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Photo/Stoner: The Rise, Fall, and Mysterious Disappearance of Surfing's Greatest Photographer Hardcover – November 2, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (November 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811855333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811855334
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 0.8 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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
6 Comments 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1966, I spent my first summer in Ocean City, New Jersey. I managed to scrape together $119.00 and buy a Dewey Weber Performer. I went to every surf film advertised at Surfer Supply, and I read each issue of Surfer magazine. I also spent the following two summers working and surfing in Ocean City. Surfer magazine was part of the surfer lifestyle and the most memorable photos I remember of that time were taken by Ron Stoner. Many of those photos are in Matt Warshaw's superb book.

Warshaw paints a vivid picture of a very talented young man, Stoner, who was a bonafide photographic genius when it came to surfing photography. He also describes Stoner's tragic decent into madness in the prime of his life. The most intriguing parts of the book are Warshaw's description of Stoner's disappearance, a stunning single sighting in Idaho in 1982, never to be seen or heard from again.

It reminds me of the nomadic and ultimately tragic life of Mickey Dora. Some believe Stoner is still alive, but most who knew him believe he died years ago. Those like me wish he was still with us and would take up his camera once again.
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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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