How many times have you mind-surfed a photo of a perfect empty wave? Or have been mesmerized by some mutant slab unfolding over nearly bare reef?
Some of the most timeless surf photos don’t have a rider of any sort.
In this version of Photo Credit, we highlight the work of Brandon Sears, who specializes in just that sort of thing.
Brandon was kind enough to share a few words and also some beautiful images for you to let the imagination run wild.
What Youth: How about a few basics. Born and raised?
Brandon Sears: I was born and raised in South Laguna Beach, a.k.a. Solag. It was truly a blessing to be raised there. It introduced me to my first passion, skimboarding.
WY: Currently residing?
BS: Right now, I live in San Clemente.
WY: Jumping in, how did you first get involved in photography?
BS: I got my first stoke for photography about 10 years ago. I was on a skimboard trip down in Cabo with the Exile Skimboard Team. I’d been skimming all day and was beat, so I decided to snag a buddy’s Gopro and get some shots. The shore break in Cabo is some of the biggest I’ve ever been in so I took a few empty wave photos. Later on, chilling in our hotel room I was checking out the shots and that was it, I was hooked. But, I didn’t really start shooting more consistently until I got my own setup about 6 years ago.
WY: You have a solid skimboarding background, is that what got you into ocean-related photography?
BS: Thank you! Yeah I’ve been skimboarding since I was 8 years old, so almost 30 years. Haha, makes me feel old saying that. Skimboarding has definitely contributed to my love for the ocean. I take photos because it’s another way for me to connect with the ocean, especially when the waves are bad for skimboarding. I figure when my body is too wrecked from skimming, I will still be able to take photos.
WY: Any early days surf photogs that influenced you?
BS: There are so many talented photographers out there. I soon realized what caught my eye the most was the more detailed oriented ocean photos from the likes of Lloyd Meudell, Ben Thouard, Ray Collins, Andrew Semark, Sacha Specker, Luke Shadbolt, and Beau Johnston.
WY: We’ve noticed quite a few solid ocean/surf photogs have interacted within your social accounts, do you find pride in that recognition, from those who are now your peers?
BS: Oh for sure I do. I look at their work and it blows my mind the images they create. To have them like my work and leave a comment is rad. Definitely puts a smirk on my face.
WY: Your work has a distinctive feel, are there certain things you are trying capture?
BS: I’ve noticed I really like that moment just before the lip hits the surface of the water. I like capturing the lines that are created as the water gets pulled when a wave builds. Don’t get me wrong, huge barrel shots like Clark Little gets are all time, but I also love that abstract feel that someone like Ray Collins creates.
WY: We ask this of most of our photographer interviews: Do you get into the film thing or are you strictly digital?
BS: My wife went to school for photography when film was more in use. She described her love for the process of developing and printing her own film. For that reason alone, I’d love to try it but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Digital has made things so easy. I do wish I had started before digital blew up so I could have that appreciation for the film process.
WY: We didn’t see a link or other reference to purchasing prints of your work, did we miss something or have you considered that?
BS: At first, I didn’t think I would ever have a website. I just liked shooting and sharing my stuff on Instagram. I’d sell prints here and there if someone hit me up for one. Recently, I’ve had an increased interest in my work so my website is actually in the process of being completed right now.
WY: Any “bucket list” destinations you are looking to in the future?
BS: Oh man, so many amazing places to go. Of course Aus with all those crazy slab spots. I would love to go to Tahiti. I want to expand on my photography so I have plans on heading inland and shooting some more landscape stuff. Places like Joshua Tree, Death Valley, the 4 Corners.
I’m really excited about what’s happening with my photography right now. Things like this, having an interview with What Youth, it’s amazing. I look forward to the future and really appreciate this opportunity.
WY: Cool. Thanks for the words and images. Let us know when you get the site up and we’ll help push it out there.