Once a week, during the duration of our Baby Cobras contest, SURFING will bring you the stories behind each of our senior staff photographers' careers. They all got their foot into the surf industry’s door the old school way, before a contest like Baby Cobras existed (consider yourself lucky).
When I was 12 or so I just picked up one of mom's cameras and started messing around, just dabbling until I was 18 or 19 and that was when I dropped like 10 gees on a 600…then it all just took off from there. I was shooting with all my friends around Seal Beach, because there was a huge talent pool back then. And I was I definitely working hard as a grom — like shooting every morning and every afternoon — but I had fun doing it so it wasn't hard work. But that's what it took. When I was 20 I got on staff at Transworld, but then in 2003 started working for Volcom and freelancing again. That was probably my best year ever 'cause they gave me a lot of opportunities and guys to shoot…f–k, I owe Volcom a lot. Then I got on staff at SURFING in 2007 or 2008 and the rest is history.
If I were to give young shooters advice, I'd say swim. Find some heavy waves and get out there. Pulled back shots are a dime a dozen now. What's gonna separate you is getting in the water and getting that unique perspective that most people can't. Another good tip is to find one really good local surfer, and hang on to that guy. Meet his friends and travel with them and that will open doors. I wouldn't say I'm the best photographer in the world, not by a long shot, but I'm well rounded and my networking skills and knowing all the spots…I don't know, I've got it pretty dialed. It makes all the difference.
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