Between the Lines: A Beautiful Short Film

Once in awhile, a story teller is able to capture something of what it means to be a photographer. Between the Lines is a short film showcasing beautiful cinematography and scenery. It is artfully and masterfully crafted and is possibly the most inspirational 13 minutes you will watch this year.

I knew of Sasha Specker while growing up in South Africa. For years, he lead the South African charge in the international bodyboarding circuit. During that time, he started surf photography. In those days, the expense and limitation of equipment available meant that he created his own water housing. His results were so impressive that when I wanted to take my camera into the sea, he was the go to man to source the necessary equipment.

This short film touches on some of Specker's story, but it also captures some of what motivates all of us to take part in this incredible art form. Although this film uses surf photography as the narrative, the feeling is similar for all genres of photography.

This film introduced me to Jason Hearn. A quick browse through his website is enough to see that he is an incredible talent. In this particular film, I think Hearn gets the perfect balance between narrative and "eye candy". Too often as photographers, we get caught up in just the visuals, forgetting to weave a story through the scenes. I, for one, will be referring back to this film many times when working on my own stories.

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19 Comments

Steven Hille's picture

Stunning cinematography, and love the originality of the story and execution of tying it all together.

Leigh Miller's picture

Amazing work

user-206807's picture

Really very nice!

Duane Klipping's picture

Beautiful and well done video. Thanks for posting this.

For me, it took about 3 minutes to get going. After that I really enjoyed it. Maybe it's because I live along the lakeshore, or maybe because I love the water. I really enjoyed both the cinemaphotography and the story.

John Paul Barratt's picture

Another white South African dude using people of color in their artwork as an object/concept but not as a person. All the black and white scenes and the narrator remind me alot of Rodger Ballen...which is another example.....something doesn't feel right about this, gives me a weird feeling. Excellent cinematography though so I guess no one will care.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Mate, you’re reading way to much into this. Maybe the actor who plays the sea is just the best person for the job? I for one found him to be a phenomenal narrator/actor.

John Paul Barratt's picture

like I said..no one will care

There is a long history of white folk's exoticism of people of color. I'm just acknowledging that the video made me feel uncomfortable.

To me the narrator represents only a concept/overused character in a promotional advertisement for a successful white person. Casting a person of color (especially when you are a South African (apartheid much?) photographer) has weird feeling, right? I'm not saying this is the worst thing ever, its more like a micro aggression. It's putting a person in a box which has been played before and should not be done as much.

I agree with what I said early. They guy take amazing photos/video, interesting script, just weird casting.

John Paul Barratt's picture

Dude, if you're going to have dEeP mEtApHoRs then you should expect people to read into it a little more.

Jonathan Reid's picture

As a South African, I can assure you that the majority of the country are tired of any race based arguments for who to hire/cast. I honestly believe that this actor was the best person for the job as he did a brilliant job.

John Paul Barratt's picture

As an American, I can assure you that no one will care that you're tired of hearing it. No one said he didn't do a good job.

I am saying that choosing a black person to play a mythical characterization in a film that is meant to be a promotion for a successful white person is (maybe not wrong) very weird.

If you really are tired of hearing complaints about racism, maybe that means you're doing something wrong, like being racist. Just a thought.

Jonathan Reid's picture

I’m saying black South Africans are tired of “interventions”. As they make up 80% of the population, they’re mostly who I’m referring to when I refer to South Africans. Feel free to take up a cause wherever you wish, but your effort is far more suited to an area/culture that you have some understanding.

I never mentioned anything about being tired of hearing about racism. I said South Africans are tired race based interventions in the hiring process. For almost 30 years, a quota system has been in place. This means that whenever a black person is cast in a role, the perception is that it is due to the quota rather than talent. In this case, I believe the casting was based on talent alone.

John Paul Barratt's picture

First of all, affirmative action is not a bad thing.

Second, Most of what you said has nothing to do with what I'm upset about. Your argument is a red hearing and I am only left disappointed in the writers chosen for Fstoppers.com.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Firstly - how do you know? Have you lived in South Africa. Have you experienced the system personally? Do you have friends and family on both sides of the system? Affirmative action in the US is nothing like the system in South Africa. The system is necessary, yes, but it has not been implemented perfectly and while it does address issues from the past, it also creates new problems - one of them being that even when a person is the best person for the job, someone will find a way to imply that it’s due to affirmative action. In your argument, that it made you uncomfortable to see a black person play the role, what would you have done instead? Would you have made the role only available to a white person?

Secondly, during our exchange, you’ve made suggestions that I am racist, that I dislike the affirmative action system and that I’m a disappointing writer. If you read through my responses, in almost every one, I’ve stated that I believe the man cast as the narrator is a talented actor and the best person for the job. If you find a way to be offended by that, it’s only because you’re desperate to be offended.

John Paul Barratt's picture

Look, it's painfully obvious you will never see what I see. I have no clue why you brought affirmative action into this discussion because it not what I see as the issue and not what I was talking about. I only choose to respond because I don't think having a policy of favoring individuals belonging to groups known to have been discriminated against previously as a bad thing.

Either way, it is not what I am upset with and not what I see as the issue at hand.

What I have been saying this whole time is that casting people of color in theses roles is tiresome and perpetuating stereotypes. This is an advertisement for a successful white guy, of course it looks weird to choose a person of color as your mythical supporting character.

My disappointment is in the response of what I assumed were professional and responsible staff at Fstoppers. You choose to comment back to me, you could have (and probably should have) used your own sites private messaging feature to reach out to me. I think you saw a reader pointing out a flaw and assume I'm misguided. I think we all have different perspectives to learn and grow from. I am disappointed that the author of this article, friend of the filmmakers, is choosing to respond to me instead of dropping it or do it privately. You think you have the moral high ground, that the actions of the filmmakers should go unquestioned. You are unshakable and defiant....that is what I think is disappointing.

As a White American.... I think you (John Paul Barratt) are being fricken ridiculous. It's a creative video showcasing amazing cinematography of a creative photographer in different scenic ocean settings. What does the color of the narrator/actor have anything to do with this video? Why try (and fail) to make light of any sort of made up concept of racism in this situation? What if it were another white guy? Would lack of diversity be your idiotic opinion?

Go take pictures of smoke on black backgrounds and snowflakes (yourself). Fstoppers doesn't need your idiotic attitude here.