John Witzig exhibition at Bondi

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Some of John Witzig's pictures have become iconic, images that define a generation, while others hinge on bearing witness, being present at pivotal moments. Take, for instance, the photo below of Nat Young bottom turning at Honolua Bay on December 26th, 1967.

When, in later years, the argument about who started the Shortboard Revolution was raised, it would be these photos of Nat and Bob McTavish - what Jeff Divine called "the Zapruder pictures" - that would settle the debate once and for all.

In September, John is putting together an exhibition of his photos. It's the largest show he's ever put together, and it's happening at Bondi Pavillion from 11th - 23rd September. Called 'A Golden Age', the show "explores John's personal archive to reveal a significant shift in the story of Australian surf history."

“Viewed simply as a representation of an alternative culture of the 1970s, Witzig’s photographs were valid and intriguing even back then. But viewed with today’s eyes, they seem almost impossibly innocent and idealistic, like looking at a remote tribe of wildhaired boys just discovered by anthropologists for the National Geographic.” – Robert Drewe

Nat Young, Honolua Bay

Buzzy Kerbox, Haleiwa

Comments

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Friday, 17 Aug 2018 at 5:13pm

Stunet. Where did the Robert Drewe quote come from? The exhibition literature?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 17 Aug 2018 at 5:18pm

Yep.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Friday, 17 Aug 2018 at 5:51pm

Thanks. sounds like good exhibition. I love his photo of the "3 Dollar House" with the peak out the back.

spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack's picture
spuddyjack commented Friday, 17 Aug 2018 at 6:28pm

'A Golden Age', the eponymously titled book from Witzig is worth adding to any surf book collection too.

Stay salty

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Friday, 17 Aug 2018 at 6:49pm

So many good photos - heck, fantastic photos!
That Nat Young at Honolua shot launched a vee bottom obsession in me.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 7:27am

V-Bottoms are for Neanderthals and Poo-throwing Chimpanzees Island Bay. Flat bottoms are the way to go!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 9:41am

Get back to your sickbed, Spud!

That board down the line at Raglan was a revelation.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 9:54am

Yeah, I think this head cold is making me delirious. That and the fact I haven’t been surfing for a month now. I’ll have to come round and check out your board so I can get to the bottom of this V-bottom theory if yours. I’ll be making a new board in a week or two so maybe it’s time to try something new. BTW, A guy down at the working-man’s club called Bob reckons that channel bottom boards are for knuckle dragging gut sliders and crack whores. What’s your take on them?

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 11:48am

You need to surf, mate...

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 12:54am

Epic chance for Swellnetonians to solve a Mystery surrounding Nat Young at Bells 1969
Bizarre claim of later Airbrushing out a Paipo Rider from a John Witzig SURF Cover photo.
I'll throw to the Belly Board site...(Any Swellnet Super Slueths up to closing this x- file?)

home.brisnet.com.au/~bgreen/bgpage/Refs

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 9:37am

Whilst there's no doubt that JW is a pioneer photographer, his images captured the zeitgeist in a very special way that I personally love - as a counterpoint, I've read some controversial comments about his printing techniques in The Guardian global arts section, as in "were combi's around in the Victorian era?". which is not to cast dispersions in any way. JW answered that criticism, responding with something like - using the printing techniques I use, creating nostalgia the way I do, is my choice.

bigbooby's picture
bigbooby's picture
bigbooby commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 10:17pm

Any chance of the exhibition going on the road down south to Vicco.
I'd love to see it but cash strapped at the moment. A paipo rider at Bells in 69? I forget what we called them back then but we hired one on a trip to Sydney in early 70's. Shaped sort of like this _____/ , (but bend instead of the forward slash). Only one who I know who is still alive is Toni Johannessen . Could easily have been her Dad, Hector (funnily enough nicknamed Tony) . He was ripping Bells and Winki bodysurfing with a hand plane in that era.

bigbooby's picture
bigbooby's picture
bigbooby commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 10:22pm

I mean "The only one i know who might know". She still might know.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 10:49pm

I always liked that shot of a young, scruffy Nat Young staring off into space.

Not that I'm particularly nostalgic but that would be one exhibition I'd love to catch.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 15 Sep 2018 at 6:40pm

TV reporter to John Witzig...S.U.P. s John what do you think
Witzig ...Well i was never an idiot in the Water...and im not about to start being one now ..

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