Exploring the unknown, and revealing the truth from what is most often imperceptible.

Behind the Lens

Shibui is a Japanese word that refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. Shibui objects appear to be simple overall, but they include subtle details, such as textures, that balance simplicity with complexity. This balance of simplicity and complexity ensures that one does not tire of a shibui object, but constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauty that cause its aesthetic value to grow over the years.

Mr. Allen has been shooting surf photography since he was in his early teens, shooting both 35mm film stills and Super-8 film reels to splice together. He has been in the ocean every week for the last 40 years either surfing, or shooting photos of the waves. He has a deep understanding of the constantly changing environment of the ocean: swells, tides, wind direction, particulates, and sunlight.

Mr. Allen holds a Master's degree in philosophy and a Certificate in Asian Studies from the California State University at Long Beach. He presented a paper on Taoism at the International Society for Chinese Philosophy conference in Hilo Hawaii. For over a decade, Michael has served as the Volunteer Director of the Pleasure Point Surf Club under the umbrella of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County, and in 2018 he was the recipient of the Santa Cruz Be the Difference award and the Congressional Recognition award for his volunteer work helping the children of the community. He shoots surf photography throughout the season and assembles a Surf Club yearbook each year for the children to serve as a memorabilia piece of a special time in their lives. He is also the author of the nonfiction book Tao of Surfing: Finding Depth at Low Tide. He and his family reside in Santa Cruz, California.

Continuing to Explore

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