Ray Collins: water marvel
Ray Collins is a talented Australian photographer/surfer who perfected through the years a unique and original style, based on the shapes of the waves of the Ocean. Using fast shutter time and enhancing the colors of the water and sky, Ray composes images that seem like “moving sculptures”, photos with a lot of grace and energy.
We had the pleasure to interview him and let him tell us about his extraordinary work. Here’s what he told us!
Home, Thirroul NSW, Australia.
Genesis by Sebastião Salgado
Anything by Tarantino, maybe Reservoir Dogs or Django
The best day of your life:
I’ve had a few when i’ve said out loud ‘This is the best day of my life’ i’m not sure if they keep getting better or if I’m just an excited little kid still!
It hasn’t happened yet, but it will be when my dog moves on to her next journey.
Walk, and the ground will appear under your foot.
What gave you the idea of the unique photos you shoot?
The Ocean has been the one single constant in my life. I have gone through so many changes and seasons – ups and downs and the ocean has always been the same, I know it like a friend and teacher. It was only natural that I document it.
When did you realize that photography would become your life?
When I had no more time for my other job anymore. I was always hesitant about leaving a regular wage behind, but it’s empowering to let go and grow!
We imagine your work brought you in several places around the world. How many did you visit by now?
I’ve been fortunate enough to fill a few passports now, I’ve been to some of the coldest oceans in the world to shoot in the arctic circle, and some of the warmest on 0’ of the equator and everything in between. It is an ever expanding journey.
Did you ever take risks in order to take a picture?
Every time I go into my studio in the ocean i’m at risk. The walls of my office are constantly crashing down, the floor or reef is sharp and shallow.
They are calculated risks though, from 30 years of experience.
Can you tell us something about your photographic technique?
Swim out before the sun, let the light be your guide.
Your style is strongly bounded to the sea, its waves, its people… Do you ever happen to take pictures in other environments (or you’d like to)?
I’ve shot weddings, modeling campaigns, portraiture for magazines in the past but i’m fortunate enough to just shoot the subject I love for my work. I still have to pinch myself!!
How is your typical working day like?
Checking forecasts, swells, wind, weather, tide to plan where I will be shooting. Get to the location (fly, drive, swim) etc. Do the best I can do, drink coffee. Edit images, emails, emails, emails. Licensing enquiries, swim or ride my bike, maybe shoot again, hang with my dog, have dinner with my wife if i’m home.
What is your next project?
I’ve just finished up a 3 year project with my newest book ‘Water & Light’ i’m still taking stock of that and starting to crawl again to the next thing.
We imagine you are a really good surfer. Do you see yourself more as a surfer or a photographer?
I would consider myself an ocean enthusiast, It doesn’t matter what kind of surf craft i’m riding or if I’m swimming or shooting, just being in and around the water always feels like home.
The world of photography is constantly growing. It’s more and more difficult to find a personal style; you did it in a great way. What do you think about the future of photography, and what suggestions would you like to give to the young photographers?
Shoot what YOU want to see, not what you think others might want to see. Don’t sway with trends on social media. Conceive and create.
All images © Ray Collins