Photographer shares the joy of surfing

As a teenager, Aaron Chang became interested in photography because he wanted to show his friends the joy of surfing. Now, visitors to Chang’s new Cedros gallery can experience that joy and his amazing ability to capture some of the world’s most beautiful locations in large-format images.

Chang is not new to the business world. For 10 years, he made apparel for Aaron Chang International. Despite the recent economic downturn, Chang decided to open his photography gallery in November 2007. He chose Solana Beach as the venue because he loves the artistic and beach community vibe of the area.

He hosted an opening party for his eponymous 1,100-square-foot gallery on Feb. 28.
The gallery offers 60 of his images from two photographic collections, photo-wrapped surfboards, prints on recycled metal and posters.

Chang is now working with designer David Carson on his first photography book, which will be available in December. He is also partnering with the Surfrider Foundation on two future events and plans summer programs and photography seminars.

Chang grew up in Imperial Beach, where he first picked up a camera in the 1970s and started shooting.

After moving to Hawaii at age 17, he independently produced a surfing film that led to his becoming a professional photographer.

“Through that film, I was introduced to a photo editor who challenged me to try to shoot surfing with a still camera,” Chang said.

That meeting opened the door to his eventually serving as the senior photographer of Surfing magazine. There, he honed his skills while shooting the most beautiful surfing locations throughout the world.

“For over 20 years, my job was to create exotic travel stories for the magazine; it was one of the most incredible experiences you could stumble into,” he said.

Chang credits an early mentor, Brad Wagner, for his photographic inspiration. They met through their shared interest in photography, and Wagner went on to revolutionize the postcard industry with his high-end images and quality printing that became a multimillion-dollar business for him.

Chang left Surfing magazine five years ago and has been shooting freelance photography ever since.

In December, San Diego’s W Hotel featured an extensive exhibition of Chang’s work including a slide show on its rooftop beach bar. The event drew 300 people.

Chang’s photos show the years of experience it takes to effectively capture the power and the beauty of the ocean.

His photo “Malia Jones, Duckdive,” featuring a wave washing over Sports Illustrated swimsuit model/surfer Malia Jones, is just one of many photos that demonstrate Chang’s technical and athletic skills.

“It was shot in Tahiti where the waves break on reefs that are far off the beach and the water is crystal clear,” Chang said.

He shot the photo from an underwater view. As the wave approached, he went underwater first and waited for Jones to push under the wave with her surfboard and rise up to the side of him.

“The shot had to be very synchronized with a talented athlete, and you have to have a good sense of where to put yourself in relation to a wave that’s coming toward you and breaking,” Chang said. “It takes a lot of understanding.”

Related posts:

  1. One More Wave: Entrepreneur learned early on: ‘Surfing is a gift’
  2. Black & White: Historic celebrity photos come alive in new exhibition
  3. Solana Beach artist captures Alaska’s magical light
  4. ‘Holiday Reflections’ show shines brightly
  5. MCASD to host teen film workshop

Short URL:

Posted by tgsage on Mar 5, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • FRONTLINE CANCER: Exercise, exercise, exercise!
    Regular exercise improves health in ways most of us already know. It helps control weight, maintain strong bones, muscles and joints, reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Exercise quite literally makes us feel better, physically and mentally. […]
  • Hunger Games in the Real World
    At age 6, Nya, a girl living in San Diego, was suffering from malnourishment because her father, a single parent was struggling to raise (and feed) his children on an $11-an-hour job. For long periods of time their cupboards were bare, and Nya, who is now 18, subsisted on a diet of ramen noodles and free lunches provided by her charter school. She was in cri […]
  • Fall brings the call to learn something new
    Local gems like UCSD Extension, Osher Lifelong Learning, La Jolla Community Center and La Jolla Library all offer a variety of opportunities for personal growth — and all welcome newcomers. […]




  • Rancho Santa Fe Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives
    By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs In California we are lucky to live in a mild climate that allows us to grow amazing landscapes. Because of this mild climate, plants from other parts of the world often thrive; and some grow so well they become known as invasive. These plants ‘jump fences’ and ‘throw seeds.’ Their […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe School District’s robotics program receives new funding
    The Rancho Santa Fe School District is making its school’s robotics program more robust this year, allocating $42,500 in stipends to staff coaches just like the district does for its athletics program. “I think the program has taken a big step,” said Superintendent Lindy Delaney. “I think we’re on our way toward developing a great program there.” John Galipa […]
  • Back to School for R. Roger Rowe students
    Students at R. Roger Rowe School bid a fond farewell to summer and headed back to school Aug. 25. Photos by Jon Clark. […]