I guess you can call photographer/author Andreea Waters‘ new book Surf NYC ($34.99, Schiffer Publishing) a perfect summer beach read of sorts. Granted, if you’re strolling around certain wet and sandy spots with a copy in hand and your phone’s GPS chatting away looking for where some of the photos in the book were shot, you may luck out and get an autograph from one of the more outgoing daredevils committed to riding the weird, wild waves in and around the NY area.
On the other hand, you’ll probably want to respect both the privacy and utter daring of these urban daredevils out to conquer with their own respect the very waters doing what comes naturally and often under unnatural circumstances. The book is a 136-page hardcover with 64 outstanding images of the guys and gals who dare along with the places they do that daring in. You’ll come for the images, but stay for the stories told in quick bits by the surfers interviewed.
As this is a slice of life book, you won’t see or read much about days when the surf isn’t worth surfing. While a fact of surfing life, it would slow the book’s roll a wee bit much. Anyone can go to the beach and see dead water staring back at them. Photographers like Walters are there to get the good shots and those who brave the elements to get their ride on. On that note, she’s definitely succeeded.
Some of the stunning images are classic Surf 101 stuff with a more gritty look to them, almost as if Waters had a “1978” filter on her cameras. Other shots that feature backdrops of beachfront apartments or other cityscape elements add a sense of place and contrast that works incredibly well. Even if you’re not into the surfing scene, as a document of the people who do this and the places they go, Surf NYC is a pretty super mix of photos and words. It’s also a very pretty gritty book and hardcover aside, perhaps it’s best as a coffee table book that stays home rather than getting sand and salt spray all over it. Then again, that’s your call, right?