What the fuck?!?

I was walking the Huntington Beach Pier with AM and the kids when I made this image.  The surfer in the picture was doing a run when all of a sudden it was almost like he was yanked back by some invisible force.  He started screaming at the pier and shaking his fists like a madman.  It caught me so off guard that I immediately made the picture.  An instant later he was smashed into the ocean, a wave sneaking up behind him and crashing over his head.  

When he came up he started yelling at me.  At least I thought he was yelling at me.  When I looked down the pier I understood what had happened.  There was a couple fishing who had moved down the pier–pretty close to the beach and they had their lines cast long into break.  When I looked closely, I could see what looked like at least twenty lines cast off the pier flooding the waves that were rolling in below.  

The surfer was still yelling at/near me so I gestured at my camera and then at the fishing couple slightly cowering by a bench, pretending to be invisible.  Then I made the universal sign for fishing by putting my camera over and behind my head and then making as though I were casting it out over the ocean.  Fuck if I’m going to take the fall for them.  The surfer must have gotten the message because he paddled over to the lines, pulled a knife out from near his ankle and started cutting the lines one after another.  The couple who had cast them stopped cowering, pounced to the railing and started yelling at the surfer in some unknown language–gesturing almost as loudly with their hands in large sweeping motions punctuated with staccato stabs of their fingers. 

The surfer just stared at back at this hysteria in what could only be described as exasperated awe.  Then, he shook his fists at the sky and yelled, “What the fuck?!?” before cutting the last line, stowing his knife and paddling out to another wave leaving the fishing couple and their fringe of cut lines blowing in the wind. 

Shot on a Mamiya 6MF at 50mm on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800 by the lovely folks at the Icon.  


The boy in the bubble and other nearest misses

After yesterdays seriousness, I wanted to go the opposite way today.  When I first started shooting those first 10,000 pictures that were supposed to be my worst and which preceded the next 10,000 which were arguably just as bad, I absolutely used to work exclusively in series.   At the end of a shooting day there tended to be one or two shots that I really felt were standout and the bones of the story (if in those early days I actually had one) but were in turn complimented by a series of images that I was pleased with but that weren’t as strong.  Basically rudimentary editing.  I would lump the two together in a series of maybe 10-15 images which to me felt largely cohesive and beautiful and thereby in my mind, complete.  Feet up on the table, pour a glass of wine, shit knocked out of the park.

As I became more focused on drilling down the work to a couple glory shots that were super cohesive and that could be neatly filed into smaller even more concise narratives, more and more of my good-but-not-great-picks hit the edit room floor.  As I write this, I’m scanning a handful of rolls fresh from the lab and I’m seeing images that I really like (and am bothering to scan) but that I also doubt will make the final cut.    Based on this revelation there may be a good chance that your third 10,000 photos also suck and that HCB was a fucking liar who secretly worked for Kodak. 


So dear reader, tonight I’ve decided to post a few outtakes from my photographic musings.  Images that I liked but I worry will never see the light of day if I don’t do this right now.  These are all from the Santa Monica Pier and the Venice Boardwalk and I do hope you enjoy them.  

“The boy in the bubble” and others, shot on the the Mamiya 6MF with a 50mm lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film pushed +1 at the Icon.  


I don’t know how long they had been drifting apart.  It could have started last week or last year or last time they really talked.  But it had happened at some point and all that really matters is that it would have happened no matter what they did.  I think the first time I met them it was clear as day–two people talking passed each other; two people looking past each other into the soul of a person that just wasn’t there.  

I heard from a mutual friend that he was staying at work late so he could avoid going home and having dinner with her.  My wife heard that she was meeting some guy at the wine bar after work while he was working late.  It seemed to me it was only a matter of time before it all just crumbled.  The strange part was that I couldn’t imagine either of them actually giving a shit that it was over.  Sure there would be yelling and tears and shitty hurtful things said, but in my mind, while all the faux-emotional shrapnel was miming the destruction of everything they pretended to hold dear, they would pass right through the other like the ghosts they were–massless, half-empty/half-depleated husks of lovers.  

So when I heard they were taking a trip together, you know, ‘taking some time to patch things up” I couldn’t help but wonder.  I pictured them on the airplane, both on their phones, constantly checking their Instagram so they can avoid talking to each other.  Or in the hotel room, letting out a deep sigh while she fakes a headache to avoid sex and he checks her phone for texts while she’s in the bathroom.  I imagined them at the theme park, riding the rides secretly wishing they could just get off.  Get off of the rides.  Get off of each other.  Get off. 

Estranged shot on my Leica M7 with a Summicron 35 on Kodak Tri-X 400 and pushed to 800 at the Icon.  

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