Capturing the allure of the sea in all its briny glory is probably one of the most dangerous yet fulfilling areas of photography there is. The crashing of the waves, magnificent tubes and images of the sun trailing off in the horizon at the end of the day are few of the rewarding sights in that light.
It’s a good thing that there are surf enthusiasts out there who took the job upon themselves to document these enigmatic traits of the sea and portray the people who made it a world renowned phenomenon. Names like LeRoy Grannis and Clarence Maki are somewhat synonymous to the early surf culture with their stunning surf photography. Their images combined paint a picture of sunny skies, sandy beaches and fun loving people all sharing the glory of the deep blue with their surf boards and swim wear.
Early surf photography depicted the chill and laid back vibe of the 60s and 70s when the surfing culture really went for the boom. California became a Mecca-like destination for surfers all around the world, hunting the next big wave and the gnarliest moments on their surf boards. Grannis’ photographs of beach life under the blazing sun are iconic in their own right. Maki chose to portray the surfers and gave focus to their intimately amazing moments in their love affair with the sea and the waves that helped them make carve their names in surf scene legends.
Grannis and Maki shot their iconic surf photographs with film and sea-worthy cameras with the desire to embody the whole surf scene in their pictures. Following this path, other contemporary names in surf photography are looking to add more amazing shots to the collection. Photographers like Damea Dorsey, Dustin Humphrey and Steve Sherman are now making splashes in surf photography with their own brand of dynamic shots and portrayal of the surf culture all around the world.
Even decades apart, the love of surf, sand and fun times at the beach never gets old. It’s a relief that there are photographers out there who’s still paddling out for that next great shot – whether it’s inside a tube, on the tip of a board or just lounging at the shore.
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