One morning, on a drive to a Vancouver Island break, surfer and photographer Adam Boehm and fellow surfer and friend Mitch Proctor were talking about the shoe boxes full of film negatives they had accumulated over the years, and how nice it would be to have them all in one place to look back on one day.
“We began thinking of a way to document our experiences, and from that moment on we began working on The Saturday Project,” says Boehm.
He has primarily shot with film, embracing the roots of photography: “I’ve taken my camera – and surfboard – across the globe in search of empty waves and good times; and although it almost never goes to plan, I wouldn’t change a single thing.”
Together with Procter, a self taught graphic designer, Boehm has turned their surf blog into a lifestyle brand with products that tell a story.
“Whether the story was created in Australia, Morocco, El Salvador, Mexico, South Africa, or our backyard of Vancouver Island, we hope to share a taste of the adventures we’ve been fortunate enough to experience.”
The name The Saturday Project pays homage to early morning Saturday surf sessions.
“When deciding on the name, we wanted something that both encapsulated the feeling of our early morning Saturday surf missions, while also paying homage to the weekend and evening shifts we’d put in to make The Project a reality. A Saturday Project (to me) is a passion, a hobby, or something that you can get lost in and focus a great deal of time on without it feeling like work (hence why we choose to work on it on a Saturday). Sort of a passion project.”
Surfing has directed the course of Boehm and Procter’s ’s lives in ways they never could have imagined.
“We began booking flights to warmer waters and empty waves, and counting down the days until we could do it all over again. The sport has taken us to some of the most awe-inspiring corners of the earth, and for that we are truly grateful,” says Boehm.
Surfing is also a fundamental part of their creative process.
“We draw inspiration from every new adventure. Each experience teaches us something new about ourselves and the way we want to live our lives. The ocean continues to teach us so much.”
The duo have embraced the rugged, wild coastlines and waves on Vancouver Island during the pandemic.
“Without being able to travel this year, we’ve been able to enhance the connection with our backyard of Vancouver Island and the surf spots we’ve grown so fond of. The ruggedness of the conditions here make the experience unlike any other. There’s just something about unplugging from our routines and being completely immersed in nature. Although we can never feel our feet at the end of a good session, we always find ourselves recharged and inspired to get back to our creative projects.”
AN OLD-FASHIONED CHOICE
The pair are passionate about shooting with film and draw inspiration from 1960’s surf culture.
“Film forces you to be mindful about each photo. Since you have a very limited number of exposures, the focus and attention that goes into each shot is unparalleled. Film photography takes practice and patience. But once you’ve held onto a camera for a while, you develop an intimate connection with it and the images it produces. You learn what light that works best for each type of film, and how to produce the shot you had in mind. There are no shortcuts – it takes time, effort, and practice… but once you get it right, it is so worth it,” Boehm says.
“The inspiration from 1960’s surf culture is more apparent with our mindset,” he says“That mindset pays homage to those that paved the way for people like ourselves, who sought out new waves before the detailed swell forecasts, and who first experienced the intimate connection to the ocean that surfing provides. The book Barbarian Days by William Finnegan has been a huge inspiration to both Mitch and I – and inspired both of us to travel the world looking for empty waves.”
The decision to start making shirts was a bit of a happy accident.
“I always thought it would be neat to scan a film photo onto a piece of clothing, and once we found the right local printer, we were blown away with the result. From then, we developed several designs that drew inspiration from the surf culture of the ’60’s, as well as some of our favourite images,” says Boehm.
The typeface used on the shirts is 100% original, as are the designs. The pair had a blast putting the typeface together and going through countless iterations until we got it just right.
The first trip on the radar for Boehm and Proctor is a cold water surf trip to England’s south coast near the end of this year.
The pair are also hoping to have their shirts manufactured, produced and printed in Canada by the end of this year.
“We’ve been introduced to a few folks in the industry lately and cannot wait to share what we’re working on!,” says Boehm
To learn more more about the Saturday Project, head to their website: https://www.thesaturdayproject.co/