Honolulu: Privately Published by the photographer, ca. 1910.
Gurrey is most famous as "the grandfather of surf photography" due to his legendary 1914 "The Surf Riders of Hawaii," the first ever book on surfing that he handmade copies of between 1912 and 1914. The book featured 8 small gelatin silver prints that documented the surf scene in Waikiki, and included the first shots of Duke Kahanamoku surfing. There are only 8 copies of this book in existance and when they surface at auction they sell in the $30,000. range. However, in 1910 Gurrey published another book, "The Idyls of Hawaii," that focused on the unspoiled, tropical paradise that was Hawaii. This photo shows a large palm tree and the ocean in the foreground with the palm-lined beach going off into the distance where we see mountains whose peaks are topped by a layer of clouds. In 1909 Gurrey opened an art gallery in Honolulu that primarily featured his photographs---noteworthy because photography was beyond the purview of most galleries during this period. The gallery struggled until 1923 at which time it was forced to close. Around this period Gurrey's home suffered a fire and a flood that destroyed his photographs and negatives. This photo is indicative of the ones sold at Gurrey's gallery---though this one is much larger than usual measuring 14" x 9.5"---and it still has Gurrey's price tag on back. A lovely shot of this unsullied Garden of Eden shortly after the turn of the century, a wonderful piece of Hawaiiana, and an exceptional example of Gurrey's work. Gurrey's original photos seldom appear on the market---ones of this size, and with his sticker on back, are rare. Tiny chip to top corner not affecting image, couple of pin-head-size nicks to edges, verso toned from age, but presents beautifully overall especially for an item of this vintage.