There are always at least two people in a surf photo. The surfer and the photographer. A surf photographer does not shoot what he sees, he shoots what we feel. And that puts him in the photo too. Funny how we use the term for surf photographers being “behind the lens”. When in fact they are in front of it. Surfers are not surfing in front of photographers, photographers are shooting in front of surfers.
And that is why in this issue we honor some the best photographers in the world. Our photographers. The men and women that bring our best moments back to life. Forever. In this issue we have the very personal work of Pete Frieden, who we dispatched to the North Shore for the Hawaiian season. His portraits of the stars being a result of lifelong friendships with the best. We go back and find some unpublished gems from Jason Childs.
The double page spread of Andy Irons surfing Keramas on the best day of the decade is a mind blower. And we check in with Liquid Barrel, one of the hardest working men in the sport. Aside from his portfolio, he has brought back photos of the Mentawai featuring a gargantuan day at Lance’s Rights. A day that would make anyone check their soul. All this past year we have been very proud to feature the best photos of Indonesia and its Indonesian surfers, as well as a spattering of the international crew. Because photography is way of touching, of feeling…of loving surfing. Proof of how rich reality really is. How dramatic.
Because without photography we would all suffer from a kind of silence. Photography is the only true international language, understood in a glance from sea level to the top of Everest. Because photography is not about what these photographers see, it’s about the way they see things. Great photography is about knowing where to be. Knowing where to stand. Knowing where you stand. The waves are forgotten to the surfer in his search for more. The photographer is the lasting witness. So we invite you to dive into this photography issue. Because the best thing about surf photography is that we do not have to explain things.
Wherever there is light, there is photography. Both philosophically and literally. And if you ask us which photos are our favorites? That’s easy. The ones our photographers are going to bring us tomorrow.