Issue 77 – Summer special edition, 2015
Classic Funk In a Time of Techno
The heart still beats in this robot!
Photography is no longer soundtracked by the vast, echoing applause it so frequently deserves. In surfing, it has simply become a neglected cog in the greasy operation of publishing. Sure, we’re desensitised, but maybe the skill of composition has also been forgotten. Or maybe iCameras have permanently altered the game: who-shot-it-best now losing out to who-shot-it-first. While many pages and pixels still project imagery that make us feel, most thoughts about photographs are now expressed with a double tap of the thumb. Or no tap at all.
As a magazine that dines on painting surfing as the warmest colour, it feels appropriate to rectify this. At least in our own world. A good photograph is one that steals a little of your air, enough to break silent viewing and invite a pal’s perspective – things that you will find within this book. Feel the weight when opening the front cover, the push of air when an A3 page drops, the clarity in a greater size, the touch of gloss… all flavours of the Stab Big Book cocktail.
It is the Perfect Frankenstein!
The cover story, ‘Neo-Tokyo is about to Explode’, is another Stab concept shoot that reimagines surf photography. Extravagance is a lure for Stab and the idea to line a wave pool with a zillion lasers required very little persuasion. The night would then kill the lights, and we’d photograph Dillon Perillo, Conner Coffin and Brendon Gibbons in a fictitious Neo-Tokyo, circa 2019. Behind the scenes, we couldn’t have foreseen that lasers would fry the camera sensors, or the water so cold Conner required two steamers. Or that we’d break the pool pump from too much flight. And yet it was worth it given such acute beauty rarely plays for free.
‘Photolyfe’, meanwhile, features one of the greats – Jeff Divine. Jeff has survived five decades of surfing at the mercy of film – documenting from isolation, without phones or point-and-shoots. Jon Frank and Thomas Campbell rode the transition into digital but like relapsing addicts, they still get their kicks from the picture-taking process tangible film stock. Elsewhere the DSLR allows Chris Burkard to trek through Kamchatka in Russia with his pal, escapism, and shoot crystal frames that land as National Geographic covers.
In the end there’s zero limitations – every swell, any place.
And that’s precisely what big wave aficionado, Greg Long, explores in ‘Nostalgia is the best drug (but science gets you pretty high, too!)’. A collection of attractive frames taken over the past 12 months during the greatest year of swell we’ve had in three decades. Greg contemplates whether or not it was, in fact, so much better in past decades. And because science, Stab spoke to Professor Ian Goodwin, an aquatic genius, about the future. “If you’ve grown up with the fabled stories of what it used to be like (in the 50s and 60s), you’re about to get a taste of those glory days.”
After absorbing those vibes, remember to flip this vessel over and meet photographer, Luke Schuetrumpf. A young man of just 18 years, he is love drunk for two things; film and women. And it’s a combination he delivers with an aesthetic celebrating vintage Playboy.
You’ll find a familiar face next to Luke, too. Though, on a different side of the lens to what you’re used to.
John John Florence, the number one surfer, not by points but by fans (and that matters most), returns to another familiar place that isn’t Pipeline – the viewfinder. You’ll remember when John John shot Mr. Dane Reynolds for a previous Big Book cover. This issue, he slinks around the limbs of two gorgeous gals for the Stab Style cover feature.
Ultimately, this photo book is a tapestry of modern photography – A smash-up of old and new, shot and featuring the, well, old and new, in which surfing has never looked better. Welcome to a book made for the imagination, by the imaginative.