When Ray Collins strolled into the SURFING Magazine offices a few days ago he was jet lagged. Fresh off the jet from Australia, he was wide-eyed and stoked to be here. With a Starbucks mocha in hand he casually met the SURFING staff and perused the walls of iconic imagery on the walls, fully unaware that in 48 hours he'd be handed an award for his photography in the name of Larry "Flame" Moore's which includes a grant for $5,000.
But he did just that. Sitting in a seat in front of legends of photography and surfing that included Aaron Change, Jeff Hall, Evan Slater, Pat O'Connell and Jeff and Ryan Hurley, Ray narrated his slideshow barefoot, with a bottle of Pacifico firmly clasped "in true Aussie fashion," as Aaron Chang put it. Ray was one of five finalists in this year's Follow the Light Foundation and was up against extremely talented photographers Carl Steindler, Patrick Ruddy, Brian Nevins and Myles McGuinness, who all displayed cutting edge and dramatic imagery you'll no doubt be seeing much more of in the future. To see sample of the finalists work, including Ray's entries click here:
"I didn't know Flame personally," Ray said holding the award. "But his work and the people he's influenced have all played an integral role in my photography. Who would have thought Flame's work could reach a little kid in a small town in Australia and inspire me to be here? I'm speechless."
Congratulations to Ray Collins and the rest of the finalists. And always remember "Keep em sharp and keep em bright."
For more information on the Follow the Light Foundation go to http://followthelightfoundation.org/.
Enjoy some of our favorites, no captions needed.