by Aarin Correa
photos by Jon Mozo
The son of a Navy man, Jon Mozo essentially grew up on the ocean—learning to surf in the cold Atlantic waters of Spain, traveling by train to Japan’s crowded beaches, ruling vacant Philippine swells with his three brothers. But nine years ago, his seemingly unbreakable bond with the water was severely challenged when, thirty minutes into a perfect session at Oahu’s Goat Island, Mozo was attacked by a shark.
After 100 stitches to his feet, the recent husband and father spent two months in a wheelchair. "I had a lot of time to think," says Mozo. At that point, he had been working in a photo lab for almost four years and was exploring his own photography, but wasn’t sure what to do with his talent. After the attack, he left for the Mainland to get serious, focusing on fashion and portraiture before returning to Hawaii in 1996 to open his own business.
Wedding gigs and product shots allowed Mozo to pursue his passion: surf photography. A jigsaw puzzle of conditions must be perfect before Mozo hits the water with his camera, and after three hours of treading water, he might get one "gem" out of the entire roll—say an inside shot of an empty tube in Hawaii or Tahiti, with the sunlit curl caught at full arch, the reef visible just beneath the surface and a glimpse of green cliffs through the spray. "Each shot is like a piece of me," he says.
More than fifty such images are displayed at Mozo’s recently opened gallery in Haleiwa, including some presented as giclées (prints on canvas), a technique he’s pioneered in the surf photography world.
Jon Mozo Gallery