14 August, 2014 14 August, 2014

Gone With the Grain

It was an age of patience and finesse according to ace lensman, Alan Van Gysen, who we asked to give his thoughts on being a photographer in the pre-digital era. A time when all surf moments seen on screen and in print were captured on film.

For #TBT this week, we take a look at a selection of unedited photographs that were actually taken this year, but all on 35mm film. They were snapped by up-and-coming Cape Town photo/videographer, Tao Farren-Hefer, who was keen to see the results as he experimented with this once common medium.

All images © Tao Farren-Hefer (click to view larger)
Mikey February takes flight at Long Beach.

Words from the veteran:
36-frames. That was it. That’s all you had. One roll with 36 possibilities. 36 Opportunities to capture something special before a reload was in order. Imagine having to swim in after every 36 frames! Definitely no heavy fingers unless the action was real special. That was film. Silver halide crystals wrapped-up snug in gelatin and neatly coated on to a film strip that was all rolled up into a case ready to be shown the light. No instant “fools” preview to check that your photographs were correctly exposed. No delete button either. The lineup sure was a quieter place photographically back in the day. No trigger-happy, rapid-fire, “click-click, click-click”. It was an age of appreciation and patience. The best part of the whole experience was the anxious “wait and see” while the developer at the back processed your film. Usually just over an hour. Clipped racks of film moved slowly through the drier while anticipation built. And finally, the lightbox. Oh the lightbox! That artificial sun that illuminated the photos on your roll, while you pressed the loupe firmly to your eye and quickly skimmed over each frame. The magnifier would bring ever frame clearly into view while you searched for those highlight moments you just prayed and hoped you’d captured as your eye had seen it. Film sure was special, and it was an art – Alan Van Gysen

Words from the talented rookie:
I’ve been building up a collection of surf stills on 35mm analogue cameras, shooting in the water as well as from land. I don’t edit the shots at all once they have been developed at the photo lab, and the film creates quite interesting colour and grain, something a bit different to all the crystal clear and highly photo-shopped digital shots we see – Tao Farren-Hefer

Check out Tao’s website for more.

A quiet moment at backline.

Kalk Bay’s less talented little sister, Danger Reef showing off.

Deen Hill, solo surf near home.

Durban pier construction.

Johno Hutchison’s surfboard wall, Ballito.

Layback for the spectators at Longbeach.

Home-made log fin.

M-Feb flying over.

I rode this wave next to Mikey. He landed an air reverse and rode backwards next to me for ages.

M-Feb digging in his inside rail.

Escaping the chill of the cold Atlantic in Scarborough.

Mikey made the most of this Scarborough close-out.

Post-surf sunset at Misty Cliffs

Twisting at Witsands.

1 Comment

  1. Matthew Christian
    15 August, 2014 at 10:31 am · Reply

    Brilliant stuff – A real talent behind the lens!

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