As much as barreling behemoth waves and 14-foot airs may be visually captivating and a major part of professional surfing, it’s downright difficult to relate to for most. LA-based photographer Will Adler turns his lens on the ocean and those who take to the waves for pure enjoyment with an accessibility that draws a visceral emotional connection with the viewer. His latest exhibition, now open at NYC’s Danziger Gallery through the end of July, is a marine haze holiday for the eyes; featuring images shot in California, Montauk, Mexico and Hawaii. Adler’s work is more a chronicle of the people, places and holistic experience around surfing than it is about the sport itself—unlike the bulk of mainstream surf photography.
Adler, who has worked with commercial clients including Nike, Patagonia and Quiksilver, has a distinct, bright style, which creates an an intimacy that is somewhat rare in his field of photography. Capturing the moments in between (a dog watching its owner paddle out from the beach; a passing highway sign) are the sort of shared, common experiences Adler manages to communicate in his dreamlike style. Plus, he’s got some family wisdom on his side from an elder Adler. Known for publishing dozens of seminal photography books on topics ranging from Marilyn Monroe to pre-war surfing, Adler’s uncle Tom Adler curated the show.
Photos by Hans Aschim