It’s not often a photographer can pull off absolutely incredible black and white surfing images, but Skander Khlif has surely done that. His series, The Surfers of Munich, centers on documenting surfers as they tackle a massive river wave. More importantly, they’re a big slap in the face to every photographer who believes that images need to be tack sharp 100% of the time. Instead, Skander uses the motion of the ocean (or river) to create a sense of urgency and drama throughout the scenes.
“The Eisbach Wave is probably the world’s most famous river wave. The Eisbach – literally “ice brook” – sits in the middle of Munich at the English Garden, the largest urban park in the world.”
Besides what we’ve already talked about with the slower shutter speed use and black and white, let’s further discuss what makes this series all the more interesting. Skander has surely done this type of work before because his sense of composition and framing of the surfers is absolutely impeccable. His carefully selected moments showing the surfers in a bit of a struggle and tension as they try to make the most of what they have in what could easily be a life or death situation. Skander’s sense of being able to anticipate the motions as they’re happening are a testament to his ability to being in tune with his environment.
Skander’s use of black and white makes sense. The river would have otherwise been very white (to the point of a near stagnant and plain background), but by working with the tones, he creates final images that are visually and artistically compelling.