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Photo/Stoner: The Rise, Fall, and Mysterious Disappearance of Surfing's Greatest Photographer Hardcover


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Photo/Stoner: The Rise, Fall, and Mysterious Disappearance of Surfing's Greatest Photographer + The History of Surfing + The California Surf Project
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1St Edition edition (November 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811855333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811855334
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt Warshaw is the former editor of Surfer magazine. He is the author of Surf Movie Tonite! and lives in San Francisco.

Jeff Divine is the photo editor at Surfer's Journal, has been a surf photographer since 1964, and lives in San Clemente, California.

More About the Author

Matt Warshaw was born in Los Angeles, began riding waves in 1969, and had a brief, undistinguished, resume-padding career as a pro surfer during the early 1980s. He worked at SURFER Magazine for six years, and became editor in 1990. Quitting what has been called "the best job in surfing," Warshaw enrolled at UC Berkeley, and in 1993 took a BA in History, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He continued to write, and published articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Interview, and Outside.

Warshaw has written eight books since 1997, including the Encyclopedia of Surfing ("A living, breathing masterpiece," according to Salon.com), and the just-published History of Surfing. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin wrote that "Warshaw has written more cogent words about surfing than any other human," and the UK's Independent added that "the author appears to have attained total omniscience in his field."

Warshaw lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
The Story of Ron Stoner is beautiful and tragic.
L. D. Silva
There are people in this world...maybe you know a few of them...maybe you are one of them...who don't really seem to fit in with things of this world.
John P. Morgan
This is a beautifully photographed book and well presented with interesting but inobtrusive commentary.
Darren James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John P. Morgan VINE VOICE on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are people in this world...maybe you know a few of them...maybe you are one of them...who don't really seem to fit in with things of this world. They are driven by maddness or inspiration or both and bring forth things to this world that can never be replicated.

Such is the art of Ron Stoner.

I call his photography art because that is exactly what it is. It captures more than a sport that is, for the most part, widely misunderstood by the majority and goes straight into the salty depths of its soul and lets you in on the secret that most surfers understand; that the ocean is just a symbol of something even greater and riding the waves is simply done out of appreciation and respect for that something greater.

And just like you can look at a Van Gogh or a Matisse and feel something within bursting forth, you can look at a Ron Stoner photograph and feel yourself melting into a world that is very, very Real but not too many of us actually frequent. It is the middle-ground...the veil between the seen and the unseen...the bridge between heaven and earth and even if you but receive the tiniest glimpses of its Reality, you will never ever be the same

...and why would you want to be?

Surfers exude a raw kind of spirituality. They seem to have a "knowing" that there is a magic to life...that "walking" on the water is the most normal thing there is...that all limitation comes from a shallow sense of self and begs release. Maybe it's because this group of people literally soak themselves in the primal soup where God Itself stirred the waters with Its Firey Imagination and created Life Itself.

And like the Living Spirit, everything beneath the surface is Forever, Eternal, Infinite, Beautiful.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. D. Silva on November 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Wow! Excellent job Matt Warshaw and Jeff Divine.
The Story of Ron Stoner is beautiful and tragic.
What a great time in surfing, 1965-1968, pre shortboard,
pre-leash and pre-Gidget. Perfect waves with just you and your buddy.
Soul surfing. Imagine being silly and having fun in the lineup, with
maneuvers like "Standing Island pullout", and "The coffin".

Stoner had a great eye. His sense of balance and composition is
evident in every photo. I showed the book to my friend who
is a Hollywood Cinematographer, and he called Stoner's photography,
"Top notch".

The reader may be left with many questions;
Why did Stoner take way too much LSD?
Why didn't Stoner's "friends" help him until it was too late?
Why did the mental hospital give him 50,000 volts 20 times?
Maybe everyone was way too naive...

Though the book was well researched, I wanted more info on
the above questions. Warshaw takes the high road and avoids
blaming anyone. Having grown up and surfed in Orange County in the 70's just after behind Stoner, I wonder if his being an inlander made
him dispensable to his group of "friends".

Perhaps this story sat idle for 30 years due to a collective sense of
loss and guilt. Would Ron Stoner have been treated differently if he was from a beach town instead of being an "inlander" from Pasadena?
I don't know, I wasn't there at the time.

I had such visceral reactions from the elegant and empty waves,
that I found myself moaning when I looked at each photograph,
and my wife accused me of looking at porn.

Man, they had it good back then! Those days of discovery and isolation
of perfect waves are very hard to find these days, if not impssible.
Just like Ron Stoner. Great story.

Dave Silva
Sevenhorses@inbox.com
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Surfdaddy on December 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfectly timed to capitalize on the current retro surf craze, this is a well-written and -researched book on the life of a talented man who had a very troubled life. Matt Warshaw wrote the Encyclopedia of Surfing (an absolute must-have), and has done a good job on this biography of Ron Stoner. The photographs alone are worth the cost of the publication. Anyone interested in 1960s-70s surf culture will appreciate the beautiful photographs and layout as well as the thoughtful text.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Darren James on February 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully photographed book and well presented with interesting but inobtrusive commentary. The book catches the moment in time that surfing changed into the modern sport, a period only just captured by Stoner during his short photographic career. The book captures the mood of surfing just before and just after the shortboard revolution and drug culture re-wrote the culture of surfing. I loved it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Whamo on January 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got to know Ron Stoner at the beach at Riviera, San Clemente, and had a half-dozen conversations with him. The guy was very spaced out, but many were back around 69 and 70. One late summer day, instead of just sitting there, he surfed on a south swell day, caught a nice left, and did this thunderbird arch and spread on his backhand. I saw it as I paddled out just in front of him, as I had ridden the previous wave. He was riding that white Steve Kroll semi-gun he had. Ron once spoke of making a cosmic surfing movie, with a Rick Griffin cartoon, to start, "...at the best beaches with the best surfers in the world..." Too bad he didn't pull it off. I also remember walking back from Cotton's Point to Riv, talking with Rick, when he just turned around, and had to walk back, because, as he explained, "...it's just too beautiful to leave...". Ron captured those perfect moments in a surfer's life. Ron was one of the first to capture surfing from the water in his photography. Ron Stoner loved surfing and the ocean more than anyone I ever met. This book is good, but Stoner's best work can be found in SURFER magazine in the Ranch and Black's issues.
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