Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Non-Hipstamatic Hawaii: Waikiki Beach

With the proliferation of camera equipped smartphones, we see point-and-shoot images go from uninspiring to evocative. Images processed by Instagram at The Trad or in camera through Hipstamatic here take on more character. The images that simulate vintage snaps really catch my attention, and I can no longer look at overlighted, hyper-real pictures -- which we once considered acceptable lo these past 30 years since the advent of cheap photography -- with any amount of satisfaction.

Which is why I thought I'd share a few genuine vintage shots of Honolulu that an historic architect friend of mine recently shared with me.

We have a series of images of the south shore of Oahu. Immediately below is a view looking west towards Waikiki from what is now the Outrigger Canoe Club. In the distance you see the iconic Royal Hawaiian, lovingly called "the Pink Palace".

And a closer view of the same hotel from Waikiki Beach itself. My guess is this beach fronts the Moana Surfrider.

The Royal Hawaiian, the Moana, and the Hilton Hawaiian, the lagoon and original bungalows of which are pictured below, represent some of the most venerable of Old Waikiki luxury tourist accommodations. At these resorts you can experience century old traditions such as high tea, sunset hula, and elegant dining - where, contrary to Waikiki convention, you may still be denied entry without a jacket and tie.

Today as in days past, one can find scenes like this, where tourist girls can pour out of their hotels to receive surfing or paddling lessons from the beach boys of Waikiki.

Not to be confused with the california rock n' roll group of the same name, the Waikiki beach boys have a long standing tradition which continues to this day of serving as ambassadors of beach culture to the visiting Mainland masses. Master swimmers, surfers, paddlers, and fishermen, they epitomized the idea of the Hawaiian waterman. It may sound like a frivolous existence, but on an island which derives much of its livelihood from visitors who flock to places like Waikiki, the role of the beach boy cannot be overstated.

I leave you with a final shot, decidedly un-Hipstamatic, of the legendary beach boys, from an era gone by but not forgotten.


M.Lane said...

Now THIS is my kind of Hawaii! Some day I will take up residence in one of those hotels. Great post.


Ben said...

Glad you like it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good picture of my favorite Waikiki hotel, the Halekulani, which stands shoulder to shoulder with these others mentioned here. I spent my wedding night there, so perhaps I'll stay at the Moana with my 2nd and find a new favorite.