Stab Magazine | The Lost Art of the Enigma (a mysto-photog with world class eye!)
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The Lost Art of the Enigma (a mysto-photog with world class eye!)

Words by Ali Klinkenberg Globalisation killed the enigma. Or, so we thought. Then, whilst nonchalantly scrolling the monotonous feed of life, we stumbled on something real. Something unique. Y’see, for all the tracking and planning, the Google Earth and location settings, there’s still cats slipping through the cracks. Codename @SA_RIPS has had us perplexed for […]

style // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Words by Ali Klinkenberg

Globalisation killed the enigma. Or, so we thought. Then, whilst nonchalantly scrolling the monotonous feed of life, we stumbled on something real. Something unique. Y’see, for all the tracking and planning, the Google Earth and location settings, there’s still cats slipping through the cracks. Codename @SA_RIPS has had us perplexed for some time. From a journalistic perspective, unanswered questions pose problems, but from a human slant, it’s refreshing to stumble on something that has no ready explanation.

Ando

Craig Anderson brings his own illumination, yes, but it takes a masterful lensman to harness it so deftly.

Elliston is a small town located 169km west of Port Lincoln. Population 377, depending on which way the crow flies. One of the 377 is the photographer in question. South Australia is so vogue right now. Sure, we’ve always known it was there, but tales of hostile locals, both of the ute-driving and seal-mauling variety, have kept the hoards at bay. And, will continue to do so. As Rich (the only name I’m given) puts it, “the wave sorts everyone out down here.”

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All the clouds have silver linings. Rich conducts every kinda light!

There’s a certain intrigue in seeing the most premium of images, of the most top shelf of surfers, from the most vogue surf destination, by an unknown who claims to merely be in the right place at the right time. The ‘right place’ involves swimming in sharky, dangerous waters, and armed only with his Kmart flippers and Nikon D3 that he bought second hand on eBay, Rich regularly churns out crisp and provocative images.

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No man, regardless of surfing skill or taste, is above extracting a level of pleasure from an unmakeable vault like this. There’s something in that about the ocean’s raw beauty, but we’ll let Rich handle the poetry here.

“I’ve dropped my water housing so many times that the command dials are broken. So, I plan a particular shot before I swim out and manually lock the settings. So I’m limited in what I can do once I’m out there.”

Whoever happens to be in the slot for Rich’s pre-determined vision, gets their image frozen. Whether that be Craig Anderson, Camel, or Pete Tomlinson – who Rich rates as surfing the local offerings better than any of the pros that blow into town.

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There’s a few things of certainty in surfing. One of them is that no photographer has ever been deflated by Craig Anderson’s entry to a lineup. And Rich is a master in not wasting opportunities.

“Most of the time I’m already out there swimming and don’t even know who the pros are.

“Sharks are a constant threat. I carry a knife for those long lonely swims over deep, dark waters. There’s always sightings, I’m sure they swim past. I just tuck my knees up to my chest when I’m waiting around. A few days ago a young fella lost his leg to a shark down the road.”

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Fuck off.

It really brings us to the question of why? Why risk so much, for something that’s got no immediate gain?

“I just love to experience and freeze special moments. So I can look at them again and again.”

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A modern miracle of experience, lighting, nature and button-tapping! Can you feel the sweet chill of Rich’s frozen mountain?

Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like fame, or money. Some men just do it for the visions, for the moments. The beauty of photography, as Rich so poignantly puts it, is that you can freeze these moments and relive them whenever you choose. To step into the world of SA_Rips is to experience something real; moments documented for memories sake.

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Green screen any backdrop here and the water appearance alone will carry into the ‘mesmerising’ realm. Rich don’t stop there, though: He bonuses a sun-drenched cliff.

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