Portrait XVIII

Mikey DeTemple

New York

 

 

View Products: ART VIRGIN WOOL ROLLNECK SWEATER , IVAR SWIM SHORTS | MEDIUM LENGTH

 

Mikey DeTemple is reluctant to describe himself as a city guy. His parents met while surfing in the ’70s and his father was a commercial clam digger, so he all but grew up on the beaches of Long Island, New York. After more than a decade competing in international surf contests, his camera never far from his side, the 34-year-old made the move into filmmaking and photography and embraced city life. Now, he explains, both worlds are integral to his daily life.

“I can’t have only one or the other. I couldn’t do New York without getting to the ocean and surfing, and I couldn’t just do surfing without New York. I need the balance, the crazy and the quiet. It’s kind of the way I operate.” So that’s exactly how the 34-year-old filmmaker, photographer and surfer lives: with one foot in the chaos and “gritty charm” of NYC and the other out in the calm and solitude of the ocean. His parents met while surfing in the ‘70s and his father was a commercial clam digger, so the beach has always been a huge part of his life. He spent more than a decade competing in international surf contests, his camera never far from his side, before making the full switch over to media.

 

 

 

“I can’t have only one or the other. I couldn’t do New York without getting to the ocean and surfing, and I couldn’t just do surfing without New York. I need the balance, the crazy and the quiet. It’s kind of the way I operate.”

These days, a typical day off sees him popping out for a coffee and breakfast a few blocks from his Brooklyn apartment, strolling around his neighbourhood to do some people watching, and then hopping on the subway into Manhattan to meet friends for lunch.

“I love how much there is going on in New York,” he says. “Any day you’re there you can pick anything you wanna do and do it. You can go out to some incredible restaurant or walk to a museum or walk over one of the bridges.”

“I like the Woolworths building in particular, it was one of the first skyscrapers and changed the skyline of the city. It’s really neat.”

 

 

 

“The majority of the time when you’re surfing you’re just sitting out in the ocean waiting for a wave and that gives you all the time to dissect those little things, you start to really pay attention to all the intricacies of it, like water texture and the way it looks and feels.”

Yet surf is constantly at the back of his mind and he nearly always carries a board around with him just in case there’s a last-minute chance to catch some waves. This double life has given him a unique approach when it comes to the films and photos he shoots for clients all over the world.

“The majority of the time when you’re surfing you’re just sitting out in the ocean waiting for a wave and that gives you all the time to dissect those little things,” he says. “You start to really pay attention to all the intricacies of it, like water texture and the way it looks and feels.”

 

 

 

“So you really start to pick things apart and I think that translates to everything. I’m a very detail-oriented person. I really dig into the small things and I like to pay attention to them whether it’s shooting a photo or surfing or even sailing.”

“So you really start to pick things apart and I think that translates to everything. I’m a very detail-oriented person. I really dig into the small things and I like to pay attention to them whether it’s shooting a photo or surfing or even sailing.”

“In the water I can sit and just wait and wait and catch one wave every half hour or something like that,” he explains. “And I can be the same way when I shoot photos. Maybe I’ll walk around and not really shoot a photo until I really see something that I like.”

At the bottom of everything DeTemple does is an unwavering commitment to a certain aesthetic. He says he has a sort of uniform that consists of several basic pieces all in blue, tan, khaki or cream. Even when he designs surf boards, he says, “it needs the right lines and shapes. Everything could be technically perfect but if it doesn’t have that style, in my mind it’s useless.”

 

 

 

 

He recalls his father - who mainly wore wearing canvas jackets, well fitted jeans and Converses - telling him that style was the best thing you could have.

“That really stuck with me,” he says. “No matter how good you are at surfing, you might not have style. If you look at it and it doesn’t look beautiful then what’s the point of it?”

“The best style to me is something that’s classic and timeless. It should be simple, clean, aesthetically pleasing and not flashy and I think that’s gone into everything I do, from dressing to photography to surfing - it all comes from those early words from my Dad.”

“If something looks right then it is right.”

“It needs the right lines and shapes. Everything could be technically perfect but if it doesn’t have that style, in my mind it’s useless. If something looks right then it is right.”

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHER MARC HOM • FILM OLIVER KNAUER • ART DIRECTION NR2154 • WORDS BY VENETIA RAINEY • AMBASSADOR MIKEY DETEMPLE

 

 


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