I’ve got to a point where no matter how pristine the water looks or how perfect the waves are, taking photos doesn’t satisfy me as much anymore. I always feel like it could be better, similar to the feeling of catching a wave but missing the barrel section. I get excited at first, but quickly disappointed.
I haven’t been shooting that much lately because of the flat conditions, but my homebreak Kirra on the Gold Coast seemed fun a few weeks ago so I decided to go shoot some of my friends during the sunset. Thrilled at first, I was disillusioned as the sunset wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Once back home, I started adding my double exposure technique to the photos, but I wasn’t fully happy or frothing on them. I needed something better, more unique. There’s so many surf photographers nowadays that it’s become a challenge to find your own style that stands out from the crowd. After almost five years of shooting, researching, practicing and fully committing to my work, I can say that I have succeeded at finding my own style. But it wasn’t an easy thing to find.
Two days before doing my first double exposure images, I was almost ready to give up. I didn’t think I had something unique and I felt like all my photos looked the same as others. But creativity sometimes comes when you’re at your weakest. A few seconds later, I created my first double exposure photographs. I consider the technique unique, but I want to keep experimenting and pushing my personal boundaries.
When I was editing this set of photos from Kirra, the first surf images I’ve taken in four months, I started to think that instead of desperately trying to create from nothing, I could do something about it. What if I added my sunset shots to my surf ones? After playing with the photos for a while, I discovered a second variation to my double exposure images. Similar to the first one, yet so different.
Photography is an up and down process and even though I sometimes have a hard time with it, I continually learn more about the style I want to achieve and what I’m interested in. Now, it feels like the creative process happens when I’m editing the photos—everything comes together so easily when I’m in front of the screen.
There are anxious moments in a photographer’s life, as well as self-doubt, but I love the direction I’m currently heading and the style that I’m creating.