Dazzling NYC portraitist soaks the seven mile miracle…
There’s photos and there’s photos. Am I right?
Sometimes y’just snatch a moment out of thin air with your phone, other times it’s a work of art and high-end glass. Justin Jay, a 42-year-old photographer from New York city’s Lower East Side, gives us a little of both: the eye of a master portraitist mixed with a Nikon film camera, ancient manual-focus 35mm prime affixed to the beak.
Here, a drip-feed of Justin’s work from December, 2016.
Part one, The Daddy Loves Jasper Jay Project.
“It was a strange year for me on the North Shore,” says Justin. “Usually by the second week of the Pipe waiting period, the comp has gotten well under way. There were even a few times in recent years that the contest actually ran so early that the circus had entirely left town by Dec 15th and I was left to try and fill the days before my flight left by jumping Waimea rock and taking landscape photos.
“This season, the weather and waves were pretty crappy until the final moments of the Pipe widow. I had a son this year who was back in NYC with my wife, so simply changing my ticket and staying another week really wasn’t an option. My focus when I’m on the North Shore is to capture candid moments that tell a story. Even though I don’t really shoot action or ‘surfing’, when there is no surf, it’s bizarre how empty the North Shore becomes. It’s not like all of the figures that would normally be in the lineup are instead fraternizing on the team house lawns and hanging out. When the watering hole is dry, the animals retreat and things are exceptionally quiet. No moments to be captured. Nobody standing around shit-talking and critiquing waves ridden. No history to be documented.
“I tried to stay busy by working on a personal project for my son Jasper who was about to turn one. Under normal circumstances, a lone North Shore luminary simply walking the bike path or buying eggs at Foodland wouldn’t necessarily be a ripe opportunity for a captivating picture. Candid moments need to have context and a narrative. So this year I chose to shoot a project of people holding a sign wishing Jasper happy birthday. The pictures were all shot spontaneously with minimal direction given, just a quick strike mission with existing backgrounds and ambient lighting. Because of the limited time and prep that I had to nail each shot, individually, the images weren’t necessarily the most compelling portraits I’ve ever taken. But the concept and the sign itself ended up doing most of the heavy lifting. Collectively, the 65 portraits turned out to be an interesting cross-section of the North Shore in 2016.”
Here’s twenty of ’em.
Hello Mike Ho!
His boy Mason!
Ain’t Lyndie a peach? And how about mini-AI!
Dane, maybe wearing the low-fi chic of Former?
Uncle Eddie Rothman. Hello!
Danny Fuller, Pipe stud!
Greyson Fletcher, just magnificent.
Gabriel Median, well groomed.
Bruce Irons, a little serious.
Makua Rothman. Big-Wave world champ!
Luke Egan, still unbelievable on a surf craft.
Coco Ho, wonderful.
Bodysurf supremo, Mark Cunningham.
Freddy P, he got his own spawn!
John John, no chillun yet, but he got a title.
Kelly Slater, always a decent sport.
Kala Alexander, like, yike!
Nathan Fletcher, great mom.
Carissa Moore. Sweet!
Kai Lenny, swings on anything!