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Ryan Tatar. Modern day Mark Rothko / Ron Stoner mashup

November 24 2009 | Art, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

I'm not overly fond of digital cameras. Sure, I know they're perfect for taking thirty images with the intention of keeping one. I understand that they've changed the way we view photography due to the fact that digital file space is approaching free. I'm aware that they've opened up many new ways to share images... instantly... with friends and family from anywhere on the globe. I know all these things.

But look at the images below.

Ryan Tatar's images deliver so much more than a digital image can. They bring me in.

We're used to seeing a photograph of Dane Reynolds flying above a wave with every drop perfectly in place. Everything is in focus, the foreground and the background, the subject and the meaningless details. It's all there with so much clarity it seems too good to be true. That's because it IS too good to be true. Very few people surf like Dane, the human eye can only put one thing in focus at a time and we don't have auto-fill flashes to make every scene of our lives appear almost manufactured. Digital cameras have done these things. Digital cameras deliver so much perfection that they rob our imagination.

Now look below. You can feel what it's like to be paddling out behind this guy. The water is 68 degrees. Pretty sunny day. The waves are just ok. Yet, being in the ocean is absolutely glorious. I can feel it. I feel it because Ryan captured it.

Take me back to the sixties. Mod hotel on the horizon. Above-the-knee boardshorts. Weber hatchet fin. Light leaks galore. This photo is like your favorite pair of jeans. The ones you've had forever... no, not the ones you bought semi-distressed... the ones you distressed because you've worn them into the ground.

These images can't be dismissed as "retro" (thus insignificant) because of the fact that they deliver emotion better than most modern, digital images. Tech is a tool, not an end in itself. Ryan embraces cross processing and tweaking images until they look like something you haven't seen in a while... maybe ever.

Look at this last photograph. The image itself is almost a throw away. It's a nondescript board, nothing special fin and some cloth. But then mash that up with large color fields, some odd shadows and you've got an stunning image that holds your attention. Ron Stoner meets Mark Rothko. Images like this last one, for me, solidifies Ryan's value. Artists like Picasso painted goats. Van Gogh painted random bales of hay. They took what was around them and transformed them into something notable, something amazing.

I dig Ryan Tatar's eye. I love his composition. I'm blown away with how much he embraces color. He brings me straight into the mission of Surfrider Foundation... the "enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches" part. I like that part... we all do.

For more on Ryan Tatar go here.

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