Fred Mitchell

2017 - Ongoing

Lake Michigan Beach, Michigan, United States; United States; Michigan, United States

I grew up skating in the Southeastern United States where we quickly learned how to be resourceful with what we were given. Upon learning about the surfing community on the third coast, I immediately felt drawn to it for this reason. Although there are waves throughout the year, the best months typically are during the harshest winter months. It is during this period that I have focused my work. I believe that is partly what makes this so unique. I am fascinated by the individuals that brave some of the most extreme elements to find surf-worthy waves. That being said, I am not a surfer, so I went into this project blindly to document this community and in doing so, I realized I did not want to approach this as a surf photographer. I am far more interested in the practitioners of the sport and the personal relationship with the water. This is a project about those people. About this place. About their experience. Saltwater surfers, to a degree, are able to surf most every day at some point. In contrast, sweetwater surfers have to plan ahead, closely follow weather patterns and wind charts, travel great lengths to spots. And after all that work, they may arrive only to find placid waters. This project documents that operation, but it is equally about their successes as well. It is all part of the process.

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