Photo and Story by Mat O’Brien
This is Warren Smith in Port Macquarie a while back. I’ve always loved this one because I love street photography, that’s why I started shooting. All of my favourite street photographers shoot 50mm, so I wanted to shoot 50mm in the surf. It’s kind of the first time I’d ever combined my surf and street photography.
We were with Dion Agius and Thom Pringle, I think Warren was living at Dion’s place at the time and Thom and I would do road trips down the coast every week. We found this little beachie that was the perfect set-up to shoot something like this—so many little waves you could hit every time and a good opportunity to try and get down really low. The housing was at water level and I was shooting the people as they were wading out in the water, the only problem was all the parents on the beach were tripping out that there was this weird 6’1” man wading through the shallows with a camera… around children. I had a lifeguard come and scroll through all my photos because there were complaints, which is fair enough, most people would have no idea that people can make a living shooting surf photos.
So on one hand I was there trying to pay homage to my favourite photogs, and on the other I was getting stared at like a total freak. It was fun. Luckily I’m not suss…