Could there be a better training ground for photographers than Charleston? Nearly everywhere the eye lands is a candidate for a memorable photograph, and it is hard to think of a part of Charleston that has not become subject to some talented person’s abilities with the camera.
Charleston photographer Harley Manney agrees with how ideal Charleston is for photography. “You really have any setting you could want. We have the beach, beautiful parks, historic landmarks and industrial spots. I love the variety and the ability to match the mood of my shoots to the locations.”
Manney’s photographs of young surfers on Folly Beach took our breath away. They allow us to gaze upon and ponder the agility and bravado of surfers, as if (by some impossibility) time could stop the waves.
Philosopher Vilém Flusser wrote that the purpose of a photograph is to signify something “out there,” that makes that thing “imaginable for us, by abstracting it, by reducing its four dimensions of space-plus-time to the two dimensions of a plane.”
Is there a better representation of four dimensions than surfing? What better way to think upon and reflect upon the rhythms of life itself than through gazing on these photos?
The overall effect of Manney’s photographs is that these surfers look right at home, as much a part of the ocean as any other. Or as Manney puts it, “Photographing surfers in action really conveys the grace and physical ability of the surfers themselves. The ocean can be so frightening and mysterious but surfers show no fear. They jump in and patiently wait for the perfect wave and the thrill of the ride. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and capture.”
When it comes to surfing photos, it takes “a lot of patience” and “knowledge of the water” to get a great surfing shot. “You have to be able to read the waves and anticipate when the surfer will go for it. Once he or she is up, you only have a few seconds to snap the perfect shot, so you have to be ready for it!”
Whether they are in the water or not, Manney always aims to bring out her subjects’ emotion. She wants to represent authentic moments so that her clients can relive them. Her work makes moments of our lives, ones that rush by, “imaginable” for us.