Some of the First Visual Framers of African Surf in Popular Culture
June 15, 2021 1:52 PM   Subscribe

 
I don't want to turn the first comment on this into a derail, but what does

a young David Attenborough, elsewhere on the African continent, simultaneously reframed how the world experienced wild animals—with no one’s permission, just an inappropriate curiosity.

mean?
posted by Dr. Twist at 2:06 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I'm reading the article now, and I'll try to take a stab at that one passage:

The core sentence is "In a world of cumbersome equipment, this was an A-bomb going off with no one’s permission, just an inappropriate curiosity."

The aside about Attenborough "—so much so that a young David Attenborough, elsewhere on the African continent, simultaneously reframed how the world experienced wild animals—" is mentioning how the same equipment, the particular camera mentioned earlier, the Bolex H16, how this camera was used in Africa to bring back images of things not easily filmed before. Specifically surfing and wildlife.

I don't know much about surfing or African surfing, and I haven't seen Endless Summer recently enough to remember anything like the scenes mentioned in this article. Maybe I'll watch the film again if I can find it, and use this article as a lens to view it with.

Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 6:05 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Is this the movie?
posted by clawsoon at 6:21 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


That does appear to be the movie!
posted by hippybear at 6:29 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


mentioning how the same equipment, the particular camera mentioned earlier, the Bolex H16, how this camera was used in Africa to bring back images of things not easily filmed before. Specifically surfing and wildlife.

I saw that it was framed around the equipment, but what was inappropriate about his curiosity? Or his lack of permission?
posted by Dr. Twist at 7:10 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


what was inappropriate about his curiosity? Or his lack of permission?

It's a statement about the colonialist nature of white men assuming the right to decide how the rest of the world sees Africa. Consider the words that follow it:
...Remarkably, the first stop of the film shows our expected white male voyagers Michael Hynson and Robert August arrive at bustling Labadi beach, in Ghana.

...Notice the two outsiders arriving with their logs and no wax—famously using hair wax, which melted off instantly in that blistering sun. Fully confident in the waves before them, they start a session in front of a number of young boys and men on the beach, who had apparently never experienced surfing before. But when one pauses the moment the two outsiders walk down toward the water, you can see in the background, in soft focus, little boys playing with what appear to be flat pieces of wood in the water. They were in fact surfing; they just didn’t have that name for it yet. But who gets to decide that, anyway?
posted by Lyme Drop at 7:52 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


But who gets to decide that, anyway?

Hawaiians?

posted by pwnguin at 10:51 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


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