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Iconic Surf Photographer Art Brewer Passes

Posted on 19 November 2022

Last week, after battling health issues, legendary surf photographer Art Brewer kicked out for the last time, at the age of 71. Art's images brought color and light to the pages of Surfer Magazine for over 30 years, telling the visual story of the surfing's iconic wave riders and characters, as surfing evolved from counter culture to commodity. Raised in Laguna Beach, Art's first image appeared in Surfer when he was just 16. He soon joined on as a staff photographer, working under iconic surf lensman Ron Stoner. Art was sent to Hawaii for 4 months in 1969 to photograph the waves, and surfer's, of Oahu's North Shore. That trip marked the beginning of a career spent circling the globe, capturing images that he hoped would stand the test of time.

Art moved on from Surfer in 1981, and while his lens would still occasionally landed on surfers, his photographic journey sent him on assignment to shoot top athletes like Derek Jeter and Michael Phelps, for media clients such as GQ and ESPN, and brands like Pepsi and Levis. 

As his career progressed Art mentored countless photographers, carving a path for them to follow. He cared for people, but that didn't mean he was soft. Art was a large man, with a hot temper, and a presence that suited his stature. Stories of Art's lack of patience for bullshit float around surfing's inner circle, but they often miss the mark on who he was and what he believed in.

"A lot of folks say Art was a hard ass, that he was grumpy. Wrong. He believed in himself, he believed in his work, and he had enough respect for the work he was doing to stand up for himself. There's a big difference." - Jake Howard 

This self belief served as an example to the scores of young creatives who worked around, with, and for, Art. He was a professional. He was firm; but he cared about the work he was doing, and the people in his orbit.

Art's images will live on, as will the impact he had on the lives of those who loved him, and those who learned from him.

A gofundme was established during Art's illness to help his family with hefty medical bills. You can continue to support Art's family through this difficult time by donating at the link below.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/artbrewer

Art is survived by his wife Kathy, daughter Alana, son-in-law Dylan, and grandkids Elynn and Griffin.

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