Surf Riot By Nick Waplington

Posted by Suzie Wong | March 28th, 2012 Share

Surf RiotSurf Riot

“We’ve got a riot and we’re making arrests,” Huntington Beach Lt. Jack Reinholtz said shortly after the melee began. He said it was the worst disturbance to occur in Huntington Beach since a 1969 Easter weekend riot.

He said in the Los Angeles Times in 1986 that his “group of about 10 officers was surrounded by ‘about 5.000 people. They could have killed us if they wanted to.”

Over time, photographs store up a certain power. Such as the 1986 photographs of Nick Waplington‘s Surf Riot (Little Big Man, $150). Perhaps the value of this photographs as a historical document takes a while to accrue.

The story behind Surf Riot goes like this: On the last day of August, 1986, Nick Waplington woke up late and turned on the news. An Aeromexico DC9 had collided with a light aircraft going to Big Bear for the weekend. Both aircraft dropped from the sky onto residential Cerritas, near Huntington Beach, just south of Los Angeles, killing all those onboard both planes — plus a number of people unlucky enough to be at home that Labor Day morning.

Waplington then drove to Huntington Beach, where he had been planning to watch the OP Surf Pro Championships. Upon arrival, all hell was breaking loose. Having only one roll of 24 exposure film, Waplington documented the chaos exploding around him in 25 concise frames.

The photographs within Surf Riot contradict the standard imagery associated with American surf culture from the 1980s. Gone is the laid-back Adonis figure and his flaxen-haired beach babe, and instead, in full lurid color, we see sunburned teens running wild. Unlike other youth revolts, this surf riot bears little in the name of protest— it’s merely a spontaneous eruption of violence just for the sport of it. Coca Cola cups and radio station promotions lie trampled underfoot, commercial symbols of contentment cast aside.

New York based British artist Nick Waplington has created a number of acclaimed photographic books including Living Room (1991), Other Edens (1993), The Wedding (1994) Safety in Numbers (1996), and Truth or Consequences (2001). Solo exhibitions include The Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, 1992, Photographer’s Gallery, 1995, the Underwood Street Gallery, 1999, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2007. In addition, Waplington’s work was exhibited at the 2001 Venice Biennale and is held within a number of international collections, not limited to the MoMA, The Guggenheim, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Published by Little Big Man, Surf Riot is released in a strictly limited edition of 300 copies, with 100 specially packaged and containing a hand-numbered photographic edition. ❚

 

  Flattr this

Tagged with , , ,

Past Forward By Vincent Fournier

Past Forward By Vincent Fournier

In Past Forward (360 Publishing, ISBN 978-9081935708, $65.70), a limited edition book, photographer Vincent Fournier collects the last years of his work on 5 cycles: Space Project, The Man Machine, Tour Operator, Brasilia and Synthetic Biology. Fournier attempts in his images to create allegories of childhood dreams, where reality blends effortlessly with fiction. "The meaning …

Early Color By Saul Leiter

Early Color By Saul Leiter

This monograph entitled Early Color (Steidl, ISBN 978-3865211392, $110) gives the long over-looked artist Saul Leiter a place to shine. Leiter was best known as a painter who exhibited alongside Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning in the 1950's, but his real talent may have been as a photographer. He will forever be known as …

Garden Estate: A Study About A Confined Area

Garden Estate: A Study About A Confined Area

Garden Estate (The Velvet Cell, ISBN 978-1-908889-18-8, roughly $23) by Belfast based artist Fergus Jordan is a book about the legacy of Northern Ireland’s first heroin epidemic, which devastated a 1970’s council estate on the edge of Ballymena called Dunclug. The problem of tensions and social complexities of council estates are found on the edges of …

Inside Cern By Andri Pol

Inside Cern By Andri Pol

At Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Physicists are seeking answers, using some of the world's most powerful particle accelerators. For most people locations like Cern that hold a particular importance for the development of our society and for the advancement of science …

Muhammadiyah Welfare Home By Megat Ibrahim Mahfuz

Muhammadiyah Welfare Home By Megat Ibrahim Mahfuz

The photographs and documentary of the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home by Megat Ibrahim Mahfuz serve as a reminder of what visual storytelling can do for the storyteller, not just by way of telling a story but to use it as a means of coming to terms with existing conditions and recognising the similarities, the hopes and …

Animalia By Kevin Lee

Animalia By Kevin Lee

The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animalis, meaning "having breath". In everyday colloquial usage the word incorrectly excludes humans. Kevin WY Lee’s street photography Animalia is a unique piece of visual documentary, a short poem. In Animalia (disambiguation) the founder of The Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA) gives a imaginative view on the taxonomic …

Comments are closed.