Portfolio: Allan Margolis

Margolis photo by Roger Scruggs

Allan Margolis, one of the most prolific and talented Florida and East Coast photographers, passed away last year while surfing at Ft. Pierce Inlet. Margolis got his start publishing his photos in  the California based Surfing Magazine as a contributing photographer. He then appeared in a single issue of Surfin” East Magazine in 1975  as the primary photographer and later became the photo editor and contributor to Surf Magazine, a publication started by Margolis and his good friend Mike Mann.

As reported by former Surfing Magazine editor Doug Fiske on the Florida Surf Museum’s website: “Floridians Mike Mann and Allan Margolis launched Surf magazine as a quarterly in winter 1977. Mann had been a surf shop owner, and Margolis was a surf photographer, known for shooting razor-sharp surf photos with a hand-held Century 650mm lens. Other photographers relied on tripods. Mann was publisher and editor of Surf, while Margolis was photo editor. Back in the days when color surfing photos were 35mm slides, Margolis developed a clever technique to impress surfing magazine editors. After tightly editing his stacks of slides down to only good shots, he inserted them in transparent plastic sleeves that were three-hole punched and sized to fit in a looseleaf notebook. Each sleeve held 20 photos in five rows of four slides each. Margolis always put his very best shots in the upper left slots of the sleeves, knowing the editors would look there first. Seeing those dynamite shots first tilted the editors to favor and use more of Margolis’ shots than otherwise might have been the case… 

Unfortunately all of Allan’s photos were destroyed in a house fire. This collection of photos is an attempt to showcase Alan’s photographs that appeared in those magazines. The images were scanned from the  collection at the Florida Surf Museum including Surfin’ East Magazine, Surf Magazine and  Surfing Magazine. We hope that this will showcase Allan’s talents and preserve his legacy for everyone to enjoy.











  • He was as certainly one of the best. And from my area as well. Sad loss. He passed doing what we all love.

    Frederick Schilling1 August, 2020
  • Photo of Alan with Beaulieu movie camera by @ROGER SCRUGGS.

    ROGER P SCRUGGS1 August, 2020
  • Interesting and well written story about Alan Margolis.
    Trying to make a living as a surf photographer is a hard way to go.
    You called him prolific, from what I read and photo’s that’s an understatement.
    I’m sorry we had to lose him.

    kevin white26 January, 2021

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