In the Raw

Through the lens of photographer Josiah Patterson, the west side of O‘ahu is laid bare in its rugged beauty.

a rock pool with a hole in the middle

Images by Josiah Patterson

A decade ago, when Josiah Patterson rediscovered his love for photography after a multi-year hiatus, his hometown of Mākaha proved a convenient muse. Elsewhere on the island, O‘ahu’s oceanside vistas are obscured by endless crowds. Here, Patterson’s wife and daughter—his other muses—are often the only figures in the frame.

a mountain with a barbed wire fence
a mountain with a barbed wire fence

In the many sprawling scenes of sand and surf he would go on to capture over the years, it’s clear that Patterson sees the west side’s liminal landscapes with a certain reverence—drawn, still, to its churning waves and limitless blue skies, the imposing silhouette of Mount Kaʻala, Oʻahu’s tallest peak, ever-present overhead.

a rocky cliff with water and mountains in the background
a black and white photo of a beach with trees
a foggy mountain with trees
a person riding a skateboard on a beach
a wave in the ocean with an overlay image of a person swimming underwater