Surf & Cult Interview

After my Magic Bus feature (below), I was contacted by a nice Brazilian named Luciano Burin of the Brazilian website, Surf & Cult. He asked if I'd be interested in being featured on their site and asked me to answer a few questions. Since the blog is in Portuguese, here's the interview.


1 - Where are you from, how old are you and where do you live at the moment?

I am 30 years old from the west coast of the united states.

2 - What are your most memorable surf/photo sessions?

I recently took a trip with Raph and Sepp Bruhwiler (two amazing Canadian pros) and that was my first trip with professional surfers. It's so amazing to watch guys surf that are on that level. Even though I also love to surf and often times wish I was in the water as well, it's a great learning experience not only to shoot surfers of that caliber, but to learn from their surfing. Another memorable photo session was at a long right-hander in Hawai'i. It was sunset and guys were getting these long, perfect, little head-high barrels. I was there visiting family and just happened to head up that way with my girlfriend. We were stoked to see the locals putting on a show for the two of us.

3 - In your opinion, what makes a great surf photograph?

A great surf photograph is entirely subjective. However, to me, a great surf photograph is when you capture the precise moment that the surfer puts it all on the line. And that doesn't necessarily mean throwing a huge tail blast or air. It can be something as simple as a surfer hanging ten on a little peeler or somebody getting tubed on an alaia. Also, borrowing words of wisdom from my friend and mentor, Chris Burkard, a great surf photo is timeless and free of sponsor logos, identity and corporate influence. A silhouette of a round house at sunset, or something like that. Another type of shot that I enjoy is the pulled back perspective. I love it when the surfer is the smallest subject in the image; a little human in a big world.

4 - Who are your main references in surf photography?

As mentioned, Chris Burkard has been my friend and mentor for the last few years. He would downplay his role in shaping my career, but that's just his style. Also, Jeremy Koreski and Peter Taras have been huge influences and given tons of support and encouragement.. My hats off and eternal thanks to those guys. They are all three phenomenal photographers and the best guys around. Also, as far as styles and what not, I think Morgan Maassen is absolutely killing it right now. He has a unique eye. I also really look up to East Coast photographers Nick LaVecchia and Brian Nevins. I think those guys take unreal shots and are simply passionate about photography. Yazzy is unreal too. He travels to all of these un-surfed arctic zones and comes back with the most amazing shots. Ok. I'm rambling, but I could go on and on: D.Hump, Jeff Divine, Nate Lawrence. I could literally go on all day. The talent pool in surf photography is unreal. 

5 - In what countries have you done surf/photo trips so far? Have you ever shot in Brazil?

I haven't traveled to shoot and surf as much as I'd like, but that will change soon I hope. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Hawai'i. But I'm dying to go to Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Alaska, just anywhere desolate and frigid. I've done numerous trips covering the entire west-coast though. From Vancouver Island all the way down to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Taking off in my truck and just going is something I live for. 

6 - Tell us a bit about your passion for german cars?

Cars, cars, cars. My guilty pleasure. I grew up in a "car guy" family and followed suit. I had no choice and I'm glad that I didn't. It sounds weird and kinda foofy or whatever, but German cars -- specifically Porsche, BMW, Audi -- are truly beautiful to me. From the lines of the car all the way down to the welding of the frame, I find them fascinating. So, it only seemed natural to photograph those as well. It's a nice break from surf photography too. I usually don't get paid to shoot cars, but that's destined to come some day. I mainly shoot them strictly for the love of the car. Plain and simple. 

7 - What does surfing represent in your life?

Surfing represents freedom. To be able to live the surfer lifestyle takes dedication that a lot of people couldn't muster. It's a lifestyle void of rules and regulation, but one full of life experience and happiness. Even though I'm not the drop-everything-go-live-in-a-bus surfer, I still feel like a bit of a gypsy and get joy out of trying to live the simple life with my girlfriend, friends, cameras and surfboards.

8 - What are your future plans regarding surfing and photography?

My future plans are just to keep on this path and continue doing what I'm doing. I'd really like to make a name for myself and start to do some trips with pro surfers. I'm still learning every time I go shoot, but the momentum I have with my career as a surf photographer is going strong and as long as I keep moving forward, I'm destined for good things. I'd really like to go up to Canada to shoot the Bruhwilers, Noah Coen and Pete Devries. All of those guys rip. And there is a lot of talent down in Santa Cruz that I'd like to tap into. I really enjoy the surfers that are as passionate about cold water as I am. It's so nice to work with like-minded people. That being said, I'd love to come to Brazil and shoot as well as El Salvador and Nicaragua. Also, there is a lot of hardcore localism and an anti-picture mentality where I'm from so it would be nice to leave home alone for a while and go shoot a bunch of other places. I've got a lot of people pissed at me for shooting in my own backyard, but as long as I'm here building a portfolio, I have to work with with I've got. I'd also like to shoot in the water a lot more, but where I live we don't have a lot of good waves and even when it turns on there's a ton of current and the waves still don't throw top to bottom. So I'm looking forward to heading down south or up north or wherever to shoot some barrel shots. I've also been shooting a ton of film lately. I have a vintage 35mm camera and have been experimenting with all kinds of film. I fell in love with analog photography years ago and it has been so nice and rewarding to revisit it. I doubt if I'd ever use film for a job, but for personal stuff, there's nothing better.


  1. Interesting interview.We came to know about the water surfing.There are many places to surf on this planet.Great reply by the professional surfers.Surfing itself represent freedom to move and endless fun and exciting things to do and see.

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