Dazzling Blue #140: The Elements of Style with Andrea Coleman

Dazzling Blue #140: The Elements of Style with Andrea Coleman


An Aussie expat living in San Clemente, Andrea Coleman’s surf photography contains a distinct through-line: style. Check out her Instagram feed and you’ll see it: arched backs, loose shoulders, balletic hands, a delicate melding of body and wave. Sport or art? goes the endless debate. Andrea’s photos make the case that surfing is pure dance. Her work has appeared in Pacific Longboarder, Surfer, and Foam Symmetry.


“Photography for me is a way to escape the noise and sit quietly in my own little world and create. The ocean has always been a special place to me. I don’t have skilled camera knowledge, and I would definitely not put myself in the category of ‘professional.’ I’m just very passionate and driven. It’s purely for self joy.”


“Picking up a camera after my three boys were born, I was an over-eager mom wanting to capture every fleeting moment. When my boys hit the water after school I would sit on the sand with a cup of tea in my hand and shoot. We would have so much fun looking through the shots when we got home—it involved all our passions. It didn’t take long for my camera to find some very talented loggers surfing alongside my crew. Watching them pour out of their cloud-filled vans, the camaraderie, the style in their thrift-shop clothes setting the trends for future surf companies. No fucks given. The style these surfers had in and out of the water was something I admired and wanted to capture. I was definitely inspired by them. I was just lucky to be surrounded by some of the best surfers in the world.” 


“I remember one occasion: there was a massive swell hitting Mavericks, the possible season opener. I was sitting in my kitchen and I couldn’t stand the fact that this was all happening and I was missing it. I just went for it, I literally grabbed my gear, got in the car, jumped on a flight, then a train, then rented a car to make sunset at this special place. I sat in the cold sand dunes, in the rain, with massive winds blowing in my face, freezing, thinking, This is everything. I was so excited, not just at the fact that I was shooting an all-time swell, but also the adventure it took me to get there. It was invigorating.”


“My favorite thing to shoot is traditional logging. It’s the style that draws me in. Style is something that is so personal. Style can’t be taught, only mimicked. Like DNA, it’s unique to every person. I also have a fashion background, so that might come into play a little. Style is just as important in the water as it is out. It’s genderless and ageless. You don’t lose it; it just changes.” 


“With my photography I’m trying to capture a pure candid moment that no one else can see. A personality. Soul surfing is just that. Non-pretentious and original. Nothing posed. Just pure style.”


Check out Andrea’s work at @andreacolemanphoto.