Ethan Okamura – About


Water: Life giving, life affirming, life sustaining, ephemeral, spontaneous, connected, omni-present, foundational, fundamental…

I find that water is immediately accessible and relatable to everyone. It is inherently powerful the way water makes it obvious that each moment you capture is a completely unique event that has never happened before, and will never happen again.

I’ve spent a large portion of my life staring at the ocean – more precisely, the Pacific Ocean off of the Marin County coast. Certain shapes and images eventually become iconic: the silhouette of the Farallon Islands; the Point Reyes Peninsula as viewed from the south and the San Francisco cityscape as viewed from the north; Duxbury Reef at low tide from the cliffs above Agate Beach; the white caps from the northwest trade winds in spring; the sunny, rolling glass of fall; the foreboding giant Aleutian ground swells of winter; the shapes and characteristics of waves over certain oft-visited reefs and beaches depending on tide, sand bar development, wind, and swell factors.

But there are also less obvious images and moments to be appreciated. Perhaps smaller in scale, but happening in countless locations every moment of every second: the way water molecules are connected in foam; the way some waves appear to be molten glass or rolling molasses; the architecture of splashes on Duxbury Reef; the almost psychedelic color array in bubbles. It just takes paying attention and being present, respecting the moment.

These photographs represent my respect for the moment…and for the ocean…and for the elusive ability to simply be present. There’s always something interesting and beautiful going on…


Ethan Okamura was born and raised, and continues to live in the small beach town of Bolinas, California. Bolinas is a hidden gem located along the coast in Marin County; a beautiful and sleepy enclave for artists and nature-lovers. It’s an ideal place that allows Ethan to explore the unique way in which he captures natural beauty through photographic images.

Ethan grew up in an impressive artistic household. His father, Arthur Okamura, was a successful artist (his work is in the permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), and his mother was a very talented classical pianist. The sounds of Scarlatti and Bach and the smell of turpentine were constants throughout his childhood. It was this influence that has guided and continues to drive his artistic endeavors.

Ethan graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a major in Music.