"One Good Eye"
Suzanne Gagnier has the “eye.” Learning how the camera operates is one thing, having the eye is quite another. It is just not something one can easily learn. This portion of Suzanne’s portfolio illustrates both the power and grace of surfers gliding their boards over powerful waves, as seen through Suzanne’s gifted eye.
Surfing is one of the oldest practiced sports on the planet. The art of wave riding is a blend of total athleticism and the comprehension of the beauty and strength of nature. Surfing is one of the few sports that creates its own culture and lifestyle.
There is no exact record of when stand-up surfing became a sport. Early historical records of surfing appear in the late 1700’s, when Europeans and Polynesians made first contact in Tahiti. The first Polynesian settlers to land in Hawaii were most likely skilled in simple surfing. In the late l700’s Captain James Cook described how a Tahitian caught waves with his canoe just for fun.
The first surfers were fishermen who discovered riding waves as an efficient method of getting to shore with their catch. Eventually catching waves developed from being part of everyday work to being a pastime. This change revolutionized surfing. After a few hundred years of riding the waves of Hawaii,the well-known Hawaiian form of the sport emerged.
There was a spiritual component to surfing. The surfboards underwent a sacred ritual before construction. The board maker would dig up the tree and place fish in the hole around the roots as an offering to the gods for the tree. The process of shaping then began. From Suzanne’s work one can sense this sacredness. She shows a quality of dance and she embraces the surfer’s control and vulnerability at the same time.
The dangers of the sport as these super athletes rely on mother nature is where she focuses, following their movement to give a visual story of their physical power. These are feelings arriving from a very deep level and I do believe from her images, she is both seeing and feeling at the same time to produce her unique work.
(Excerpt from Neworld Review)
Written by; Kara Fox
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Photography is the living memory that is etched forever