The Retrostalgic Afterglow of Ryan Tatar’s Surf Photography

The Retrostalgic Afterglow of Ryan Tatar’s Surf Photography


Photographer Ryan Tatar’s pictures of surf culture tug at the tattered nostalgic edge of your imagination, the frayed hem of threadbare cutoffs stained and perfumed with old surfboard wax. Using film cameras from the 1960s and ’70s, he shoots in a saturated Kodachrome 64 glow, bordered with Holga vignetting and highlighted with the occasional sunflare imported from California 1972. It’s decidely now, but it could be yesterday, or the day before.

Although he’s not afraid to get close, more typically his perspective is at remove, the surfers mostly anonymous and serving as stand-ins for you or me. It’s an elemental perspective, simplified and suggestive of our place in the world, very much about the paddle out, the waiting for a set, the pulse of energy under an open sky, more so than what one surfboard is doing on one wave.

Despite what you might guess, his photos are not tinted or manipulated digitally. The funky colors and fuzzy vision are created by the use of old lenses, old film, and one-hour photo processing. And you can buy them in the form of old-school paper–some are available as limited edition prints. Go here to learn more.

For more on Ryan’s work, visit his website, Facebook page, Flickr page, or Twitter page.

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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
Showing 5 comments
  • Steve

    Interesting to see some old school surfing pictures. They look like they could go on the cover of a Chris Isaak cd or something!

  • Craig Rowe

    Great to see my local break represented in the Cape Fear Kooks essay. Great stuff. Really cool work …

  • dave nagel

    really nice work!

  • steven threndyle

    Scott Aichner has nothing to fear, here…

  • Ines

    Hi! I just wanted to share an amazing surfing photographer with you. Check out Cookiesoungs Flickr stream and enjoy 😉

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