MEN BEHIND THE MAG
A COLUMN TO GIVE A LITTLE LOVE BACK TO THE UNSUNG HEROES THAT PUT THIS MAG TOGETHER.
“I first met Chris Garden in the early 2000’s while shooting on assignment in the deep south. I was still immersed in the medium of film and had to wait weeks till I saw my shots, so when Chris pulled out his digital camera, snapping away with instant gratification I was slightly jealous. He scrolled through a few recent images on his screen that simply blew my mind. At the time the quality was far off that required for publication, but the waves, lineups and composition of his shots were faultless and they were the kind of waves that many only see in their dreams. Chris had taken the digital revolution by the horns and in the coming years as technology grew, so did Chris’s skills behind the lens, to a point that to open an email from him has me excited as to what new angle, spot, or mind blowing wave will open up on my screen.”
- Cory Scott, Editor.
How did you get into photography?
I’ve been taking photos most of my life but being a typically poor teenager of the film era, I could never afford to take as many photos as I would like. Around 2002 however, digital cameras started coming onto the scene, and I was quick to jump on board. Around this time, a few of my mates that I used to go on surf trips with moved away, so I often found myself cruising the coast solo, looking for waves and taking more and more photos. I started getting a few good shots, so saved up my pennies and invested in some decent gear. The rest is history. Shooting surf is obviously a passion of yours. What else do you shoot?
I love shooting landscapes, though never seem to be able to find the time to get amongst it. I travel a fair bit too, so enjoy capturing the amazing scenes and people along the way. The last couple of years I’ve been getting into shooting weddings. Never thought I’d do it but surprisingly it’s heaps of fun. Lots of pressure, and the day is often intense, but it’s rewarding and I get to meet lots of interesting people who are having an epic day. What do you look for when shooting surf or any subject for that matter?
Perfection. In terms of surf that means hollow. I’ve never been interested in shooting fat waves... the bigger and slabbier the better! I also try to give waves a context, using foreground and background not only to frame the wave but also to tell a bit of a story. Broadly speaking, I guess I often find myself looking for strong compositions, bold colours and unique angles. You spend a lot of time shooting from the water in a region that is renowned not only for its frigid waters, but also big fish of the biting kind. Have you had any close calls, or run ins?
Yeah, I guess there’s probably a few big biteys lurking around down here. I’ve seen a couple from land but, fortunately, no close calls in the water... that I know of. To be honest though, I hardly ever give them a thought. When you’re swimming around at a bombie a kilometre offshore, it’s not going to do any good thinking about sharks. Water shooting lends itself to putting you in some dangerous situations. Have you had any near death experiences chasing the perfect shot? Aside from getting cut up on reefs and stuck in nasty currents, I’ve been fairly lucky shooting in the water, touch wood. That said, there have been plenty of hairy moments. Shooting in the water often gives me far more of a rush than riding waves ever did. What inspires you to head out each day, with the challenge of creating something, sometimes in less than inspiring weather conditions?
The search for perfection I guess, both in terms of finding perfect waves and taking great photos. Every photo I’ve ever taken I can pick apart and find ways that it could be better. That’s what’s kept me so obsessed with surf photography - there’s always a better wave that will break, and a new angle to capture it. Shooting surf in the deep south definitely has its added challenges, and if I waited around for good light to coincide with good waves, my camera would sit in its bag most of the time. Down here you have to make the most of whatever the weather throws at you. Regardless of the conditions, there’s always an opportunity for a good shot, and luckily down here the wave quality usually makes up for what the lighting lacks.
Who Inspires you?
Actually, I try not to spend too much time looking at other people’s photos. I’m really keen to let my style develop on its own, and try not to be influenced too much by other photographers. That said, there are a lot of photographers whose work I really like, and too many to single out just a few. In life, people who inspire me are those who are out making the most of every opportunity and enjoying what they do. Nothing is more depressing to me than people who seem stuck in a situation that doesn’t work for them. There’s absolutely no reason why anyone shouldn’t be doing something they enjoy the majority of the time, and it’s never too late to make a change.