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Under the Sun: Behind the Lens with Ryan Callinan

A down to earth, always smiling, incredibly genuine human (who also happens to be one of the best surfers on the planet) - it's not a stretch to say Ryan Callinan would be at the top of anyone's list of people to go on a surf trip with. While many of you are used to seeing his talent in front of the lens on his JS weapons of choice, what you may not be familiar with is immense talent behind the lens. 

After our recent 'Life's Better in Boardshorts, Chapter 8: Under the Sun' trip to the reeling right hand point breaks of South Africa, we asked Ryan to curate a few of his favorite film photographs from the expedition. We also asked him to give a bit insight into the story of each capture - shining a light on what was happening outside the frame to help add meaning to what was captured within.

All photos shot on Ryan's Yashica 35-ME, with a mix of Kodak Colorplus 200 & Kodak Portra 400 film.

Below are 14 of Ryan's favorite clicks of the shutter, and click here to shop the Under the Sun collection.

1 » We were up early driving through the darkness, and when the sun finally started to get anywhere close to below the horizon these were the colors that presented themselves. It was an incredible start to the trip.

2 » There were cattle and bulls everywhere, on the dirt roads, on the grassy hill, even on some of the beaches. You couldn’t miss them. They were quite tolerable to get close to as well. Must have had a lot of human interactions to be so comfortable.

3 » This was actually an accident. The film must have skipped a bit when winding but I don’t shoot many double exposures so it was a nice surprise. Ethan is standing in one of the only shops in that area, and there was next to nothing in there, not even bottles of water. Just shows how remote the area was...and this bull overlaid standing on a hill by himself, two very different pictures mixed into one.

4 » There was only one place to buy beer (not that we drank that much), and it was in this door of a little hut with an arrow leading the way. The door had a gate, and the man selling the beer was protected by a cage with a small window to exchange beer for cash. The guy in this photo was happy to show us where and how to make it all happen, as long as he could have one too. I like the way he stood here in the light and the whole process of heading out the the shop was quite an experience.

5 » This kind of gives you an idea on sleeping arrangements. Used on Sundays as a church, this large hall style building was turned into our shared room for the week. All the church seating was pushed together with mattresses on top. We were all very close to each other, but it was all part of the adventure.

6 » The point on one of the smaller days. It was super windy but we could see the potential. It was such a dreamy day and there was no one out!

7 » This beautifully lit afternoon really put into perspective how magical this area is. Gorgeous light over the hill and setup after setup if you look into the just seems to look like point after point. Even right in front of us - an incredible looking wave steaming along into the bay.

8 » Man I love shadows. Just these simple lines from the doors can turn a plain room into a little bit more if you keep your eyes peeled. The mornings were quite cold which normally makes the sun feel much brighter and stronger when it shines, leaving more definitive shadows, which makes for great pictures. This was the common room of where we were staying. We would sit in here with our coffees waiting for the day to heat up...trying to figure out how the waves were.

9 » Sitting on land watching these waves and the other boys flaring was just as entertaining as being out there. These kids hadn’t quite figured that out yet and were facing the way of our setup on the rocks almost oblivious to what was going on behind them. They were more fascinated by us and what we were doing than these waves that they probably see everyday...waves that most people dream of.

10 » We had a bunch of kids come down and hang out every day. They would follow us in the car, and then all the way down to the beach. They would just post up all day and hang on the beach until we left.

11 » Unbroken whitewater lines rolling all the way to the beach, slowly losing their power until they hit the dry sand and stop completely. Seems like it was a big period in the swell with the amount of distance between the lines. I really like the texture of the foam and the contrast of the green rolling hills.

12 » This boy had a sick coat. I love the way he is standing with the light blasting in from the side of the frame, makes it look hazy or something. But just the attitude and the steez makes it stand out to me. I think he was watching about 10 other kids and just standing back taking it all in.

13 » These were in the common room of the place we were staying and apparently they have been 3 years in the making, they burned every night and added to the effect every candle they went through. I loved them.