Oxford English Dictionary: noun • Pronunciation: /ɛθˈnɒɡrəfi/ • Line breaks: eth|nog¦raphy

the scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences.

(used by Anthropologists, Sociologists, and Psychologists to study subjects firsthand)

The ethnographer becomes immersed in a (sub)culture as an active participant recording extensive field notes over months or years, and in the case of a Visual Ethnographer/Anthropologist, recording subsequent information through multiple forms of visual media.

Emma holds a Masters Degree in Visual Anthropology, a Bachelors in Ethnography & Photography, Postgraduate studies in International Communication and Intercultural Business practices and has over a decade of experience traveling internationally.

Ethnographic Film

They Come in Waves, (2011)

Trailer coming soon

Tourism can boost local economies.  It can also disrupt local culture and daily life.  Opening an area to tourism often brings with it higher demands for infrastructure, lodging, food, entertainment and more, which benefits local residents as much as visitors.

Surfing is a sport/hobby/pastime that has grown steadily in the United States since the 1950’s.  But American surfers didn’t stop at the border.  Their desire to leave home in search of surf destinations around the world, with waves that are that are less crowded, pristine beaches, in warmer climates, created surf tourism. The advancing tide of international surf tourism has affected areas such as Hawaii and Indonesia for decades.  Now, many countries in Central America are beginning to feel the impact of surf- and ecotourism.

More than five years of qualitative research and participant observation in a half-dozen Central American countries have gone into the making of this film. An avid surfer and world traveler since the 1990’s, filmmaker Emma Roll combines the perspective of a visiting ethnographer studying fellow surf tourists with that of a semi-local who has lived and worked in the region alongside its residents.

Concentrating on a small coastal town in Panama, They Come in Waves explores how surf tourism is presently playing a role in development throughout Central America; giving the viewer a firsthand look at what travelers are hoping to get out of their journeys, how locals are reacting to changes created by tourism, and the potential future of life in these exotic locales.