That famed surf photographer LeRoy Grannis would have such a significant impact on surf culture in his lifetime was a matter of coincidence. When Grannis was 42, his doctor diagnosed him with stomach ulcers and recommended he take up a relaxing hobby. That was in 1959, the same year Gidget made its cinematic debut, and “inland America [was] lured to the beach,” as surf writer Andrea Gabbard wrote.
The popularity of surfing soared in the years Grannis honed his skills behind the lens – documenting surfing action and lifestyle in Southern California and the North Shore of Oahu. In the 60s and 70s, Grannis solidified his reputation as one of the era’s primary documentarians.
Over a century since he was born, Grannis’ work continues to stand the test of time for its composition and texture. And although his photos have been shown in galleries all over the world, he’s never had a solo exhibition. Until now.
Opening on Friday, the Long Beach Museum of Art will host the late photographer’s first solo show, which will remain open until April 21. The honor is long overdue.
We recommend you slide through the gallery above for a quick preview of Grannis’ work, but we also know that it’s one thing to see his photos on a computer or phone screen and it’s quite another to see them in print.
Here are the details per the Long Beach Museum of Art:
“Cult to Culture: Photographs by LeRoy Grannis is the first West Coast museum presentation of the [Grannis’] work. Organized by the Long Beach Museum of Art, the exhibition explores Grannis’ mastery in the medium and his ability to capture iconic images that played a profound role in shaping the world of surfing during its golden age of the 1960s and the ‘70s.”