Eyeball HQ

SLIDE YOUR BRAINS OUT

June 4, 2014

Growing up in southern California, artist, photographer and filmmaker Thomas Campbell was raised on the DIY aesthetic of the early 1980s skateboarding culture. Photography tips came from likeminded fellow photographers employed in the surfing press rather than from school, and art history was a matter of osmosis, not academia. In the mid-1990s, Campbell moved to New York and immersed himself in the scene around Alleged Gallery, where he quickly befriended and exhibited among the generation of artists who would star in the landmark 2004 exhibition Beautiful Losers. Campbell began documenting surfing culture in the late 1990s through both photography and film. His first feature-length film, The Seedling, came out in 1999, followed by Sprout in 2004 and The Present in 2009. Campbell’s surfing photography has long been admired among by fellow surfers for its lack of gloss finish; unlike most, he eschews the familiar fish-eye shots or tightly cropped land angles. The first of possibly 10 projected volumes in Um Yeah Press’ surf photo- book series, Slide Your Brains Out compiles work from the past 15 years. Often lo-fi and gritty, other times lush and saturated, Campbell’s compositions—which include portraits and action shots of some of the best surfers in the world—are always surprising and full of emotion, from melancholy to exultation.

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