1. Hey Christa! How’s your day going?
Hi! My day has been excellent. It’s a keeper day. I shot spearfishing photos with Flynn Novak for about 5 hours. He gave me a ton of fish, I cleaned them at the beach, and then I ran into a friend who gave me a bushel of veggies from her garden. Fish and photos were shot, the fridge is full, life’s good.
2. What’s the biggest challenge in being a surf photographer?
Having your work published in the digital age. The market is saturated with a ton of high-quality content, and while social media is great for exposure it can be a double-edged sword. It’s given me a platform to showcase my work, but the dwindling relevance of print is making it harder to earn an actual living. A photo that took time and energy to create is swiped through with quick and careless abandon, the viewer moving on in search of an ever more euphoric experience. I think holding an image in your hands, a magazine, a coffee table book, has a much more significant and impactful influence.
3. Who in the photography world inspire you?
Margaret Bourke-White. Her work is honest and raw. The enlargers we used in my high-school photography course were named after renowned photographers. I always ended up spending time with her. In surfing, Sean Davey and Art Brewer. Both have distinct work that I find myself going back to look at over and over again.
4. Favorite piece of camera gear?
A tie between my surf housing (SPL) and dive housing (Nauticam). Both mean I’m taking my camera into the ocean. I love shooting surfing and diving.
5. Where is your favourite place to shoot surf and why?
Pipeline. When all the elements come together and you’re in the right place with the right rhythm it’s all at once terrifying, blissful, and cathartic. Even on perfect days she’s unpredictable because the waves don’t break in the same section of the reef or in the same way every time. It’s a challenge, a constantly changing environment with endless variety, tension, fear, and excitement which makes getting the shot so much more satisfying. And imperfect days have moments of brilliance too.
6. Beyond photography, what are your other passions?
Swimming and free diving. I was a competitive swimmer growing up and swimming laps is still how I turn off my thoughts. I also started learning how to three prong this summer. I have a hard time being a beginner at anything, so the challenge posed by trying to spear fish at very close range has helped me with accepting failure. Learning from missed opportunities, and moving forward with that knowledge is key to success in anything not just getting a few fish for dinner.