Tom Adler Books

Tom Adler’s books are really clean in design and high in image quality. This one is a simple portfolio of Divine’s shots from an era before “the maggot scene”, before the beaches of the North Shore became a breeding ground for Canon lenses, and he had it almost to himself. As Surfer magazine staff photographer, Divine had a (relative) ton of film and gas money to burn through, and a decade of intense experimentation to document. The result is a lot of long hair, a spectrum of boards and riding styles, plenty of Hawaii and assorted gems from Southern California. Scott Hulet’s essay is enlightening about this lucky guy from San Diego and how he came to get such a gig. Full-page or cleanly placed images make every page a feast – many of them well-known, iconic shots although plenty of them aren’t. The selection is as focused on the people and the life ashore, as much as it is on the great surfing moments. So candid portraits balance the action and you get a great sense of Divine just hanging out, in a ‘70s, long-haired kind of way. This book should go down well with the ‘retro’ thing that’s going on, but it stands tidily on its own as a photo history as well. - ADR