Surfing World - - Introduction - By Vaughan Blakey

Wade Goodall reck­ons if all the surf pho­tog­ra­phers in the world lined up for a 100 me­ter race Duncan Macfarlane would win easy.

So says Earth trav­eller and freesurf­board-rid­ing afi­cionado Wade Goodall of his friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor Duncan Macfarlane. The two met on a Surf­ing World trip to An­gourie five years ago dur­ing the mak­ing of Good­sie's dig­i­tal we­bisode master­piece Cre­ative De­struc­tion, Dunc as the as­pir­ing pho­tog­ra­pher, Wade as his shin­ing muse. The bond was in­stant and lasting. “As a hu­man, Dunc's qui­etly con­fi­dent and he backs him­self to get the job done. He wants to shoot well be­cause he knows he can and work­ing with some­one who has that at­ti­tude is bet­ter than good. It's the best," says Wade.

Duncan grew up in the quiet Far North NSW coastal vil­lage of Sawtell and had dreams of tak­ing out first prize at the town's an­nual Chilli Fes­ti­val un­til pho­tog­ra­phy came call­ing. As Goodall ex­plains, “He has a unique un­der­stand­ing of com­po­si­tion and he blends a lot of land­scape and en­vi­ron­ment into the ac­tion he shoots. He was onto that very early and that's why his ca­reer snow­balled and he got so much work. I think his un­der­stand­ing of light is up there with the very best. It’s un­usual to see some­one de­ve­l­ope such sig­na­ture style so quickly.”

Wade be­lieves Dunc (now 25) is just get­ting started and be­lieves he has the tem­per­a­ment and at­ti­tude to be­come one of the great lens­men of surf. “He's al­ways look­ing at ways to im­prove and for new in­spi­ra­tion. He seems like he's cruis­ing but he's onto it. And you know he'll suc­ceed be­cause he's one of those guys who's good at ev­ery­thing. He'll pick up a banjo and fire off some hill­billy lead break and he has the sick­est Larry on him too. He surfs as good as a lot of the guys he shoots.”

Tal­ent, work ethic, a promis­ing fu­ture and a mean fa­cial rug. Is there no kink in this young man’s ar­mour? I’m just glad he has a beard,” says Wade. “Be­cause he’s good look­ing too and when he shaves it makes us all feel bad.”

One thing I know about Duncan is he's faster than he looks. He's one of the fastest run­ners I've seen."

SW: Dunc, tell us a bit about where you grew up. Sawtell right? What’s Sawtell’s big claim to fame? DM: Yeah man. I was born in Perth, moved to Syd­ney, did some time in Africa and the log­i­cal step af­ter that was ob­vi­ously Sawtell. That was all by age 10. Claim to fame? Ah… it’s got a pretty rad main street with some mas­sive fig trees through it and a bunch of good cafes, restau­rants and bars. It’s pretty sleepy though.

Tell us about your first camera? Chrissy pressie? You steal it out of your Mum’s bag? I bought an Old Nikonos V off Ebay for a few hun­dred bucks. I still have a photo off the first roll of film I ever shot on it. It’s one of those wa­ter proof cam­eras that don’t need a hous­ing. I loaded the film and went out with it just froth­ing out of my grom­met mind. The surf was so good too. Lit­tle slabby wedges in this cor­ner. I was think­ing I’d get cov­ers for sure, but I didn’t load the film right and I ex­posed the same frame 24 times. So one frame was burnt to hell and the rest were un­ex­posed. It’s hi­lar­i­ous. I ended up flood­ing that camera be­cause I didn’t have any clue about wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy and paint­ing wa­ter tight seals. Such an id­iot, it was the best camera, now it’s a full time pa­per weight in my of­fice.

Did you study pho­tog­ra­phy at school? Pash any girls in the dark room? I wish. Nah, I didn’t study it at school, I wish I did. I just shot my mates and went from there. Af­ter school I trav­elled and shot for a year or so, then went to the Goldy to study pho­tog­ra­phy at Uni but didn’t last long there. I dropped out af­ter two weeks to shoot more pho­tos.

