ENCINITAS, Calif. — San Diego is home to some of the world's best surfers, so it's no surprise that it's also home to some of the best surf photographers.
When I started asking around town about the best surf photographers in the county, several people pointed me in the same direction, "You should reach out to Todd Glaser."
So I did.
"It still kind of shocks me that I’ve been able to turn it into a job," said Glaser as he stood along the beach in Cardiff on an overcast fall day. "I grew up at the beach. I grew up in San Diego.”
In some ways, the desire was always there.
"I loved watching movies, and I would always hold the remote and hit ‘pause’ wherever I think would make for a good photo,” he said.
But the Torrey Pines grad stumbled upon a new hobby in high school.
"Actually here, at Seaside Reef here, we had surf P.E.," said Glaser. "So we would come down to the beach and on the cloudy days, we would all surf together. On the sunny days we would - I would take photos or he would take photos. We just loved shooting a roll of film and getting the slides back."
"It was like opening a present," he added.
What you might call his "big break" came when he was 16. Ever since, he's tried to always stay moving, avoiding one-size-fits-all photoshoots.
”I want to be right in the action and I want to document that and I want to share that and I think that’s what makes it so fun," said Glaser.
Glaser is unique in that he will literally dive right in.
"I’ll use a wetsuit with swim fins and I’ll go swim out in the water," said Glaser. "I love being in the water. Sometimes, I’ll bring a camera. Sometimes, I’ll just leave it at home and go surfing. I found if you’re always making images and always creating, you tend to sometimes miss certain things."
He’s photographed surfing legends from all over the world, including some hometown favorites.
"What I love about photography is getting about to collaborate with a guy like Kelly [Slater] or Rob Machado," said Glaser. "When the subject feels involved and engaged, they give - they participate more and that’s how your images are much different than what someone else might create.”
You can see some more of Todd's work here.
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