Jeff Divine - A Surfing Life,
Gallery 169 is proud to host an exhibition of photographs by Jeff Divine. Jeff is considered to be one of the most insightful surf and surf culture documentary photographers of our time. Jeff's photos landed him a staff position in 1971 with Surfer Magazine, where he began his first of ultimately 35 annual trips to the North Shore of Hawaii. In 1981, Jeff became the photo editor of the magazine, a position he held for 16 years. Today Jeff is the photo editor at Surfer's Journal and continues to contribute to Surfer. Jeff has one of the largest archives of surf photography worldwide and has been shooting characters, surfing, environments and places since 1966.
The show is comprised of over one hundred images and story boards offering a close up, intimate surf expose catapulting the audience into the center of the surf culture of the 1970's and 1980's; documenting the transition from "free form individualism to sponsor driven, commercialization" of the sport. Jeff states: "If you hooked into one of the companies or magazines you could live the Jeff Spicoli dream; gnarly babes, tubes and awesome barrels."
Jeff, who grew up in La Jolla, captured this movement in vibrant, saturated colors, up and down the Southern California coast and Hawaii's North Shore with his 35 millimeter camera loaded with Kodachrome 64 film.
What has made Jeff successful is that his images appeal to a broad audience from the professional, lifestyle surfers themselves and to the wannabes who don't have the courage to leave the shore. Jeff defines how his audience regards his photographs when asked what he looks for in a good photograph: "I look for a thought behind it all. Technical application, a different angle, something that in some way captures a bit of the emotion of surfing in the sense that all surfers would be attracted to it. There is always one photo that if you laid it out in a group of 20 on a table, most surfers would agree that that one is the best. What's interesting is what a real core surfer would pick doesn't have much to do with technical qualities. It's all about the moment and surrounding environment of the wave and where the surfer is on the wave. Offshore, sideshore, Santa Ana lighting, tropical blue, slate grey glassy, crystal clear, dark blue, heavy, slab, late, casual, barreled, through the trees, perfect three foot, perfect six feet, perfect ten feet, clean 20 foot are all qualities the layman would never understand.
Jeff's intimate work, documenting a nostalgic subculture, will be available for viewing at gallery 169 through January, 2013.
A Surfing Life, according to Jeff Divine:
"The bottom line even to this day is that it's a man on a wave, and everything else is bullshit."