The Surfing Sixties… the decade when Australia came of age on the waves.
What: The Surfing Sixties Photography Exhibition by Jack Eden
Where: Tristan’s Photographic Gallery, Wadebridge, Cornwall
When: Exhibition runs from 7th June until 30th August 2008
This summer Tristan’s Photographers Gallery in Wadebridge, North Cornwall, takes advantage of both its status as one of the few international fine art photographic galleries outside of London and its sunny location amidst the surf beaches of North Cornwall to present a collection of rare hand printed black and white images by the founding father of Australian surf photography, Jack Eden.
Described as “the photographic biographer” of Australian surfing history, Eden shot the majority of the images displayed between the late fifties and late sixties mainly around the beaches of Sydney for use in his magazine ‘Surfabout’ learning developing and printing techniques by correspondence with legendary American landscape photographer Ansel Adams.
This period was a time of great transition, growth and development in surfing, as both new materials and designs allowed for great progression in the water and more young people pursued a relaxed and carefree lifestyle after the war years such as that offered by the beach. Jack Eden captured both the action taking place on the waves, and also the fashions, cars, musicians and attitudes of the blossoming Australian beach scene which has since developed to become a national stereotype. The sixties were the decade when Australia came of age on the waves – the surfing evolution and revolution.
Comprising well composed and aesthetic action shots, portraiture and photojournalistic lifestyle subject matter, Jacks photography truly captured the innocence and essence of surfing in the sixties.
Amongst the prints on display are classic images from the First World Surfing Championship held in Manly, Australia in 1964, and featuring such iconic forefathers of modern surfing as Midget Farrelly, Nat Young, Mike Doyle, Joey Cabell, Peter Drouyn and Bob McTavish.
This is the first time that any of these works have been displayed in Europe having extensively toured museums and galleries throughout Australia, and the prints exhibited are from an extremely limited edition run of three hand printed by Jack himself before the onset of poor health – one for the exhibitions permanent collection, one for his family collection, and one, those on display at Tristan’s, for sale.
If you are unable to visit the gallery all images can be purchased directly through the website.
Words by: Matthew Arney