Help breathe life into a piece of surf history…
Always a good to help a brother out, wouldn’t y’say?
Of all the cameras and phones floating around the North Shore each season, it’s only the photographic reportage of Steve Sherman and Justin Jay that, well, how do you say it…sing.
Justin is photographer from New York city’s Lower East Side, a master portraitist who works with a Nikon film camera, an ancient manual-focus 35mm prime affixed to the beak.
Jay 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 Jay, 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 approach 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.”
He calls himself the Switzerland of photographers because he has no allegiance to a magazine or company.
My favourite shot of Jay’s, maybe of all time, is this image of Dane Reynolds, excluded from a Bruce Irons make-out session at a North Shore party.
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.
After ten years, Jay is finally going to sling it all into a fine hard-cover book.
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.”
Like a lot of hot shots, he ain’t doing it through the usual publishing route. Hence the Kickstart he’s chasing.
Jay needs 22k (Australian dollars) to make it happen.
There’s some good incentives to kick in.
Eighty five bucks and you get a book and a signed print.
Five gees US and you’ll “Receive a signed copy of HI 1K, a signed 16X20 print of their choice from the book, and a round trip plane ticket to the North Shore during the Pipe Masters event in Dec 2019. Spend an afternoon on a private tour of the North Shore as Justin Jay goes behind the scenes to visit team houses and deliver gift copies of HI 1K to some of the athletes featured in the book. Afterward, enjoy a complimentary meal at the legendary Breakers Restaurant.”