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Matinee: 'The Calm -- Surf Photographer Brian Bielmann' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

14 February 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the seventy-second in our series of Saturday matinees today: The Calm -- Surf Photographer Brian Bielmann.

At three minutes, this video by MP Cunningham is longer than any ride most surfers get. So it's long enough to cover what Brian Bielmann loves to shoot: surfers surfing.

It's a tough job.

According to Surfer Today, surfers only spend eight per cent of their time on a wave. And when they get up there, they're moving at 45 mph.

Ever tried to run away from a kid brother in a pool?

Bielmann, though, knows where to stand in the "controlled chaos." Just on the edge. In the safe zone that's so calm you feel like you belong there.

And Cunningham puts you right there with Bielmann in the water right at the start as a swell lifts Bielmann and his camera. You can see what he means when he talks about chaos and the calm zone.

Cunningham also follows him under the waves, as Bielmann continues his story. How he worked construction for his brother while he learned his craft. How he took the good days off to shoot surfers and finally scored a quarter-page photo for $25.

He thought he'd made it. "If I could get a $25 photo in this magazine every month," he dreamed.

The short film is sprinkled with Bielmann's stills, more of which you can see on his Facebook page, Instagram page and his Web page. There are also a few older videos featuring his work.

His work has been featured on 150 magazine covers and in 30 books over 35 years. And he isn't done yet. He's gone beyond the thrill of the chase to a "spiritual thing," being in the water and a part of nature.

"I'm stoked," he says. "I couldn't ask for anything more."

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