The mere mention of surfing gets us imagining scenes of stoked surfers riding these big hypnotic waves and the unique lifestyle they lead. We are reminded of those close-up shots of the surfers in all their energy, the beauty of the raging ocean, and the hard work countless photographers put in just to capture the perfect action shots. In this body of work by Italian photographer Mario Daniele, however, we instead view surf life as an exercise in minimalist photography but through what looks like paintings at times.
Simply titled Surf!, this series of Turin-based Daniele still has all the elements you’ll find in a collection of surf photography: surfers armed with their boards, waves to ride, lots of sea, and some sun (albeit hiding behind the clouds). However, instead of the usual active surf shots, we see the bigger picture of some beach-goers lined up on the shoreline as they wait for waves to paddle to and ride.
This perspective is also evidently done with a minimalist style in mind. The surfers and beach-goers are engulfed by the sea and the cloudy sky in the frame. The colors are also rendered in a clean and crisp palette of light blue, light green, grey, and white. Meanwhile, the human elements add some dashes of black and bright colors against the paleness that surrounds them.
Surf! is certainly a departure and interesting perspective on the life and play of surfers, as we’re so used to the visuals of rolling waves and pro surfers dominating surf photography. However, to see surf life through a minimalist lens isn’t only an exercise in perspective, but also in getting creative in depicting the scenes playing out before you.