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Pro-bodyboarder-turned-photographer Todd Glaser got a positive confirmation of his career choice last night when he was announced the recipient of this year's Follow the Light Foundation grant. "I'm speechless," said Glaser before 75 friends, family and admirers of the late photographic legend Larry "Flame" Moore. "Just honored to be up here and to have my work recognized."
Held at the Surfing Heritage Museum in San Clemente, the event awards $5,000 to the up-and-coming photographer who impressed the judges in both his body of work and essay explaining what he'll do with the grant. With more than 60 entries this year, the Surfing Heritage Foundation Photo Committee deliberated long and hard to select a winner from the five finalists. When it came down to it, Glaser eked out a three-point win over fellow finalist Zak Noyle, the equivalent of winning by .10 in a WCT heat. "It was so close between the two," said SURFING photo editor Peter Taras. "Too close for one person to call, really. Which is why we had 10 judges and a point system."
Besides Hawaiian Zak Noyle's inspiring body of work, other finalists included Santa Cruz's Ryan Craig, San Clemente's Shawn Parkin and Florida's Patrick Ruddy. With his grant, Glaser plans to create a traveling art gallery of surf images, start work on a book project on local surfers and donate some of the money to his late friend, Matthew Joyce’s cystic fibrosis foundation. "The most fulfilling thing for me is to dream up an image in my head and go out and make it," he said. "And this grant will help me do that."
This is all in line with why the Follow the Light Foundation came to be in the first place. After SURFING photo editor Larry "Flame" Moore's passing in October 2005, FTL was formed to help keep the Flame legacy alive. Flame had a special gift of teaching young photographers and making them the best they can be, which is why the grant is awarded to a young, inspired photographer on the rise.
Which makes Glaser a perfect fit alongside past winners Chris Burkard and Matt Clark. He's driven, he's gutsy and his passion for surf photography burns on high. Look for his work in the pages of surf magazines worldwide. We're confident you'll be seeing a lot more of it.
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Candy Moore, Celeste Moureaux, Gary Dapelo, the Surfing Heritage Foundation, Nalu's, Vince De La Pena, Aaron Chang, Sam Olson and FTL sponsors SURFING, Hurley, Swell and Surfline.
For more information, go to www.FollowTheLightfFoundation.org