‘The Surf Sounds Loudly’ here: Photo exhibit on display at Surfrider Gallery on the Pier

Malibu artist Josh Klein poses with two of his works, "Surf Spray," and "Sunburst." They are part of his exhibit "The Surf Sounds Loudly, Malibu Photographed by Joshua Klein." Contributed Photo

Josh Klein’s images provide fresh perspectives of the powerful, artistic waves along Malibu’s coastline

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times

​“Most photographers shoot Malibu scenes in color to capture all the beauty,” Malibu artist Bobbi Bennett said. “I think it’s great that Josh Klein took the traditional black-and-white approach, which captures yet another amazing Malibu aesthetic and creates a sense of mystery about the waves and landscape.”

​Bennett was discussing “The Surf Sounds Loudly, Malibu Photographed by Joshua Klein,” an exhibit that opened on March 9 at Surfrider Gallery, which is located above The Malibu Farm Cafe at the end of the Malibu Pier. 

Klein’s striking photographs celebrating waves, clouds, and other images along Malibu’s coast are on show through April 7. The Surfside gallery, which sits above the Ranch at the Pier, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Malibu Times was delighted to attend the opening reception. It’s well worth readers’ time to go view this exhibit as Klein’s images provide fresh perspectives of the powerful, artistic waves that undulate along Malibu’s coastline, of the ever-changing, intriguing cloud formations that hover over the beaches and of the rich and varied wildlife that calls the beaches home. 

Klein’s images creatively capture Malibu’s natural beauty that attracts people from all over the world. 

​The photographs are very sharp and depict various beach events in real time. 

“I caught the wave along Broad Beach just at the right moment!” Klein said, discussing one of his most moving pieces, “Surf Spray,” a striking image that makes a viewer feel immersed in its entire composition celebrating the frolicking water that has rushed skyward after a wave crashed along the rocks. 

​Another of Klein’s works possesses a chiaroscuro effect as it captures pelicans flying overhead under diffused rays of sunlight. One senses the warmth of the sun and the sense of the enviable freedom only enjoyed by the airborne birds.

​“We’re thrilled to host Joshua at Surfrider Gallery,” Alice Bamford, the gallery owner, said. “He’s a true talent and he is so humble, talented and impactful!” 

For more than a decade, Klein has helped to tend the historic Malibu Pier and has kept a watchful eye over the State Park where it is located. He enjoys immersing himself in the ocean’s rhythms and observing — and at times fortuitously capturing an image of — those random, unpredictably magical moments when there is sweet light and waves strike rocks, the pier, beaches, or bluffs with enormous power, yielding airborne pulses of water projecting upward in a mid-air ballet. 

​“The native Chumash called this ribbon land, where a continent crashes into the expanse of the Pacific, Humaliwo, which translates to ‘where the surf sounds loudly,’” Klein noted. “These images are the Malibu I have known and the photographs evolved organically on early morning walks or after my waking up to the moon dancing across the surf beneath my window.”

​Klein explains that he captured his unique images in the quiet hours during his morning walks or his commute to the Pier.

Klein’s journey with photography began when he was a teen living in Paris during his high school years. He began his career in New York.

“When I was 30, I made my way west to LA and even when I lived above the lights of the city, Malibu was always the dream,” Klein said. ​

Klein’s photography affinity has taken him from the backstage of fashion shows to remote Saharan villages and across much of California. 

​As guests entered the exhibit, they paused breathlessly, taking in the gorgeously-lit rotunda space overlooking Surfrider Beach as it embraced Klein’s intriguing images, which have a rugged texture to them, leading one patron to verify that they were indeed photographs, as opposed to, perhaps, charcoal or penciled works. 

​“It’s a superb space to view Klein’s art,” commented Francisco Pugliese. “I am very familiar with the Leica camera he used and its image quality — his works display the excellent resolution and black-and-white textures that one can only accomplish with high-quality lenses such as Leicas.” 

​Kirandeep Singh commented about how moving Klein’s images were for him.

​“When one actually looks closely at the photographs, he sees the beauty of all that Malibu has to offer and it makes you feel you are invited to enjoy those wonders,” he said. 

​“I’m delighted to share my images at the Surfrider Gallery,” Klein said. “I also am working on a project at Versailles where I am photographing the fountains there and those pictures are on show at The Paris Ritz.”

​Ernest Hemingway once commented, “When I dream of an afterlife in heaven, the action takes place in the Paris Ritz.” 

​Although viewing Klein’s images of the world-famous Versailles in Paris is no doubt wonderful, those who admire Malibu’s magical waves, gorgeous cloud formations, and various species will find Klein’s striking portrayals of Malibu’s wondrous elements heavenly right here at the Surfrider Gallery.

Information about the photographer:

J. Klein


Photographer | Visual Director

Malibu California



(718) 902 4819