In Progress 2010 – 15
These photographs offer an insight into the world of the surf-grom (an under 16 young girl or boy surfer). Andy Hughes’ portrait series of young surfers show his sitters often clad in neoprene, emblazoned with logos and graphic symbols, they seem both vulnerable and confident. Each looks out at us, with all the trappings of modern contemporary life.
The developing current cultural fascination with the beach and surfers as presented in numerous magazines and commercial advertising sits comfortably with the multitude of various picturesque images of the beach and sea (silhouetted surfers against sunsets, breaking waves etc.)
The commercialization of surf culture and its absorption into mainstream culture develops and encourages the desire for escape from the negatives of urban life. Surfers represent a diverse culture based on riding the naturally occurring process of ocean waves. Surfing has become so popular that it now represents a multi-billion dollar industry specially in clothing and fashion markets.
Some people make a career out of surfing by receiving corporate sponsorships, competing in contests, or marketing and selling surf-related products. Some surfers separate themselves from any and all commercialism associated with surfing.
These “soul surfers,” as they are often called, practice the sport purely for personal enjoyment and many even find a deeper meaning through involving themselves directly with naturally-occurring wave patterns and subscribe to ecological philosophies, or ecosophies. © 2010 Andy Hughes