Steven Lippman is an advertising, lifestyle, and celebrity photographer who is equally skilled at shooting polished, sophisticated imagery as he is capturing the raw, rule-free beauty of surf and skate culture. He has shot campaigns for entertainment companies (Showtime and HBO), banks (Capital One), beauty products (Paul Mitchell and KMS), apparel (Frye, Billabong, James Perse, and JKL, actor Matthew McConaughey’s clothing line), beverages (Coors Light), technology brands (Griffin, Samsung, and Sony), and luxury resorts (Vdara, Baha Mar, Mandalay Bay, and many more), as well as been commissioned by magazines such as Malibu, ESPN The Magazine, and Q. He’s also a versatile director who has directed music videos, viral videos, and commercials. “Directing is a huge part of my arsenal,” he notes.
Born in Los Angeles, Steven grew up surfing and skateboarding, and that lifestyle remains close to his heart. “There were no rules, nothing that came before that you could follow,” he recalls of the 1970s skate and surf culture. “So at a young age, you were forced to go out and create. You just made whatever street corner, parking lot, or empty swimming pool happen.”
Steven’s career as a photographer was inspired by time spent on the other side of the lens: For years, he traveled the world as a successful model and surf/skate competitor, and he eventually began taking photos, avidly documenting his friends and life on the road. When he returned to California, he embraced photography with the same unflagging dedication that he does surfing. “I put my heart and soul into everything I do,” says Steven, whose work has been recognized by American Photo magazine, PDN, and American Photography. “As a baseline, my goal is to deliver what the client has asked for, but I’ll always explore additional creative perspectives they may not have considered.”
Now based in Malibu with his wife and two children, Steven devotes his spare time to the Blue Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve the world’s oceans by combining the efforts of like-minded groups and through education; and A Walk on Water, a nonprofit that provides water therapy through guided surf instruction to special-needs children, where he is a member of the board. He also volunteers his skills to Surfers Healing, which provides autistic children with the opportunity to experience the thrill of surfing. “The disease of autism has a way of imprisoning children inside their own minds. Surfing seems to unlock those doors in a very special way, granting them precious moments of freedom,” he explains. “Twice a year, we take kids surfing for the whole day. It’s the most humbling and emotional thing I’ve ever experienced.”