Driftwood Beach Shacks

By David Powdrell

The lure of photographing driftwood beach shacks is strong to me. Barefoot architects anonymously muscle up the structures while simultaneously swatting away buzzing beach flies and dealing with the stench of aging kelp.

No two driftwood beach shacks are identical. Therein lies some of the beauty. The engineering impresses me, brutally heavy logs laced with whimsically shaped branches, dilapidated pieces of boats, worn buoys, frayed nylon rope, an occasional lobster cage and sprinkle in some kelp for color. Everything runs to the ocean and then to the beach and it’s all fair game.

Among the better stretches of coastline for viewing these anonymous, ephemeral structures is between Rincon Point and Casitas Pier in Carpinteria.  

The Oxford dictionary states that art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Driftwood beach shacks are pieces of art. Some are minimalistic, some massive and ornate. Some strive for a horizontal format, some prefer vertical. Color, texture, and shape play a role.

With big winter swells and occasional rain come the most abundant building materials. I’m partial to the all-natural shacks with no manmade materials.      

Driftwood beach shacks provide protection from the sun and the wind. They provide privacy. But mostly I think they simply give purpose to those fidgety people that have a hard time sitting still when visiting the beach. I’m grateful to them as I love investigating, analyzing, and photographing their art.


Written by bigwavedave

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