Focus {Leroy Grannis}

Makaha, Hawaii 1968 by LeRoy Grannis
Hermosa Beach, California 1963 by Leroy Grannis
Waimea Bay 1966 by Leroy Grannis
Mike Doyle, Waimea, 1967 by Leroy Grannis
1963 Leroy Grannis

Aloha! Our photographer of the month is the legendary "godfather" of surf photography, Leroy Grannis (1917-2011). I have an extra special appreciation for Grannis' work as he is from my home turf- Hermosa Beach, California. Grannis is famous for his phenomenal surf photography and his iconic imagery of surf culture from the 1960's and 1970's. He was an avid surfer himself and active in the emerging Southern California surf scene of his time. At age 42, he took up photography as a hobby whilst on a break from his day job. Grannis began to pursue the medium more seriously and quickly became a star figure in documenting the growing popularity of the sport and it's counter culture. He first started with a 35mm German camera and a darkroom in his garage, selling $1 dollar prints to local Hermosa Beach surfers. In 1960, he sold his first commercial photos to a small publication called Reef magazine. Then in 1962, Grannis became the chief photographer for 'Surfing Illustrated' and later co-founded 'International Surfing', now known as Surfing Magazine. Back then, photos were shot mostly from the beach using long lenses and in 1963 Grannis started using a Calypso underwater camera, one invented by oceanographer Jaques Cousteau. Shortly later Grannis developed a method of sealing his camera inside a wooden box attached to his surfboard which allowed him to change films out on the water and not have to go back to shore each time to reload. He was then in his element, paddling out to where all the action was, brilliant! Photographing both in California and Hawaii, Leroy Grannis is celebrated for capturing some of the most enduring surf images from the golden age of the sport.

Further reading and photos...