“My wife and I have a wedding invitation business,” accomplished lensman Scott Aichner told me the other day.
Of all the directions you’d figure Aichner would’ve headed after walking away from surf photography some years ago, the matrimonial business probably wasn’t one of them. But aside from the occasional post on social media, the world of surfing has seen or heard little from the brick-shaped lensman who ushered in the POV shot and offered readers, and quite often his subject, a view simply not seen before.
“Walking away from it the way he did, totally on top of his game, made Aichner the coolest man in surfing,” says the Encyclopedia of Surfing’s Matt Warshaw. “The thought of Scott Aichner having to compete with a million GoPro Hero 4’s brings to mind King Kong on top of the Empire State swatting down bi-planes. It’s depressing.”
But a recent move back home to Ventura has stirred a little something in Aichner, and the man wants back in. And boy, does he have a deal for you. Before we get to that though, what made him walk away in the first place?
“Shrinkage of print globally in ’09 was one reason,” Aichner says. “I really enjoyed working with editors from Australia, Japan, Brazil and Europe, but as the mags’ page count got smaller, so too did the call for editorial images. Then selling ads became fewer and fewer. Today there’s even less.”
And rather than turning into a grizzled old vet, Aichner says he was accepting of how the landscape has changed in his absence. “It’s crazy to think in the time I’ve been away,” Aichner says, “GoPro is a billon dollar company, Andy is dead, Kelly has left Quiksilver and there is a Brazilian world champ, which I really like.”
“But in regards to technology, it’s made water photography really easy, especially POV shots. I mean, I remember when a HD 1080p camera was $250k and it was big and bulky and came with a tethered backpack. Now $500 and you’re in. But I always felt it wasn’t the technology people were buying; it was your vision and no matter who came along and tried to reproduce it, it had your own stamp on it.”
So, back to the deal. Aichner is selling 30 of his most iconic shots (framed beautifully with the original slide) to help him fund his return to water photography. He’s keeping to himself what that return entails, other than to say, “I don’t want to spill the beans just yet, but let’s just say it’s motion based.”
And his decision to part with the images?
“These shots are like a little piece of your soul, so yeah, it stings a little, but the goal is worth it,” he says. “I’ll be posting one a day. There’s shots of Andy, Kelly, Sion, Wassel, Pancho, Curren and John John, so there is some gold in there.”
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