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Legendary Photos: The Stories Behind 7 of Walter Iooss Jr.’s Iconic Images

Sports photographer discusses his classic shots

Malia Jones, 1999

Photo of Malia Jones

This was shot for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. We were on the north shore of Oahu, and they wanted to include a surfer, a female surfer. Malia is a very good surfer and she’s beautiful and we shot her in basically one afternoon with the fill flash on the north shore of Oahu, the epicenter of surfing.

Fortunately, she had a surfboard to use as a prop. It’s not easy to stand out in the middle of nowhere and pose. She was beautiful, but she was an athlete, not a trained model. They know how to move a certain way and I can tell you it’s not easy, even for trained models sometimes.

I was using Canon cameras for most of my work but this image I think I used a Mamiya RZ 6×7 camera. And because the format was larger, the contact sheets were spectacular. You know, I love using digital cameras and it changed the way I shoot, but I sort of miss the rhythm of film, of having to reload or change camera backs.

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