Community News

Surf photography legend at the gallery

A newly-curated collection of John Witzig’s photography in ‘John Witzig: The Photographer’ officially opens on Friday at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

This exhibition combines photographs from the gallery’s collection and works from John Witzig’s private collection.

John Witzig is a photographer and co-founder of ‘Tracks’ magazine. He is an iconic name in the Clarence Valley and the international surfing fraternity. The works on display in this exhibition span from his classic surf photography, across portraiture and more intimate portrayals of life.

John Witzig contributed his first piece to Surfing World in 1963 and later worked full-time for the magazine. In 1966 he produced the pivotal ‘New Era’ issue that, for the first time, documented the rapid changes in performance and equipment taking place in surfing and being led by the Australians.

After Nat Young’s win at the 1966 World Championships in San Diego he wrote: ‘We’re Tops Now’ for the American publication Surfer, an article later described as “splendidly inflammatory”. John Witzig went on to edit Surf International for Gareth Powell, co-founded Tracks in 1970 with Albe Falzon and David Elfick, Sea Notes in 1977, and contributed occasionally to American magazines.

Gallery director, Jude McBean, said she was excited to present a solo exhibition of John Witzig’s photography at the gallery, and looks forward to seeing people from across the Clarence Valley appreciate and enjoy John’s photographic practice.

“John Witzig’s place in world surfing culture, as well as his strong photographic practice, is hugely significant,” she said.

“The gallery is privileged to hold such a notable collection of John’s photography and to present an exhibition like this that really shows the strength and breadth of his work in the field.”

John Witzig: The Photographer will officially open at the Grafton Regional Gallery on Friday, with John delivering an artist talk in the gallery from 5pm. All are welcome.

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