Essential: Justin Jay on the North Shore
You want to see what happens when one of the best shooters in the world goes to the North Shore? Photos so fresh!
New York City’s Justin Jay is a photographer who takes his work extremely seriously. Every year when he flies to the North Shore to independently cover the contest season, he carries a box of prints in his backpack to give to surfers he’s previously shot.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” says the 41 year old from the Lower East Side, who has previously shot Jay Z, Outkast and P Diddy. “A picture does take a little bit of your soul in a sense, it’s why famous people wear sunglasses all the time. So if you take someone’s photo, you need to give something back, you have to make sure they get a print. Everyone has a fucking iPhone and no one has any physical prints any more. When you give someone a print from a year ago, they feel amazing.”
Justin’s game is simple enough.
“Whether I’m shooting Diddy or Jay-Z or Kelly or Joel I put myself in the eyes of a 13-year-old fan,” he says. “What would they like to see? There’s plenty of photos of Dane and Kelly ripping, but that’s not my game. I want to see the surfers before and after they surf, getting in fist fights, partying, eating breakfast.”
Justin says his game works ’cause he’s an outsider, because hasn’t been in the industry for so long that his eyes cloud over the minutiae of this awesome multi-generational gathering of the world’s best surfers.
The photos that are follow are from Justin’s sixth trip to the North Shore, most are only a few days old, where he is shooting for a photo book called Beach Access, although he ain’t in no hurry to get the thing on the press.
As he says, “my style of stuff lends itself to ageing. These are historical shots, rather than standard portraits. Plus, going back each year is like going to summer camp or winter camp, in this case, all the same faces, this great fraternity.”
See more of Justin Jay’s work here (Click!) and follow him on IG at @justinjayphoto