reviews of one

“born into surfing royalty, Joe Curren’s new book, One, marks another coronation of sorts for the Santa Barbara native and world-class photographer. One is a visual odyssey—completely devoid of words or page numbers until the very end — that celebrates a life less ordinary, lived in search of moments and experiences akin to sun-soaked rainstorms and flowers blooming through a crack in the sidewalk.

As a professional surfer, Curren has been on the road searching for waves for much of his adult life, and luckily for us, he has often had a camera in hand. With an eye that is trained by both surf lust and an appreciation for nature, Curren’s decidedly non-digital camera harvests fresh looks at well-known places Pipeline and Kirra while also culling stoke-inspiring shots from unlikely surf outposts like Norway and Lake Superior in Minnesota. And while page-popping empty lineup shots, exploding with early morning or late evening light, are the bread and butter of the book, the true gems of One are Curren’s foray into naturescapes. Years spent sitting in the lineup, letting the weather roll in around him, and watching the days dawn and sunset from a board rider’s perspective at far-flung lineups the world over have given Curren a remarkable sense of timing and sensibility to the rhythms and all-too-fleeting moments of beauty dished out by Mother Nature. You get the impression, looking at his work — such as the haunting black-and-white Ansel Adams-esque shots from Iceland and Greece—that Curren stalks these moments for days on end, lying in wait with his camera, saving each precious exposure until all the variables come together in a glorious cacophony of light, subject, and view.

His photos, much like his surfing, have become a balance of timing, function, and flow made brilliant by his subtleness and appreciation of the sublime. One is a testament to the remarkable catalog of soul-stirring photographs Curren has amassed in his relatively short time taking pictures.”

–ethan stewart, from the santa barbara independent