Sean Davey surf photographer from Australia picking up a Kodak 126 Instamatic camera after school one afternoon in late October of 1977, to photograph a tiny perfect wave at his home beach. Now Sean Davey has become one of the biggest names in surf photography, a craft that has become a lifelong obsession that has taken him all over the world!
I’m pretty much just outright inspired by Nature and great light. I just really took to photography as a teen and it’s remained a major driving force throughout my life so far. I do it because it’s my creative outlet as well as my livelihood. It’s so much more about being my creative outlet though.
I was a photographer for surf magazines all over the world for a couple of decades and was only really required to shoot mainly surf images to make a living, but I always seeked more than just documenting the sport. I’ve always had that inner desire to create in an artistic way, especially seeking out extraordinary light.
The magazine gig pretty much faded away due to the surf industry not valuing the calibre and experience of the photographers that they had, instead opting for cheaper less experienced shooters. I saw it coming years back and moved entirely over to my passion of creating artistic images and now I make a living from creating and marketing my own art canvas and prints.
I’ve noticed that all the most successful photographers usually have some kind of niche. In my case, it’s all about the light that I shoot. I have a very strong preference for low angled light that affords me so many more opportunities with shadows, silhouettes and colours.
My favourite project is actually my latest collection, which I called “Shadow Land” I compiled this collection from many cherished images, shot over close to 20 years. The collection centers around shadows and silhouettes. I find that people tend to gravitate towards the images maybe because the images don’t have any identities in them those people can imagine themselves in that scene more.
I’ve been using Canon for over 20 years but I also use a Nikon and couple of pieces of Zeiss glass. Technique has always played a strong part in my work, especially with shooting action. while most photographers like to freeze the action at 1000th of a second of more, I have a preference to pan with the action and create “Speed blurs” at exposures ranging from a 60th right down to a 1/4 of a second. The results are always unique and no matter how many photographers are photographing, I always have unique images. I also am currently using some very advanced landscape techniques on my panoramic photography which frankly would take some explaining. Suffice to say though that the results of these newer techniques have been delivering stellar new imagery. Bottom line id that I’m always on a creative mission. One of my mottos is “Shoot different” and I had that long before Apple ran with their “Think different” moto. 🙁
Favourite Surfer: Flynn Novak, one of the most naturally talented surfers, I’ve ever known.
Favourite Surf Spot: My favourite surf spot is the best place on the day. That could be 10-12 foot Pipeline, 3-4 foot Pupukea sandbar or 30 foot Waimea. They are all favorites when they are happening.
Life Idol: I don’t know that I have one, but I’ve long admired 4 time champion; Mark Richards. The Australian b&w photographer; Max Dupain is quite the inspiration as well as a handful of surf shooters such as Ted Grambeau, Jon Frank and most recently Chris Burkhard.
Favourite thing to do to relax: Swimming in the crystal clear water’s of Hawaii with a camera housing in hand. Just love to do that as well as a good bodysurf in the same crystal clear waters.
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