Andrew Crockett is about to embark on the third edition of a surf photography book he released nearly 10 years ago, back in 2005. Switch-foot has become iconic in the surfing world, with beautiful images and great little surf stories but it’s nearly impossible to get volume one, with volume two quickly becoming more difficult to find as well. There is still more to say, so Crockett is publishing a third round. He’s got a Kickstarter up and took a moment to answer some questions about what we can expect from this next Switch-foot installment, about the good ‘ol days.
What will Switch-foot III be about? Is the third edition a continuation of the others?
It is mostly about the vintage photography of the “golden era” from 1960-1976, before surfing turned into a professional “sport.” The images are just so beautiful, the style so pure…mostly shot on black & white film. Yes, the 3rd edition is a continuation of the others, it is the same size/format and all three will fit into a box set together. The ethos is “the other side of surfing” and we started that in 2003…The “other side” basically tries to ignore competitive surfing and that style of surfing that the industry spends so much time promoting. Switch-Foot focuses on everything else that surfing is; the trim, art, the boards, the music – you know?
When you made the first Switch-Foot book, did you plan for it to be an ongoing project?
Not really…I had hoped that we could sell the vintage images online and that the book could bring together a community of like-minded people who loved old school surfing, jazz/blues/funk, art and old crap…the surfing lifestyle…it was a beatnik thing. Did I imagine that it would lead to films, soundtracks, artshows, travel and 3 books? Nope. But here we are ten years later, the world and the surfing world are entirely different places and switch-foot will live on – we are soon to launch an entirely new website, going back to our roots it is going to be called hodaddy.com.au and that is where I started in 2000, my first website was hodaddy.com.au (see attached a screenshot from 2000)
Does adding a Kickstarter make the process of publishing more difficult?
This is my first time looking at Kickstarter. I guess there is a bit of pressure on to deliver the goods on time, but having made four books already, the process is quite familiar to me.
How did you select photographers to be involved in the process?
That’s the fun bit. Generally I gravitate towards really nice people, or they gravitate towards me. The guys I am working on with this book they are the nicest people to deal with. They respect my work and want to be part of it. I try to find images that are a bit more fringe and not so mainstream…I am like that with everything I do. I also want to preserve the history, so if I can get a couple of photos from a deceased photographer like Ron Perrott or Peter Crawford, I am going to go the extra distance to find those photographs, because the road less travelled is far more appealing to me. I want to make a book that just blows people out, every page. Every double page spread is a piece of canvas – a unique opportunity to make something outstanding.
Do all the people involved get a say in the final product, or is one person/two people mostly “in charge”?
Everyone gets a say in how their contribution is presented. Ultimately my mission is to have every contributor be happy and want to share the book with their family. They all get to see their final pdf before it goes to print. They can change anything they don’t like – but the ship is steered through the night by one person, me.
What has changed over the years since you published your first book?
That is tough to answer because everything is changing…do you mean in relation to publishing, or surfing? In some ways, the internet has kinda stuffed them both up a bit. . . for now.
You continue to want to publish books so there must still be some demand for printed material?
There isn’t as much demand as there was 10 years ago, that is why I have to do a Kickstarter campaign. Everyone seems really keen to look at their iPhones and have their iLife, scrolling through cheap content and that is probably going to get worse before it gets better.
What is the hardest thing about the publishing process, with or without Kickstarter?
Making something that stokes people out so they want to tell their friends…same with music, or anything – you got to make something that is really good if you expect to have it published and for it to appeal to the listeners. I hope the surfing community gets behind the book, i truly think it will be unique and something to pass on to the kids.
Visit the Kickstarter page and consider donating here.