FIJI’S UNCROWDED CORAL COAST HOSTS A SURF PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS.
Surf photographers lead a pretty glamourous life. They live like modern-day gypsies, chasing epic swells around the globe and hanging with the world’s best surfers. Their passports are littered with exotic stamps, their Instagram accounts heavy with engaged followers and they seem to have connections wherever they go. If they’re good – and they must be – their carefully composed photographs tell beautiful lies. They don’t show the closeouts, the rips, the rubbish or the crowds. They only show paradise. There’s magic in capturing perfection in a plastic box but to succeed you need more than technical chops and an artistic eye.
Russell Ord has been in the game for a good while now. The Margaret River-based shooter has made his name via the hardest route possible - by becoming the first human to shoot inside the barrel at The Right. That one photograph
of Mark Mathews (Tracks cover, issue 540) was the result of years of training and planning. Shooting with a fish-eye lens in threatening surf is what Ord is best known for, but he does it all: lifestyle, editorial, commercial, fashion, weddings. His most recent project is about sharing knowledge and nurturing the next generation of surf photographers via the Vagabond photographic collective.
Instead of doing a workshop in a big sterile city Russell decided it would be a lot more awesome to take students to tropical Fiji for an immersive experience with pro surfers and pumping waves. Vagabond lined up three budding photographers and two pro surfers, Chippa Wilson and Asher Wales, and booked them all into Matanivusi, a brilliant eco surf resort on Fiji’s Coral Coast. A magical swell arrived right on cue and the Fijian branch of Russel Ord school of surf photography was officially under way.
Chippa Wilson dragging a hand through a Fijian kaleidoscope..