Midwest meets the surf culture - Cory Patterson

I found his work on Instagram. I would say that I am grateful I found out about him, thanks to all these social media. His work stands out from the crowd even though the competition can be rude in California, but as he explained to me, ‘’I could really care less because me and you could have an object in front of us and take a photograph, we will have two totally different images. I would respect both of them for what they are’’.
His way of thinking about art itself and where he finds his inspirations is intriguing, but that’s what bring his different contents. Just walking in the street will influence him on his future shoots and not every surf photographers works that way. After spending the summer looking at his art, I can say that I never been disappointed: he brings up what you want to see and even more. He captures the beauty of the sea and the surfers that follows the waves.

-How did you start taking pictures? This is not something you learn at school!

I started taking pictures back in high school actually! I met that guy back in Michigan that was in a surf family and I fell into surfing. Then from there, it has just become part of my photography. As a photographer, I feel you need to photograph what you are in love with and for me, that’s where I am. Just to get in the water as a surfer and to actually do some shooting and being aware to share that with other people, that’s what you are trying to do. Show the world the way you see it. That was my drive really.

-Were you thinking you would do that as a career while growing up?

Honestly, I don’t really consider it a career. You know what I mean, I just kind of do it!

-Are you doing this full time or no?

Yes, I do photography full time.

-So yeah, it’s kind of a career, even if you don’t see it that way.

Yea, I guess!

-Are you from LA?

I am not, I am originally from Michigan. In the Midwest. I was between Michigan and Florida until 2005 when I moved to LA. In Michigan, I screwed up. That’s where I was born. I was between these two places my whole life and I moved out when I was 17 years old. Back in the days in Michigan, it was more skim boarding than surfing. To surf is more accesibile while being in California.

-Do you think it’s challenging these days to be a photographer as everyone are trying to make their place out there? With Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Yea, digital world is dominant and it started happening. I learned back when we were still doing film, it’s definitely something to learn in the industry for sure. It doesn’t make it hard for me to be a photographer because it just happens.

-Are you trying to be more creative in a way to be different than others?

Honestly, I just shoot what I see. I look at people and I get influenced by a lot of things, art too. I’ve been looking at a drawing that my buddy had, from some other sketches I’ve seen too and it can easily influence my art. Even having a conversation with a homeless man can give me inspiration to shoot something. I know it sounds really weird, but it’s kind of how I shoot.

-Is there a particular company you would love to work with?

Honestly, not really. I would rather get paid to travel and be like a free surfer. That’s what I would love to do with my photography. I rather just do it for me and not any company. If they want some work because they like Cory Patterson Photography’s style, then I am stoked!

-And if we talk about surfers, would you love to shoot someone in particular?

Right now, my favourite surfer is Tylor Crawford and I am not going to lie about that, he is my favourite! He’s so explosive and not a lot of people know about him. Then, the next person I would like to shoot would be Carlos Munoz, just amazing. He is one of my favourite surfer. That would be the dream session!

-Is there some work you did that you are really proud of?

Yes, I mean, as far as I do, I have ten million favourite, but there is a special moment that stays in my mind.

I was coming back from a trip from Thailand and I haven’t really surfed during the season.  I come home and I find out that my wife is pregnant, that I and she were having a baby boy. Well, I didn’t know the sex at the time, and then, we had the biggest swell that we ever had that day in LA. I went out the next day and it was like Pipes at Zuma Beach! It was probably one of my favourite sessions, it holds a lot of emotional memories for me. I was out there shooting with Reef McIntosh and he was the only other guy out there, so he owns it. It was such a magical day. That was one my favourite session to shoot because I don’t know, thank you so much mother nature you just gave me a child and look at these waves.

-What are you currently working on right now?

I have a couple things going on, but right now I am just trying to fill my portfolio as much as possible. I have a book that I am working on. I’ve been working on for a while with a guy from New York and I really enjoy his art, so we have been working together, but it has been a slow process and yea, beyond that I really just shoot for myself right now. No big projects, just some travel coming up.

-Are you planning to stay in Los Angeles forever? Waves are always good in California you know!

Should I…

Should I say…?

Last August 19th I moved to Nicaragua! I am no longer in Los Angeles.

-Nicaragua! What do you like about that place?

The waves, the cultures and just to go somewhere different for a while. I’ve been out there for a few times and the waves are the best. It’s the hot spot right now. My family will meet me out there in a few weeks because my little guy is only 3 months so we just received some of his ID but I will go early to set up. We are looking for a house. Right now there is some stuff we are working on, we were thinking of starting a bed and breakfast, have a few people here involved. We need to see how it goes first. 

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