Russell Ord is an award-winning photographer, based in Margaret River (Western Australia) with his wife and three kids. We caught up with him for a quick chat about surf, life and getting really close to big waves.

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Hi Russell, Thanks for catching up with us! How’s life, work and family?

I have been extremely well. Combining work and lifestyle can be difficult to make ends meet at times but we are having a lot of fun along the way. It certainly has given our family life a lot of freedom to explore and enjoy every day as it comes.

Had any good winter sessions of late?

I have just returned from a 34 hour drive return trip from the North West WA, I have done it twice in the last three weeks. The first trip I was there to concentrate on photos and didn’t even take surfboards. The waves were incredible so as soon as I got home I drove straight back up with my son. I couldn’t keep up with his nine hours a day in the water but I certainly had some great waves myself. I barely pressed the trigger on the camera this time around.

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What motivates you to get out there and do what you do?

“my life revolves around that one photo in my head”

I really go through stages of motivation. I have been trying to pursue certain photos in crazy slab waves the last few years and really love the challenges and how my life revolves around that one photo in my head. The downside to this is when I have to shoot the so called “normal” it’s just not as exciting, so I really have to remind myself to create new challenges for these types of days.

Photographing big waves in cold water must be a huge adrenalin rush. Talk us through risk and reward…

You cannot compare the risk to reward because the only reward for me is a personal one. 99% of people – including editors of magazines – wouldn’t have a clue what goes into that very shot and in their defense that same moment in time shot from the safety of the channel looks bigger or better. I have hard drives and slides full of those type of photos, hence why I like to try and swim in those conditions. The risks are huge, its not like one day you wake up and decide to shoot those type of photos. It’s been a slow build up over years: training including breathing courses, safety gear, anything that can help me prepare, I will do it.

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If you could shoot anything with anyone living or not, what would you choose?

I would love to spend months with underwater photographer David Doubilet, learning new skills and then seeing how I could adapt those new found skills to my surf photography.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

I love using the Nikon D4 / 16mm housed by Aquatech because I know I will be very close to the action. I should probably use more of a range at times but the closer the better for me.

Three words to live by?

Challenge
How (not why)
Security (A word I dislike because it holds you back).

love it. All the best, looking forward to catching you again soon.

Find out more about Russell and view his fine art print selection at www.russellord.com.

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