"Jeff Divine: 70s Surf Photographs" Edited by Tom Adler and Evan Backes
I grew up on the California coast, yet I never surfed. But I remain fascinated by surf culture: the rituals, sounds and smells of the ocean mixed with the fashion, photography and aesthetic of the sport. Much of my obsession with surfing comes from the dedicated research and eye of the T. Adler books imprint, that is, Tom Adler, who rediscovers and curates past eras, stripping away extraneous design noise as he creates an elegant and bold presentation. His newest title, Jeff Divine: 70s Surf Photographs, looks at the archive of the legendary surf photographer, who spent 35 years as the photo editor of Surfer magazine and Surfer’s Journal.
Of course there is a sense of nostalgia looking at California and Hawaii with the backdrop of the freedom of the riding waves, and in many ways, a voyeuristic back-in-time look at the tight knit group of friends and characters who were part of the scene. Divine's position at the monumental periodicals gave him some of the best insider access, but the way Adler's pairs the photographs together, with black and whites and full color shots is almost hypnotizigly stunning. With a foreword by Pulitzer Prize–winning author William Finnegan, there is something about the lifestyle being shown here that feels so organic. Before surf identify became tied to mall culture, Divine captures an almost hippie era, not the Beach Boys-inspired boom of the 1960s. "It was a moment when everything in our little world felt up for grabs," Finnegan writes. How inspiring that feels today. —Evan Pricco
You can purchase the book here.