Endless winter: A Grannis picture-perfect product, for the common man


Entry 3 from our search of the perfect surf book that’s come out in the last few months:


The book: “LeRoy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s, 25th Anniversary Edition”

The authors: Essay by Steve Barilotti, edited by Jim Heimann.

The vital info: Taschen Books (taschen.com), 256 pages, $19.95. (Released Oct. 1).

The curl: No matter what the language — it’s in English, Spanish and German — this common-man reproduction of a rare collectors’ book released in the 1980s to chronicle the photographic career of Hermosa Beach native Grannis is as much about a snapshot of the sport at an iconic peroid as it is about a man who captured it. Grannis was a surfer himself, part of a group of guys who started the Palos Verdes Surfing Club in the late ’30s. The PV cove was, according to Barilotti, “second home to a zealous crew of dedicated surfers, mostly jobgless young men in their 20s who were waiting out the Depression in grand low-budget style.” Thus, Grannis knew the soul of what he was shooting. His full page shots blow up on the pages, saturated in real color and sharp black and white.


Our favorites: From the first couple of pages, two blond surfers are on a dirt path heading to the Palos Verdes cove, shielding their eyes from the afternoon sun to see who’s in the water; on page 28, the legendary Dewey Weber with a bright red board and flipped-up hair, and all the shots of the stores now long gone that once housed the surf shops of Weber and Greg Noll.

The excerpt: From page 19: “LeRoy Grannis came to surf photography in late 1959, not as a professional or an artist, but as a middle-aged family man looking for a hobby to reduce the stress of his job. Luckily, he happened to pick up his camera at a pivitol time in surfing history …”
And page 25: “Today, as endless images from professional surf photographers flood the market, the elegant simplicity of Grannis’ photos and the period he captured provide a critical window into the birth of a culture.”

Find it: At Amazon and Powells.

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