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Windisch Exhibit of 1960s Surf Photography Tweet This   Forward This

24 August 2013

Canonflex, Janis Joplin, long foam boards, Plexiglass, another era. The 1960s in San Francisco. A kid from Washington High hanging out at Kelly's Cove in the Richmond District, the Cliff House blocking the view to the north but not the waves. He surfed. With a 35mm camera bolted to his board. Shooting the action in black and white. Before autofocus. Before wet suits.

1960s Surf. Photo by Fred Windisch.

Rarely seen, the negatives lost, those images by Fred Windisch were recovered years later by his widow Helen and daughter Laura, who had 200 prints scanned. A Blurb title Fred Windisch Surf Photography of the 1960s: San Francisco, Pacifica, Santa Cruz & Oregon with 189 of the images was published in 2012 and remains available at $95 a copy.

But through Nov. 15, you can see some of the images at the Madrone Art Bar on 500 Divisadero St. in San Francisco after 4 p.m. And you don't even have to buy a drink.

Widisch, who took up tree trimming to support his family and died at 48 in 1994 after a gall bladder infection, had exhibited a few of the prints at the Wise surf shop on Vicente in San Franciso. The Wise Web site currently hosts a selection of the images. No other public showing was held.

We were just across the street from Kelly Cove at about the same time, preoccupied with slot cars. If only we had known. But we think we'll drop by the Madrone next week for a peek.

And to raise a glass to a kindred spirit.

Fred Windisch: Surf Photography from the 1960s

August 15 through November 15, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Madrone Art Bar in San Francisco is pleased to announce a rare showing of surf photography by the late Fred Windisch. The images, taken in the mid-1960s, offer a rare and personal glimpse into what life was like as the sport was just beginning to take off in the Bay Area.

A remarkable artist and filmmaker, Fred Windisch celebrated the Natural Art of Surfing with his creativity and inventive spirit. His images capture more than a sport -- they capture a way of life. In a location known for it's cool temperature and chilly water, the photographs showcase a time before wet suits were the norm. Passion and dedication created strong camaraderie within the small surfing community.

Fifty years after the images were taken, Helen and Laura Windisch (Fred's wife and daughter) gathered over 200 of his images to be retouched and organized into a photography book. Twenty of the photos are featured in the current exhibit at Madrone Art Bar. The locations highlighted include Ocean Beach, Pedro Point and Santa Cruz, with some spots depicted in a way that no longer exists, like the pier at Kelly's Cove.

This show represents a unique era of San Francisco surfing history that is worthy of exploration.

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