Achromatic Petrification

Portraits of surfers by a non surfer.

Light / Dark

The act of surfing is about using and turning the energy of something big into movement. The act of photography is the opposite. To photograph is to anchor movement into something small, to capture life in a frame. I am certainly a photographer and definitely not a surfer. But being an outsider gives me an interesting vantage point. 

I had the privilege of a long, hard look at the men and women who carry the ocean with them in their bodies and faces. I didn’t photograph these surfers in action in the sea. Instead, I petrified them in front of my camera with their feet in the sand. 

I captured some of them desperate and dry before a surf. Others I captured afterward—wet, exhausted, and full of happiness. I photographed them on the beaches of California, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Bali, France, Sri Lanka, Senegal. I shot their forms achromatically in the shade of azure surf spots—Pipeline, Snapper Rocks, Padang Padang, La Gravière, Waimea, Hanalei, Raglan. 

—Stephan Vanfleteren

Kimo Leong
Jock Sutherland