Meet photographer and nurse Anrielle Hunt, who’s from the epicentre of surfing hipness
‘Welcome to Byron Bay – cheer up, slow down and chill out.’ This is the first thing you’ll read when you arrive in the town where I was born and raised. I completed my education here, after which I went on to study a Bachelor of Nursing at university. Why nursing? Why not a surf instructor or a professional busker? I grew up travelling the world with my mother, and decided from a young age that I wanted to have a career in which I could experience constant change, earn a decent income and something in demand enough that I could travel, cultivate my passions and – above all else – surf without sacrificing my lifestyle.
Surfing and art have always been a significant part of my life. Surfing became an unwavering part of my life; all my life choices became focussed around places where I could surf. I find surfing awe inspiring at times: the way we move, the way the ocean moves and the colours of the sky at sunset. Art is all around us when we’re out in the elements.
Photography always stood out to me, particularly film photography; the ability to capture a smile, a laugh or a look in the eye. You have to be patient to wait for those moments, but when you catch them the outcome is that much sweeter.
My earliest memory of my father is of him holding me on his hip walking out into what felt
like a big, angry sea. He taught me how to read the ocean without fear. To simply know that as long as you can find the sand you will always find the surface. We would wake up at 5:30am most mornings and cultivate a deep love of surfing. There’s nothing quite like looking out to the horizon and feeling the stillness in your bones.
As we get older we seem to go through many different stages. At one point I was in a stage where I felt stuck and uninspired. I didn’t come from an upbringing that encouraged creative risk, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a very positive relationship, and my partner encouraged me to think big. He challenged me on what I would do if I could do anything, and I replied, “I would be in the ocean documenting moments in time”. I bought a waterproof 35mm film camera and 20 rolls of film on the spot.
Then came the transition of taking photos from the land to the ocean. It’s significantly more challenging when you’re trying to swim in the right spot, dodge rogue boards and surfers, predict the ocean and surfers’ movements, frame the shot and take the photo at the perfect moment.
Being able to document moments that capture a feeling is such a privilege. I love to photograph real women who live and breathe the ocean. If the surf is fun I will drop the camera, but I am often just as satisfied being in the ocean surfing or shooting. Saltwater medicine is the best medicine. There’s nothing I haven’t been able to figure out one way or another in the big blue.
Follow Anrielle on Instagram: anriellehunt
Myself and my floral anthropological sea queen Lucy Small @saltwaterpilgrim in our favourite swimsuits ever @tallpoppy.surf
Graceful 10 - Karina Rosunk.