Luiz Blanco is a surf photographer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has a philosophical approach to his life of adventure and finds escapism in the surf lifestyle, whether on a deserted beach in Mexico or a megalópole like Rio. He is a master of sunset shots and speed blurs and his images have graced numerous print and web pages. We catch up with Luiz before he heads off to Mexico.
Hi Luiz, where are you right now and what are you working on?
Right now I’m in Rio de Janeiro, where I live. It’s a kind of nice place to live as you can surf and be near the beach – but at the same time it’s a big city, where people work a lot and make big deals. So when I am here I work on some fashion photos and journalism but I try to get to the beach as much as possible, photographing or surfing. I’m always looking to travel and in a few days I’m going to Mexico. These times are much different, when I’m totally focused on surfing shots.
Have you been getting any waves in Rio?
Not that much, some fun ones to surf here on the beach breaks. But I’m looking forward to the last part of the year.
Your photos capture the motion of surfing and its relationship with cities and nature. What attracted you to surf photography?
I think most of all it is the possibility to work with nature. Not only the waves, but the beach scene, the sunlight and all the elements that you deal with. And sometimes, or most of the time, its just you and nature interacting. I try to capture these things in some way, it can be a panoramic view or just a detail. As I’ve always lived in a big city I see surfing as a way to isolate yourself from society and all its rush. I think that’s the main thing about it.
What is your favourite piece of camera gear and why?
To tell the truth I don’t have a favourite. I use Canon for some rational reasons but it’s not that I love it. I love to shoot and have a good reason for it. I could use any gear. I just don’t like things like cell phones with cameras because you take photos without a real reason for it.
where is your favourite place to shoot surf and why?
It’s hard to say because the possibilities are many. Every place has its beauty: you can go to Hawaii and see some fantastic waves just near the beach, you go to Tahiti and you’ll see the prettiest water and some gnarly barrels. If you go to México you’ll see some powerful and perfect waves and even here in Brazil you can see some really unique scenarios with buildings and things like that. And there are many others places but Hawaii, Tahiti and Mexico are special for me.
If you could have an absolute dream session with anyone where would you be and who would be there?
In my dream session I would be surfing uncrowded medium-size Puerto Escondido with many of my good friends. But in a photographic session I think I would love to see Kelly Slater riding perfect, massive Teahupoo in Tahiti. Kelly is the most complete surfer and Teahupoo is the most massive barrel.
Rio is a mindblowing city. Do you have any tips for surfers thinking about visiting Rio and Brazil?
Don’t expect to have the session of your life but you can sure expect some really fun days here. Rio has a lot of things to do and surfing is just a little one. Brazil is a big country so we’ve got a lot of different beaches and cities around the coast. We’ve got places that will remind you of some European beach cities and we’ve got places like Mexico or Indonesia. We’ve even got places like NY or LA. You can do some nice things without spending much money. We’ve got it all – and kind people too. You cannot describe how it is to interact with a Brazilian, you have to feel it.
any words of wisdom for people who dream of being a surf photographer?
I think the words are: don’t have words. If you are doing things for yourself, you are doing art… and if you enjoy doing it, you are doing it the right way. Be realistic with other people and don’t expect too much from them.
Thanks! How can people connect with you and find out more?
Actually I’m not much of a internet guy. Even my website is down and I don’t have Facebook or Instagram. But twice a week I check my email [email protected] and I’m going to spend the next month in Mexico.