LeRoy Grannis began shooting surf-culture images in 1960, just as surfing began gaining popularity. His photographs capture the transition of surfing from cult hobby to mass-culture obsession. Viewed today, his dreamy, colorful images evoke a nostalgic past: surfing’s golden age of longboards and board shorts, VW Buses and California sun.
LeRoy was a surfer himself and got his start selling photographs for $1 to surfers on the beach. He went on to work as the head photographer of Surfing Illustrated and in 1964 co-founded International Surfing, now called Surfing magazine. He surfed well into his 80’s, until a hip injury forced him to stop. On February 3, 2011, Grannis died of natural causes at his home in Torrence at the age of 93.
A commemorative show of Grannis’ work is being exhibited at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles until July 30, 2011.