In a digital age that just might be best described as #increasingly #fleeting, it’s always nice to find out that someone, somewhere, has been crafting something quality, tangible, and meant to last beyond the single-second lifespan of a thumb-scroll. And if the first three quarters of 2017 have been any testament, it’s been a relatively solid year in the world of material publications. Case-in-point: the release of Indoek’s “Surf Shacks,” and now, Grant Monahan’s “The Dock.”
We caught up with Grant ahead of the book’s official release in early September, to get a better idea of how this beautiful thing first came about, who’s had a helping hand in bringing it to life, which one of the legendary establishment’s artifacts Grant would most like to take home, and more. Please leave any and all crying babies outside.
When did you first spawn the idea of putting together a book on The Dock?
A photo book about The Dock was an idea I’ve toyed around with for years—I just didn’t know how to approach it. My original idea was to do a portrait series of the regulars. I was getting a beer with my friend, Javas, and his lady, Olivia, and we began talking about the idea of a “Dock book,” and the concept of shooting still-life imagery of all the objects on the walls and shelves just evolved.
Was George open to it from the start or did it take some warming up?
I was really nervous to ask George about taking everything down in his bar and photographing it. I went to a happy hour and muscled up the courage to ask, after about six drafts and a “just do it” from Jesse Joeckel. To my surprise, George gave me an immediate yes!
How many items did you end up photographing in total, and how long did the process take?
I photographed 186 items. I would estimate there is about 230 total in the bar, but many things are nailed or screwed to the wall with stripped screws and a lot of items were too big or heavy to move. The process was really fun. I went to The Dock at 8:00 AM for 10 days straight, would have a cup of coffee with George, set up my backdrop and lighting, then shoot for two hours before the wait staff showed up to set up lunch. I would take every item down one at a time, shoot it, and then put it back in its place.
Javas helped out on the design/layout, right? How was working with him?
Without Javas Lehn, The Dock Book would not exist. He has been with me every step of the way over the past two years, from the idea to the printing and everything in-between. I shot the photographs on my own and surprised him with a, “Let’s do this book!” A lot of beers were drank in the making of this book, as well as a lot of R&D lunches and dinners at The Dock.
Working with someone as talented as Javas has been amazing, I have learned so much about the bookmaking process and the amount of effort it takes to perfect a product. Really happy to have a friend like Java! Thank you again!
I shot the photographs on my own and surprised him with a, “Let’s do this book!”
Would also like to thank a few other people who have helped along the way: George and Chris Watson, Bjorn Iooss, Cole Barash, Riley Kalbus, and last but not least, Bill Duerr from Hatteras Press. The amount of work Bill has put into making sure the printing of this book is perfect is exceptional.
All things considered, what ended up being your favorite part of putting the book together?
My favorite part of putting this book together was my mornings spent at The Dock drinking coffee and talking with George, Chris, and all the other people that stop by in the morning. I would also say equally as great was making stronger friendships with everyone that helped out with this project. It has been nothing but a treat.
Let’s say you can walk into The Dock tonight and walk out with one sacred artifact of your choosing. What’re you taking home?
The bag of dildos that’s stashed behind the bar…hahaha! Totally joking. In a dream world, I would walk out of there with a piece of paper that read “Free drafts for life” in George’s handwriting, and the mounted coyote head.
Go-to order at The Dock after a long day of busting ass in the Ditch Witch?
Post-busting my ass in the Ditch Witch all day, I would hopefully surf and then go to The Dock and get a large Vodka Lemonade (realistically, four or five). I’d eat steamed little necks with extra bread and order some sort of seafood special that comes with mashed potatoes and veggies (broiled scallops, bacon wrapped monkfish in lemon butter, to name a few).
When and where can people get their hands on a copy?
You can pre-order The Dock Book by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can come to the book release party, but to get those details you first must find me and ask in-person.