When did you be­gin to feel pho­tog­ra­phy turn from a hobby into a pas­sion. What was the ex­act mo­ment? It was when­ever I’d get rolls of film I’d shot on those wa­ter­proof dis­pos­able cam­eras back from the chemist.see­ing what you missed and what you nailed. No bet­ter feel­ing.

When did get your first shot pub­lished? It was a spread of Ozzie that I shot at Canggu the year af­ter I fin­ished school. There’s all these In­done­sians crowd­ing around this nearly drowned Ger­man lady in the fore­ground on the beach and Ozzie’s in the back­ground do­ing a steezy lit­tle dou­ble grab. I wrote a 500 word story on it too.

It was a rapid rise for you af­ter that, how quickly did your life change? I wouldn’t say it was all that rapid… First shot I had pub­lished was the year af­ter I fin­ished school. I was still work­ing as a re­cep­tion­ist at the school. It was a pretty dumb move. Spend­ing 12 years try­ing to get out of school then go­ing back to work there. So I got a cou­ple of shots pub­lished that year, went trav­el­ling the next year solo, then the fol­low­ing year went to the Goldy to go to uni and dropped out af­ter two weeks to chase surf pho­tog­ra­phy. Spent a cou­ple of years flap­ping around get­ting the odd lit­tle job and started shoot­ing with Wade Goodall and that led me to Bil­l­abong which lead me to Surf­ing Mag­a­zine. From, there though things started mov­ing very quickly.

What gear do you use now? 80 per cent Nikon. 10 per cent iphone. 5 per cent Le­ica film camera. 5 per cent Canon point and shoot.

Ev­ery­one is a pho­tog­ra­pher now but what’s the se­cret to de­vel­op­ing your own style and stand­ing out? It’s all about the In­sta­gram fil­ters. Top se­cret post pro­duc­tion tech­niques. Nah, I love go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to what other peo­ple are do­ing. I mean, shit, I I don’t do that a lot of the time if I’m work­ing for a client, but I swear that when­ever I do it will re­sult in some­thing that I’m per­son­ally stoked on. Do­ing what­ever you’re stoked on no mat­ter how shit ev­ery­one else thinks it is... That’s the way to go.

Who are your favourite pho­togs right now? Oh man, there’re so many good­ies. Corey Wil­son is the best dude and he has been slay­ing it the last few years. Al­ways loved Trent Mitchell’s work. Those crazy heavy wa­ter dudes swim­ming in the big stuff like Zak Noyle, Pat Stacy, Brent Biel­mann. Jon Frank’s the best pho­tog­ra­pher too, any­one who reads this mag knows that...

Who do you love shoot­ing? I love shoot­ing my friends and any­one who is psyched to shoot. Wade, Rasta, Creed, Ryan, and Jack Free, who I’ve been shoot­ing since I started.

Are you one of those guys who com­plains about how many pho­togs there are now, or are you down with it? I don’t care bout that shit. I’m do­ing my thing, they’re do­ing theirs ( laughs). Im down with it!

What’s next? Reckon you’ll keep shoot­ing surf­ing for­ever? I’ll keep do­ing this un­til some­one re­alises I’ve got not idea what I’m do­ing or un­til I get re­placed by full time drones pa­trolling the beach. I get paid to travel with my mates, sip beers on the beach and take pho­tos of it all. It’s a joke! A beau­ti­ful joke!

"Do­ing what­ever you're stoked on no mat­ter how shit ev­ery­one else thinks it is...that's the way to go"

Fourth Spread: Ryan Cal­li­nan throw­ing buck­ets in the land where the wild things are. Fifth spread: A lit­tle col­lage of light and colour star­ring Rasta, Shun Man­ners, Creed­ley, Dunc Mcni­col, Bryce Young and Ry Cal. Pre­vi­ous spread: Dane Gu­dauskas tap­ping Agro’s Car­toon Con­nec­tion.

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