The sun is setting, and the briny perfume of sea air is intoxicating as you float on your board, ready for the next big wave to come. You feel the pull of the current and can hear your friends cheer you on from the shore. The undulating water rises and foams. You stand up on your board just as the wave curls. But then you realize you’re not out surfing; you’re at the luxury Fulton 555 condos in Hayes Valley, and you’re looking at one of renowned photographer Miles Jackler’s signature pieces.
Jackler’s work turns the beach-bum stereotype of surfers on its head, emphasizing the athleticism, fun, passion, and—let’s not forget—enviable locales Northern California surfing conjures. Shot on mediums that range from digital to analog and spanning styles from travel to sport, much of his naturalistic oeuvre reads as abstract expressionism. The lines of waves, the break of the surfers’ boards plunging into fresh foam, and the bodies of the surfers all seem spontaneous, but the artist’s purpose is clear: enjoy the beauty of the moment; it will be gone before you know it. Jackler takes pride that his work is a testament to the ephemera: capturing the waves and the second the picture is snapped.
Although the photos are hanging on the wall, and you’re not hanging-ten on the water, California native Jackler’s work transports you right into the action on the beach. He calls San Francisco his “muse,” so perhaps you’ll recognize some shots from nearby Ocean Beach, Jackler’s favorite place to photograph with those dynamic angles that elevate him within the surf photography world.
Fulton 555 designer Robbie McMillan of AubreyMaxwell summed up Jackler’s singular vision, stating, “His images both immerse the viewer into the water with the surfer and also create a sort of tactile energy due to the abstractions caused by sun flares, double-exposures, blurred motion, and grainy exposures.”
Growing up in California wine country, Jackler’s surfing days were few and far between. Instead of spending time at the beach, he would spend time in his high school’s darkroom working on his photography skills. He remembers the time as one of deep focus, and as he told us, “It was here that ‘photography’ became a proper noun in my mind, and I saw that it could be more than just taking pictures.”
While attending college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tucked along the rocky—and very surfable—coast, he realized that he could combine his two loves of longboards and lenses.
Luckily for art collectors and surf aficionados, he did. Miles Jackler’s mission is a humble one: he wants to share an experience with someone whether they are his surf buddies or viewers. If this curated collection is any indication, he has succeeded.
Photo courtesy of milesjackler.com, Titled Pocket Pleaser