I’m a little behind on this one, Le Boogie magazine had some cool interviews with the top three photographers of the year, as voted by other photographers, I recommend reading them all but I’ve pulled out my favourite Q&A’s here:
Have the last few weeks been enjoyable?
I’ve been hanging in Ireland with Jake Stone and Cade Sharp. Travelling with those two is pretty much like living in the movie Step Brothers. They’re always hitting each other or playing mind games or just competing non stop. The Irish water was the coldest I’d ever dealt with and the waves were far more abundant and diverse than I ever gave Ireland credit for. I mean, I knew there was some sick waves over here as we all do, but there are hundreds of spots that you would have never heard about. We were wearing multiple wetsuits, gloves, booties and a hood most of the time.
A little taste of winter in Ireland, I always assumed it got pretty cold in much of Australia but I guess 5mm hooded suits aren’t the norm, I’ve been pretty warm in mine this year, even with the freezing wind.
Do you think money comes into it at all and whether or not you’re able to make a living and whether that makes you credible as a photographer?
I don’t think money has anything to do with it. There are professional photographers out there banking hard, and I wouldn’t call them (‘photographers’). They don’t understand visual language; they just shoot and then hope they get a shot. People that understand know how to get a shot every time no matter what and that’s like, depth. Okay there’s something; depth of quality of work. Being able to be put in any position at any time and come through with something that you preconceive in your mind, and then deliver it.
This interview is a bit deeper than the others, and it’s definitely worth a read, I like the idea of being able to get a shot no matter what you’re confronted with, I think he’s missed a step though, not only do you need to be able to get the shot you have conceived every time but you need to first imagine that shot. I’ve been working on visualising the shots I want to get before starting to shoot, it sounds obvious but I like to try and think of three or four specific shots that I want to get, it’s tricky but it’s getting easier and hopefully this will continue until I can do it without thinking, just a few more years of practice to go I imagine.
3: Jem Creswell
Can you explain a little about your photo assisting work in Sydney and how it has helped you progress?
I’d say probably 30-40 per cent of the time I work as what you’d call a photo assistant and the rest of the time I work as the digital operator. Basically I think I’ve just learnt a lot technically. I have a lot sounder understanding of light, both in studio and in the outdoors. I enjoy the studio days because when we’re out doing surfing shoots, you can’t control anything. You’re at the will of the elements. In the studio it’s the opposite to that; you can control everything. I think doing the mix of what I’m doing is one of the things that I enjoy as well. Rather than doing the same thing every day of the week.
This strikes a chord with me as I fairly recently had to take a bunch of product shots in a (mini) studio environment, taking photo’s of inanimate objects is pretty dull but using my camera for a different purpose at least allowed me to get more familiar with the technical aspects, hopefully I can work this into my hobby of surf photography somehow.
Rookie Photographer of the year (under 21):
Let’s talk about your technique.
Composition is one of the main elements that can make or break an image. Positive and negative space can really make a difference by isolating or restricting the subject. The perspective that a photo is taken from is obviously crucial, too. Let’s just put it this way…if you’re a photographer with a housing, you should be shooting in the water whenever you can. I’ve been told so many times that I’m too picky with my photos…I don’t send out a lot of them for publication because I’ve always wanted everything to be perfect.
I admire the get involved attitude and I’m still pretty focused on taking photo’s whenever I can in the water, but I’m not really ready to stop surfing when the waves are good, I’m lucky in a way that I often surf on my own or with one or two other people so I usually get the chance to catch some waves before getting the camera out.
Sending photo’s in for publication is something I’m probably going to try my hand at again, but the majority of the shots I’ve taken are of relatively sensitive spots that I don’t want exposed or of bodyboarders, and with the UK’s only regular bodyboarding publication, ThreeSixty Magazine, shutting down I’ve not got many options for sending them in.