ELSEWHERE WITH GRANT MONAHAN

We are honored to exhibit the works of Montauk photographer and surfer, Grant Monahan (also known for his beloved local grub truck, the Ditch Witch). Grant’s photojournalistic approach shows a mature, yet masterfully raw take on his subjects – whether people, animals, or environments and his solo show ELSEWHERE shares a selection of works on film from his travels and surf expeditions. We chatted with his before the opening party this Friday…

As a Montauk native do you think you view it differently? What makes Montauk special to you and how do you feel about all that’s changed about it in recent years?

To me Montauk is my home, where I was raised, and the place I will forever feel I belong. What makes Montauk so special to me is the sense of community. I am so fortunate to have grown up in a place where we all know and look after one another. The word “dynamic” is used when defining culture, which means in any culture or location there will always be change – knowing that has always made me feel better about the changes in our community. Even though the cost of living is constantly going up, the summers are getting more and more crowded, and businesses change, if you look to the true core of Montauk and its local community you will find that very little has changed. The charm, love, and grittiness that is Montauk is still alive and well.

Tell us the story behind the selection of images that are being displayed at the MBH…

ELSEWHERE is a selection of images photographed during my travels over the last 4 years. I feel like the majority of the photography displayed in Montauk is images of Montauk, most of which are all of very similar subject matter. For this show I really wanted to show imagery from all over the world; the locations include Hawaii, Nicaragua, Mexico, Portugal, Morocco, and New Zealand

For me, traveling, especially alone, is such an incredible and humbling experience. While traveling I like to shoot predominately 35mm film. I feel that shooting film keeps you connected to the world around you and away from staring at the back of a camera. All the photographs in ELSEWHERE were shot simply out of enjoyment and had no end goal of being displayed. This selection of images is very personal and close to my heart.

Do you have a favorite piece either from this show or in general?

My favorite photograph in this series is the one of the little Hawaiian boy giving me the finger. I shot this image during my best friend Bryan’s wedding on Maui. Miken, Bryan’s wife, was born and raised in Maui where they still live. This image is of her cousin’s son. I wanted to shoot a portrait of him in front of this rainbow that had just popped up. I thought him in his Hawaiian shirt with the tribal tattooed cast was just too classic, but right as I pushed the shutter he gave me the finger. It was so funny, people were laughing, and he got scolded by his mother. I love portraits that just kind of happen like that. You can set up whatever you want but the unexpected always makes the photo that much better.

What’s your summer ’18 jam? Drink? 

Jam: Heartburn by Sean Price. Since the first day I heard it years ago I have not been able to stop listening. Drink: Vodka Lemonade or Bud Light.

You are involved in running the legendary Ditch Witch – which is SO much more than a food truck. What’s the coolest part of being involved in this Montauk staple?

I am 27 years old and I have been working at the Ditch Witch for 19 years (!) haha. My mom Lili started it in 1994 when I was 3 years old. I started stocking drink coolers when I was 8 and never looked back. My Mom did 20 years in there and my sister and I took over after she retired, this is our fourth year without her.

My favorite thing about the Ditch Witch is how ingrained it is to the community at Ditch Plains. It is the meeting place and epicenter for everything that goes on down there. You meet so many interesting and amazing people working there, and I owe so much of who I am as a person to that job. I’m also so fortunate to be able to work so closely to my family for my entire life. We are all so close.

Describe your dream shoot. Think location, lighting, subject etc…

I guess I have 2 dream shoots…The fantasy: An exotic beach with crystal clear blue water, golden light, a gorgeous model, and a case of beer. The reality: I really want to do a thorough portrait project of the Montauk commercial fishing community. I might need to put my head down and go for that one, but if
I keep traveling maybe the fantasy will come true. A true tug-o-war. Hahaha.

We’d love to see both! What’s your main source of inspiration?

I have always been really inspired by my parents. They both are super creative in their own unique ways and I have always admired that. They have constantly supported and pushed my creative side and I am forever thankful for that. I just want to make them proud and shoot photographs that will hopefully be remembered.

Are there any upcoming projects we can look forward to seeing from you in the coming months?

I have nothing ready to go yet, but the wheels are always turning. Time to put my head down and focus on the Ditch Witch for a few months! Summer here we come…


GRANT MONAHAN: ELSEWHERE | ON VIEW AT THE MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE THROUGH JUNE 13TH | OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY, MAY 25TH 6-9 PM

As always peep our events calendar for event details and to RSVP.

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