Leroy Grannis, birth of a culture

Leroy Grannis, birth of a culture

A une époque oû le surf est plus populaire que jamais, il convient de se replonger aux origines de ce sport. Développé par les Hawaïens il y a plus de 5 siècles, la tornade surf touche l’Amérique puis le monde dans les années 50. Le surf devient alors plus qu’un sport, un véritable mode de vie. Leroy Grannis, surfer depuis 1931, est un des photographes clef de cette époque.

Il appartient au « surfing hall of fame » depuis 1966. Cette collection, prise dans ses archives personnelles, présente une impressionnante sélection de photographies de surf -du bonheur de la glisse à San Onofre aux vagues meurtrières du nord de Oahu. Une des caractéristiques de ses photographies est d’être au plus près de l’action, grâce à un appareil résistant à l’eau de sa conception. Son travail couvre également une grande variété de style de surf, allant des compétitions aux surfeurs itinérant le long de l’autoroute de la côte Pacifique.

Cet ouvrage est l’essence d’une époque et d’un sport à son âge d’or.

Capturing the perfect wave : tapping into the archives of America’s most important surf photographer of the ’60s and ’70s. At a time when surfing is more popular than ever, it’s fitting to look back at the years that brought the sport into the mainstream. Developed by Hawaiian islanders over five centuries ago, surfing began to peak on the mainland in the 1950s, taking America-and the world-by storm. Surfing became not just a sport, but a way of life, and the culture that surrounded it was admired and exported across the globe. One of the key image-makers from that period is LeRoy Grannis, a surfer since 1931, who began photographing the scene in California and Hawaii in the longboard Gidget era of the early 1960s. Collector’s edition limited to 1000 copies, numbered and signed by LeRoy Grannis. This collection, drawn from Grannis’s personal archives, showcases an impressive selection of surf photographs-from the bliss of catching the perfect wave at San Onofre to dramatic wipeouts at Oahu’s famed North Shore. An innovator in the field, Grannis suction-cupped a waterproof box to his board, enabling him to change film in the water and stay closer to the action than other photographers of the time. Equally notable is his work covering an emerging surf lifestyle, from "surfer stomps" and hoards of fans at surf contests to board-laden woody station wagons along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is in these iconic images that a sport still in its adolescence embodied the freespirited nature of an era-a time before shortboards and celebrity endorsements, when surfing was at its bronzed best.

About LeRoy Grannis

The photographer : LeRoy Grannis’s initial foray into surfing began at age 14 with a six-foot slab of pine, but it wasn’t until the age of 42 that he picked up a camera and made a career out of it. Under doctor’s orders to take up a hobby, Grannis built a darkroom in his garage and began shooting surfers at Hermosa Beach, selling prints for a buck apiece. His photos soon started appearing in many of the burgeoning surf magazines, and “Photo : Grannis” quickly became a hallmark of the California surf scene of the 1960s. Grannis is considered one of the most important documentarians of the sport, and was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in 1966.

Leroy Grannis, birth of a culture
Leroy Grannis, birth of a culture
de Leroy Grannis

Birth of a culture de Leroy Grannis, Steve Barilotti
Éditeur: Taschen
Parution: Avril 2006
Pages: 290
ISBN-13: 978-3822850695