Bradley Masters is a surf photographer based in Bali with his wife Morgan and son Kai. He knows Indo as well as anyone and has spent countless hours under tropical skies honing his craft. The results show in images that are impeccably timed and buzzing with life, from gaping barrels to coral gardens.
We caught up with Bradley to chat about surfing, life and his dream surf trip.
Hi Brad, how and where are you today?
I’ve been located in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia for over seven years now, however I am constantly chasing swells around the world.
Have you had any good sessions lately?
My last good session was with Mikala Jones doing step-offs at an empty beach break in Java. The last remarkable session that I shot was two weeks ago on an island off Sumatra.
Your images have a real cinematic feel and a great sense of timing. How did you develop this style and do you consciously compose each image or does it all happen free-flow in the moment?
I have a long background of surfing, which has shaped the way I capture each image. When shooting from the land I usually shoot pulled back, but when I’m in the water I prefer to be up close and personal. This style of photography works well with the specific surfers I work with.
Tell us about life in Bali… How do the coastline, conditions and people there inspire your creativity?
Bali is the island of Gods. It’s an interesting playground for any photographer; the culture in itself provides countless shots everyday. The surf is pretty damn consistent. Bali’s luminousity is magical and captures every moment in a unique way unmatched elsewhere.
Seeing as you already live in a place that is most people’s dream surf trip… what would be your dream surf trip and who would be there?
I love a good old fashioned road trip with my closest mates. Ideally in Africa, searching for uncharted territory. I stick to my roots, good mates, good waves, good times. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
What’s your favourite book and movie?
I’ve always been a big Wilbur Smith fan so I just finished his latest, this all-time African adventure tale. As for movies, you can’t beat Wolf of Wall Street. Guy’s a legend.
If you had never discovered the ocean what would Bradley Masters be doing now?
What is life without the ocean?
Do you take breaks from surf photography or is your camera part of you? How do you unwind?
I live in Bali and generally don’t shoot photos there. I unwind daily at my local watering hole with Bintangs and hanging with my grom Kai.
What’s the biggest challenge in being a surf photographer?
At the moment, the market in my career is flooded with young blokes who haven’t put in the time, and lack respect for the legends they are shooting. They will realise one day that undercutting the industry rates will eventually eventually bite them in the ass as well.
You are a real inspiration for many creative people out in the world. Do you have any words of wisdom for someone hoping to make a career of a creative passion?
Success doesn’t fall into your lap. You can make anything happen.
Thanks so much for your time… how can people connect with you to find out more?