Photographer and filmmaker Patrick Trefz spent more than two years wandering country roads, always in search of the best way to the beach. Thread follows Trefz on his travels from the Basque Country to Steinbeck country, from New York City to West African island nations, scaling fences and hunkering down in the dirt to capture his vision of the visual language of surf culture.
The book is a study in juxtaposition, particularly between the man-made and the naturally occurring. Freighters in a harbor, arranged like pieces on a game board, are set against the light ruffle of wind on the water. Wheels and gears, line running through an installation like belts in a motor, the extremity of industrial production, are countered by a man and a wave, two products of natural energies. Seen one way, everything is natural, and the question becomes one of degrees of manipulation. Still, the settings in these pictures suggest duality, differing realms-the road and the beach, the train track and the lineup-each element evoking its own associations. Patterned yet non-linear, Thread takes seemingly disparate subjects and gently ties them into a unified whole, finding commonality in devotion and practice.
Christian Beamish, former Associate Editor at The Surfer’s Journal in the aughts, built an 18-foot Shetland Isle beach boat, the maiden voyage of which down the coast of Baja California resulted in his book Voyage of the Cormorant (Patagonia Books, 2012). Beamish currently lives in Carpinteria, California with his wife and two children, and shapes surfboards for his company Surfboards California.