I own a haunted underwater camera. For years, I’ve smuggled it into resort mega-pools around the world, secretly photographing people suspended between one world and the other.
On a Tuesday morning like any other, my friend Kevin Jon Boyle, an artist, curator, and surfer, felt a lump under his left arm. He was diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma. There is no stage five. Kevin lived eight years against long odds. When things got really rough, he’d come and stay with my wife and I.
I gave Kevin an underwater camera as a gift. The waves could be double overhead, but he would paddle out anyway. They didn’t scare him anymore. Kevin took the underwater camera I gave him into the big waves at classic California surf breaks—San Onofre, Trestles, Four Doors. Mostly he photographed surfers sitting outside the break—drifting, talking, waiting.
When Kevin left the camera to me in his will, it seemed changed. Sixty surfers paddled out and scattered his ashes outside the break at San Onofre. In the years since, I’ve taken the camera into dozens of resort mega-pools—Hawaii, the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Fiji, San Diego, Florida, Las Vegas. I’ve photographed people floating, drifting, suspended between one world and the other.