I first met Tom Adler 12 years ago when he came into my gallery carrying the dummy of his first picture book "1936 - 1942. San Onofre to Point Dune. Photographs by Don James". We agreed to do a show and have become fast friends and collaborators ever since. The picture below is a Don James from the show. (Don James was 16 years old in 1936 when he borrowed his father's camera to record what were the very beginnings of surf culture in California.)
Tom has continued to produce important and revelatory photo books on surfing and been hired by companies from Polo to Roxy to brighten up their visuals. Last summer we did a follow-up show "Rediscovered Archives and Graphic Works" based on Tom's remarkable eye for combining and contrasting different images. See two examples below and more on the link above.
His latest books, "Surf Contest" and "Ron Church: California to Hawaii 1960 to 1965" bring the work of Ron Church back into the limelight after a long period of neglect.
Most recently, Tom was brought in to revise the look of swell.com - an online store and catalog selling surfing style clothes and accessories, and the results are just amazing. The catalogs are (deceptively) simple but visually refreshing, and almost every click on swell.com brings you to a picture that transcends the gee-whiz poster type of big wave photograph because of the subtly artful aspect of each image. Examples of some of the images and layouts below. Good web design is hard to find, but Adler shows both the importance of photography and the endless wave of possibilities. (Excuse the pun.)
Finally, the limited edition poster, below, which Tom created for our first exhibition now sells for up to $500! (swell.com has an authorized reprint for $29.95.)