.” 

Nevertheless, I needed to know what would happen to the relaxation of these old cameras. Are they all doomed to obtain dust in pro surf photographers’ residences? Hook reassured me that there is still hope. 

“There will generally be a long run in surf pictures with movie, or just film photography in common,” he claims. “There are some amazing movie (shots) out there that just appear amazing when they are shot in the correct conditions. But I imagine in the long run, it will be the remarkable electronic cameras in our telephones that will get more than the earth. I think it will be interesting in the upcoming to see how ’surf photography’ will be consumed.” 

Him and me equally. But if everybody choosing up these previous movie cameras produces 50 % the get the job done that John has, we have absolutely nothing to dread. 

Editor’s Take note: John Hook is centered in Hawaii. 

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