During the quarantine, we had the pleasure to discuss a few things with, Montauk based filmmaker and photographer, Terence Connors. You can check some of his work at terenceconnors.com
Terence and his VeeBottom, photo courtesy of Mikey DeTemple
Could you introduce yourself ?
Hey my name is Terence Connors and I'm from New York.
You grew up between France and the USA, what do you like in these two different cultures ?
I like how different they are. It's as though I have two totally opposing people battling it out inside my head. What I find funny is that the French and the Americans have a deeply rooted love hate relationship towards each other. So I just try and navigate along the love connection, stay out of trouble.
How did you get into photography and film-making ?Thanks to my step-father and his father who both introduced me to photography and filmmaking when I was just a kid. I dove further into it when I started skateboarding and began filming and taking photos of my friends.
You work a lot with analog, what so special about it ?
When I was about 13, it was with my step father's Nikon fe that I started taking photos.... I used to go to a summer camp in Vermont at that time to learn how to develop and process the film. In retrospect maybe my attachment stems from there.
I've got nothing against digital I've tried it over and over again sometimes getting good results but analog was always somewhat more satisfying ... So the easy route has just to been shoot on film.
It reminds me of the work of my favorite photographers and filmmakers, they all shot on film because that's all that was available, but my mind is now somehow warped to think that that's the best look...
Your photography has a nostalgic/classic feeling, where does that romanticism for the past come from?
Probably the French side of my upbringing, the movies I was shown, the music I was introduced to and then the friends I made when I was young. Those elements most likely shaped my taste. I'm a romantic at heart, I live through old movies and songs.
Now that you make it for a leaving, do you still see photography as an art ?
I feel like this could be a long winded answer but the short is just yes I still see in as an art.
I know you used to skateboard a lot back in the days, how skateboard influenced the person you are today ?
I'd say it has very much shaped who I am today.
It introduced me to creative people and my best friends to date, those connections essentially opened all the doors to getting me to where I am now.
Someone funny once said: "One of the great activities is skateboarding. To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times you got to get something wrong until you get it right.... And you hurt yourself over and over again to learn that trick , now you got a life lesson right here. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think, "those skateboard kids will be all right""...
You have a deep relationship with music, especially blues if I'm wright (you dog's name is Muddy), could you tell us more about it ?
My dogs name is Muddy you are right, a girl named after Muddy Waters...she's got a strong personality .
My relationship with blues music started when I was a little skateboard rat and my best friend at the time who was a couple years older than me taught me everything he knew about playing it and living our best Parisian interpretation of these blues songs. They were very formative years you know, when you're 15-16 and you live and breathe whatever you believe in.
You are travelling a lot because of your job, which country/culture inspired you the most and why ?
Tough question as every culture is fascinating. The one place I love the most is New Zealand, the first time I set foot in the country I knew it was a place I could fall in love with, I immediately felt at ease, it felt like a new home.
How did you get into surfing and what do you like about it ?
I got into surfing through my wife, when we started dating we would go down to Australia for 3 months per year because she worked a lot there during the winter. She had been going there since she was 15 and had some of her best friends living in Sydney's northern beaches. She had never surfed but all her guy friends had basically been surfing since as far back as they could remember.
We moved into a spare room in her friend Shayne's house in Palm Beach.
Let me set the scene, It was a big and dilapidated rock house sitting high up in a hill overlooking the point. He was "house sitting" this large mansion and looking after the owners Great Dane "Shumba". It was actually around this time that I first met Sam who you mentioned you'd be interviewing as well, I digress.
There must have been 6 or 7 lucky people living in there at the time, filmmakers, surfers, musicians, and now us. Everyday, everyone would sit around this big table on the covered porch overlooking the ocean and occasionally they would rush down to surf every time the wind would go "offshore"...
Having grown up in cities, this was something totally unusual for me. I would just follow and go for a swim with Zippy while they would surf.
Then one day I don't remember exactly how but there was talk of a big swell coming into Newport Beach. They had decided to all go surf it early one morning and I naively asked our friend Shayne if I could come surfing with them. He kind of excitedly said "yeah mate! Have you surfed before?" I said I hadn't and he just responded "oh boy"...
He proceeded to give me a huge heavy old long board must've been 10ft, glassed in single fin. They all took out short boards, it was raining and the waves looked huge, the water was brown and not the aqua blue it had been before. I asked if I needed a "rope" to tie to my foot like they had but he assured me that "nah those are just dangerous, just follow us and paddle as hard as you can until you get out the back"
Anyways that was the first time, the rest of the story didn't go so well, I got very scared but the adrenaline level was something I hadn't experienced before. I got hooked then and there. It took me a while to try it again but I knew that I had just experienced something very surreal... I felt vulnerable but extremely happy, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face and all my worries just seemed to leave my body as soon as I got in the water...
Not to make it too spiritual and this would sound funny to anyone who doesn't surf, but it's a very strange almost surreal activity, it feels very beautiful from a cinematic standpoint. I feel fortunate to have surfing as a part of my life now.
A couple years later after having lived in a city for my entire life, my wife and I decided to move out to the beach.... Go figure
Could you tell us your thought about what the world is currently leaving ?
It would be hard to summarize it in a single thought. Let's just say I hope we as the world and not a single nation can learn from this.
If you could travel back in time (past or future), where would you go and why ?
New York in the 60's for the energy, the art, the music and to make sure I secured some real estate hahaha
If you had to listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be ?
Probably a Best of?
What is always in your bag ?
Passport you never know when you have to go!
What is your favorite meal ?
What is your favorite place to surf ?
Anywhere with friends
What is your favorite surfboard length ?
Single, twin fin, 2+1 or thruster ?
Any project coming out soon ?