New Dominion Bookshop hosts author Christopher Bickford

New Dominion BookshopNew Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville will host a book talk and photography presentation on Friday, June 8th from 7:00-8:00 pm with Christopher Bickford, author of Legends of the Sandbar. This event will be free and open to the public.

Legends of the Sandbar is an homage to the surf culture of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, written and photographed by UVA alum and former downtown denizen Christopher Bickford, who has lived on the Outer Banks for nearly 18 years. Chris began his career as a photographer on the Outer Banks, exploring its wild and moody landscape and learning his craft by observing the unique qualities of light and movement that grace this string of barrier islands bounded by water on two sides.

Chris has gone on to work for clients such as National GeographicThe New York Times, Captain Morgan Rum, the Grand Ole Opry, NPR, and others, but he has continued to photograph his home, and nearly a decade ago he turned his lens on his friends in the local surfing community. The result was a photo-essay called “After the Storm,” which went viral on the internet and was subsequently featured at numerous exhibitions and photography festivals, including Charlottesville’s Look3 festival. Bickford continued to work on the project for the next 8 years, and in 2017 he released Legends of the Sandbar through Burn Books, a publishing imprint curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey.

Legends is not just a book about surfing; it is also a book about landscape, environment, history, and community. In addition to the moody black-and-white imagery that evokes the stormy spirit of the NC coastline, it also contains some 15 essays, divided into nine chapters, which encompass literary styles from journalism and memoir to oral histories and prose-poetry, all in the service of evoking the soul and texture of this ragged string of sand and the lives of the eclectic characters who have made it their home solely for the purpose of indulging in their passion for surfing.

As a document of southern culture, it has already enshrined a time and a place that is slowly passing into history; many of the structures photographed in the book have since been taken by storms, and a number of the older “legends” have passed on.

Surfline.com called Legends of the Sandbar “a visually mesmerizing poetic triumph”, and The Surfer’s Journal will be printing a 14-page excerpt of photos and writing from the book in its April/May issue. An earlier version of the book was hailed by Outside Magazine “one of the most striking surf projects we’ve seen.”


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