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

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

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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.

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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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