D E P O R TAT I O N
They tried to give me a lifetime ban so I could never come back. That’s one thing my lawyer did for me, he got that lifetime ban reduced to 20 years. And that was it. I got deported back to England. I lost everything. I landed in England and had to rebuild myself. But TransWorld stuck by me. They believed in me. They knew that I just needed to get out of England and hit the road full time. So they supported me in getting on the tour, doing a year on the traveling cycle. Every time all the pros and everyone would hit the States, I’d either make a trip or I’d just come to Bali. I’d stay in Bali as long as I could ’cause it was cheap to stay here, there’s always waves here, and there’s always guys coming in and out that I could work with. The first year I stayed in Bali for about three months and it was pretty productive. I always loved Bali every time I’d come here. And it kinda started feeling like this could be home for me.
Bali is a place that attracts a lot of designers. They’ll come out here and live as cheap as they can, develop their clothing range, send it out to agents. So four times a year you’ve got all these small designers that want to shoot lookbooks to send to agents to sell their lines. I met a couple of these designers and got a few opportunities shooting lookbooks, which was completely new for me. I had a little bit of experience with lighting from doing some of the portraiture in surf. So I just kinda took that knowledge, got myself some lights over here, and just started doing lookbooks. It was scary at first. You see how hard they’re working on their lines and how much they believe in it. So when they give you that responsibility to photograph it and you’ve never really done that before, it’s kind of scary. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I started studying the ads in magazines like Vogue and GQ that I never really had any interest in before. I’d never really called myself a fashion photographer. But it definitely helped me grow as a portrait photographer. And now I know a lot of different kind of lighting styles. I have the confidence where I know how to light in different ways so that if anything changes, you can come up with different lighting styles to fit what you need to do. I feel embarrassed to call myself a surf photographer because I’m not really doing that full-time anymore. But any chance I get when the waves
are really good and I have a couple of my friends here, I’m a grommet again. I’m frothing to get out there and shoot. P L AY I N ’ B Y T H E R U L E S
These days, a lot of my income is from lookbooks. I’m really blessed now because I’m totally free when it comes to my surf photography. Don’t get me wrong, that’s the dream to be a staff photographer at a surf mag. That was my ultimate dream. I was really lucky that I got that right away. But with that came a ton of pressure. Not from the magazine really, but it’s a pressure that I put on myself to be able to prove myself as a surf photographer and compete with these guys that have been doing it for years, who I’ve idolized and looked up to my entire childhood. But now it’s just on my time. When the waves and the weather’s great, I’ll be out there shooting. When the waves are good and the weather’s crap, we’ll go for a surf. I’m actually surfing again. I still feel a little guilty about going surfing while watching guys cranking airs all around me. But I gave myself the chance to have fun instead of worrying about it. Every now and again I go back to England. When I’m over there I’ll do some music stuff, work for some record companies and do EPKs for smaller bands and stuff like that. Now, fortunately, I have a couple of friends in big bands, so every now and again they invite me along to help ‘em do some shows, video backstage or whatever. I get the best of everything. My three loves in life: women, surfing, music. That’s the beauty of photography: it’s a chance for you to investigate the dreams you had as a child. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pro surfer. I wanted to be a rock star; be with the hottest chicks on the planet. Now I’m not a rock star, I’m not a pro surfer, I don’t get the most beautiful chicks on the planet. But I work with the most beautiful chicks on the planet, I hang out with rock stars, I’m blessed to call a few of ‘em my friends, and most of my friends are professional surfers. And I still get to travel to these beautiful waves that I’ve always wanted to go to. I got my little bucket list, you know. There’s still more waves out there that I gotta go to before I die. When I look back on everything and how it went down with my getting deported, it was tough, but it was a good thing too. I needed a little slappin’ around at the time; pull my head in a little bit. You know, I was starting to get away with a little too much shit; things that I shouldn’t have been doing. It doesn’t really pay to bend the rules. These days I like to play by the rules.
Bali Belly magazine from Bali, Indonesia.