Lo-Fi Surf Photography with Expired and Cross-Processed Film

San Francisco resident Ryan Tatar is passionate about two things when he’s not sitting at his desk at a Silicon Valley tech company: surfing and photography… and usually a combination of the two. He has attracted a good deal of attention in both worlds with his lo-fi photographs of surfers, captured with old analog cameras and expired and/or cross-processed films.

In the short video above, Tatar talks about his love for analog photography and introduces us to what he does.

It was created for the web show D-I-WHY NOT?, and is an episode titled, “How to Shoot Film“. Here’s the description:

Ryan Tatar has made a name for himself with his lo fi photographs using expired or cross-processed film that depict simpler times. Originally from Michigan, he now resides in San Francisco and is busy with international photo exhibitions and editorial and advertising clients when not working at one of the most well known computer companies in the world. In this episode of D-I-Why Not?, Ryan breaks down the basics of analogue photography while on a road trip with Cyrus Sutton and Foster Huntington last summer.

Here’s a selection of Tatar’s surf photographs:

You can find more of his work on his website, on his blog, and through his Flickr account.

Image credits: Photographs by Ryan Tatar and used with permission

  • Mansgame

    That’s pretty horrible.

  • Andy Austin

    Why? Because it’s not some crystal clear shot digital shot? It’s nice to see this still being done the old fashioned way, and not just done by some hipster with an iPhone. I think these shots look great. Maybe he looks at your shots and thinks they’re horrible.

  • DudeRocks

    What does an iPhone have to do with this?!! I have an iPhone and I take a lot of pictures… but I loved this collection and am feeling inspired by the pennies on the dollar comment in the video and thinking about buying some old gear and see if I can do some experiments with film. That said, digital cameras are different and geared towards different audience and cross-processed/analog photography has a different audience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who appreciate both.

  • Paul Bruins

    I partly agree with you Andy… I feel that to be a successful photographer… it’s more important to have a unique and recognizable style… than it is to capture well composed and exposed images… sadly… because I also think that all the above images are horrible!

  • Andy Austin

    Paul, I’m not saying you have to enjoy them. Everyone has their own personal taste when it comes to images. But to call someone’s work horrible as the original commenter did, that’s absurd to think you have the say in what’s good and what’s not.

    And duderocks, not trying to slam the iPhone…just the hipsters who use instagram filters and think that slapping a filter over a picture of their Starbucks cup turns them into the greatest photographers ever.

  • Duke Shin

    I would usually say cross processing and using expired film defeats the purpose of using film in the first place, these are pretty good.

  • Adrian Soriano

    Not horrible, but faddish.

    Similar images could be made with DSLR and manipulated in Photoshop. They would look identical, but not be so trendy as outdated crossed processed film. Outdated, cross processed film is just another kind of filter.
    Big deal!

  • Adrian Soriano

    The article is also dripping with dreary chic art-talk. Guaranteed a turn-off!

  • Ale

    I used to work in a photo lab when I was young(er) and that’s exactly the stuff that was totally unacceptable. Now, because we want “go back” we seem to accept it and worse still, like it.
    It’s actually rubbish!

  • eraserhead12

    I think in and of themselves a lot of these photos are pretty nice, especially that landscape shot. not a fan of the intense color washing as it kinda hurts my eyes, but some are aesthetically pleasing.

    just a pity, though, that the only news concerning film nowadays is all lo-fi lomo fun.

  • Peter Wilbourne

    Cross processing slide film is often faster and cheaper than getting it done with the proper e-6 chemicals. And if you have expired film? Why not just use it for fun?

  • Samcornwell

    Ah, more and more photographers are now starting to consider themselves Post-Modern.

  • CX717

    I like 2,4,5,9 and 10!!

  • Mansgame

    It’s terrible because anybody can create pictures with random colors, random focus pictures that were taken without much thought, but to consistently create pictures that have the correct exposure, white balance, and focus (whether the DOF is limited or not) takes a true photographer and artist. THIS is just garbage.

  • tyrohne

    Ryan has some much better shots (IMO) than this selection here on his blog. He seems to be big in Japan. :)

  • Vin Weathermon

    I am a photographer with 30 years of experience, starting in film. The funny thing is that today we are trying to make digital look as bad as film did back then. Digital is so much better than film. But today ANYBODY getting recognition for photography is good, in a world of 20 million per day facebook phone photographers pretty much making photography a devalued art form. So Ryan, good for you!

  • Frank Pavone

    funny how in the beginning of the video when he’s talking about sending the film of to the lab, he is holding a Polaroid and later on in the video he is talking about professional equipment being inexpensive now he is loading a Lomo.

  • Ralph Hightower

    I am not interested in making great photos look crappy. I am not into the lomography movement. I use unexpired films.

    The year 2012 was a year of growth for me, of learning to visualize in B&W. Last year, I decided to exclusively use B&W film for 2012. I would use different B&W films from Kodak, Ilford, and Fuji. I would also use different B&W contrast filters.
    Next year, I will resume using color film. Kodak Ektar 100 will probably be used quite a bit. I used it in 2011 and it has a Kodachrome look about it. I hope that it can be used at ISO 400. I will continue to use B&W film in 2013

  • DamianMonsivais

    I don’t like the work and I saw all of his website. Its all eye candy really.
    But hes getting shows which means he can talk the talk.

    Film /= Low-Fi

    Sad how making mistakes with a film camera = pseudo-art now a days.

  • DamianMonsivais

    Why? is it a good excuse?

  • lidocaineus

    No, actually that’s the easiest part – the technical side of photography is the simplest. The hard part is having a coherent creative vision and the ability to execute it.

  • Opie

    Agreed. Unfortunately these pictures have none of the above.

  • Opie

    A downvote? Really? Are we so afraid of quality that we chastise those who seek to hone their skills? Come on people. As democratic as we all want to be, there’s nothing particularly admirable about taking a lowest-common-denominator approach.

    I’m sure this post and the one above it are positively dripping with pretention in the eyes of the lo-fi advocates, and that’s a bit sad. Anyone is welcome to eschew the “proper” approach if they desire, but the idea that it’s only traditionalists and conformists who adhere to good technique is rather embarrassing.

  • lidocaineus

    Yeah, I’m just refuting the ridiculous comment of technical expertise being the sign of a “true photographer and artist” when in fact a “true artist” eventually learns to bend the rules to get to their vision, and that often includes completely off exposures and out of focus elements.

    Whether these photos have a vision or not is something I’m sidestepping, as I’m not particularly interested enough in them to warrant a well thought out critique.

  • sarah_xoxo

    I didn’t bother reading the article, but what instagram filter is he using??

  • Namen

    Because he has absolutely no sense of composition.

  • Stephen

    I love these. Good for him….everyone’s so upight about how an image is “supposed to look” maybe the point is an abstraction from reality…a surrealist perspective that bends the mind in new and wonderful directions…