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Paris gallery to host Bernard Testemale photography exhibit

Hawaii © Bernard Testemale




Surf Culture

Quiksilver photography exhibit based on big wave book project

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 September, 2015 - Quiksilver announces a one-of-a-kind art project coming up this fall. Dedicated to the intriguing parallels that connect the histories of surfing and photography, the exhibition “The Big Wave Riders of Hawaii” will take place from October 1st – 10th, 2015 at the Gallerie Joseph in the heart of Paris and showcase a handpicked selection of photographs by Bernard Testemale from the same-named book.

Taken through the lens of Bernard Testemale, this exceptional collection of portraits is entirely captured on collodion plates, using a complex technique developed over 150 years ago. The stunning silver-black results evoke a flash back to the past and are just as unique as unpredictable. Collodion plates being highly sensitive to UV light and changes of temperature, the difficult and time-consuming process requires a fair deal of patience and passion from both photographer and the person portrayed.

The success of laborious working hours can never be guaranteed, yet the slight imperfections and unforeseeable outcome make up the charm of these timeless pieces of art. “It is a kind of rewind”, says Bernard Testemale. “The collodion plate is going back to the roots of photography.” 

Picturing the Hawaiian surfing community in its most diverse facets and faces, this also applies for the body of his work. Secluded in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii became the birthplace of surfing more than thousand years ago. In its early days, the sport was accessible to everybody, no matter if male or female, old or young, king or commoner.

An extension to the ancient, democratic lifestyle of the Hawaiian people, it was demonized as impure and sacrilegious by Calvinist missionaries in the mid-1800s, almost leading to its extinction. Reintroduced in the early twentieth century, surfing represents much more than a sport today and fascinates people all over the globe whatever their origins and social backgrounds.

In this way, the personalities portrayed for Bernard Testemale’s collection reach from indigenous village chiefs to world-champion surfers and the most iconic big wave-tacklers on the globe, representing a unique cast of individuals that couldn’t be more diverse. All of them came together on the occasion of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau event on the North Shore of Oahu that celebrated its 30th anniversary this past winter.

As the world’s most prestigious big wave competition, the “Eddie” doesn’t only stand out for its extraordinary history and dramatic setup, but also for the unique gathering of surfers drawn to it. United by a deep respect for the Hawaiian heritage and the shared passion for riding gigantic waves, the participants origin from all professional backgrounds and ages.

World champions from past and present times such as Kelly Slater, Tom Curren and Tom Carroll meet surfing pioneers like Titus Kinimaka, Mickey Munoz and Clyde Aikau. Organic farmer Kohl Christensen and Hollywood stuntman Mark Healey mingle with the likes of Jeremy Flores and John John Florence, a new generation of surfers currently competing in the World Surfing League. Big wave legends like Shane Dorian and Ross Clarke-Jones challenge their Hawaiian peers including the renowned Downing and Rothman families.

A logistical challenge, Bernard Testemale’s work is the most diverse tribute to surfing that has been realized to date. As unique as the group portrayed, the applied technique emphasizes the intangible bond between the “Eddie” community and the ephemerality of the moment. “The Big Wave Riders Of Hawaii” is one of the most extensive collodion photography projects accomplished in recent years.

The collection can be viewed from October 1 – 10, 2015 at the Galerie Joseph, 236 rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris. Its inauguration will take place on October 1st, in the presence of Bernard Testemale and surfing’s international elite who contributed to the project. Thanks to our partner Sony for the support. The book "The Big Wave Riders Of Hawaii” will be available from November 1st, 2015 at a selection of Quiksilver outlets worldwide and on and retail at a value of 50 €.

Founded in 1969 in Torquay, Australia, Quiksilver, Inc. is one of the world’s leading outdoor sports lifestyle companies, designs, produces and distributes branded apparel, footwear and accessories. The company’s apparel and footwear brands, inspired by a passion for outdoor action sports, represent a casual lifestyle for young-minded people who connect with its boardriding culture and heritage. 

The company’s Quiksilver, Roxy, and DC brands have authentic roots and heritage in surf, snow and skate. The company’s products are sold in more than 100 countries in a wide range of distribution, including surf shops, skate shops, snow shops, its proprietary Boardriders Club shops and other company owned retail stores, other specialty stores, select department stores and through various ecommerce channels. Quiksilver’s corporate headquarters are in Huntington Beach, California.

Bernard Testemale was born in 1958 in the small town of Soustons on the Southwestern coastline of France. A keen surfer from a young age, Bernard Testemale has been fascinated by photography after receiving his first camera in his early teens. Never intending to make a career out his two big passions, he dove into the world of professional photography rather accidentally in the early 1990s. 

A regular contributor to various surf and travel magazines, Bernard Testemale has become a worldwide renowned reference in surf photography in the past decades. Bernard Testemale is represented by: Galerie HEGOA / Nathalie Atlan Landaburu 16, rue de Beaune, 75007 PARIS - 06 80 15 33 12 -

The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau is the world’s most prestigious big wave surfing contest. Established in 1984, the event was initiated to honor Eddie Aikau, the first official lifeguard at Waimea Bay (Oahu) and a pioneering big wave surfer. Sacrificing his own life in an attempt to rescue the crew of a stranded ship, Eddie went down in history as one of Hawaii’s biggest heroes and surfing icons. 

Following the motto “Eddie would Go”, The Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau invites the best international big wave surfers to compete in the gigantic waves of Waimea Bay every year. Requiring a minimum wave size of 20 feet, the event has the world’s largest waiting period of almost 3 months and was held only eight times since its inception. In 2014, the competition celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Olivia Payerne

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