Surfing photography is not always the sandy-beach, hot-climate sport it’s made out to be. Christian McLeods passion has led him to explore places around cold and rainy Ireland. He spends his days between finishing college and exploring his lands. CRUMB catches up with the youngster to ask about the technical aspects of shooting in the water, his gear and craziest stories. By Laurie Cassagnes.
Christian, where are you right now and what was the last thing you did before we started this interview? I would love to say something crazy like climbing a volcano or something, but in all honesty, I just got home from college. I’ve been working on my thesis all day. Can’t wait to be finished fully in a months time ! Tell us about your background, where are you from? I am originally from Montana, pretty much the spot to be if you don’t want to be near the ocean ! But I’m living in Ireland right now , I’m never in one spot for too long. When did you first discover an interest in photography and did surf photography kick in? It’s funny, I started studying Engineering in college and had my head focused on that. In the 2nd year, I stumbled upon my Mom’s old cameras. So naturally, I picked them up and started investigating, tearing them apart and taking photos etc… Then I grabbed my own semi-old digital camera and started bringing it to college. A lot of sneaking by Lecturers with my small camera bag had to be done, and it grew into an addiction. From there, I think it was about 5 weeks and I took it with me on a little surf to a local spot, and took a couple snaps, showed them to a friend who said I should send them to Tonnta, the Irish surf magazine. Three weeks later it was published as a double page spread (I still have the copy on my desk)! It was so surreal. Your photos are incredible, when did you realise that photography was the direction you’d like to be heading? Even after I had that image published it was still just a hobby, a fun outlet to pass the time after class. I’ve dreamt about making photography a living and thought that it’s just a dream, until this year, and I made a decision one day in January of this year while I was on a bus back from Germany that I want to do this for the rest of my life. I look at the work I’m doing in college. I like engineering and would have no problem working in that industry, but this is my love. Is there any particular camera that you like to use the most? Right now I’m in a mixing pot. For the past 2 years I’ve been on all Canon gear, mainly a 5Dmk3 and a 7D. But just this year with all the traveling and hiking I’ve been doing I started searching for lighter cameras. Generally with the Fstop Bags I use, I don’t really need to think about the weight on my back, but I find I have so much other necessary gear I’ve had to cut
down on camera weight, so I’ve snagged a new Sony camera to replace my 7D, which is literally a weight off my shoulders. Where was your last shoot ? What did you do there and what did you bring back from it? I can’t say much about Where my last shoot was, but let’s just say the South of Ireland has so much potential for good waves. I was shooting for Riptide Magazine who have started a 200 hours project for their 200th issue, and I’m more than stoked to be a part of it. What is or has been your favourite location to shoot? Do you prefer to shoot from land or in the water? There have been so many beautiful places! Norway was one that really sticks out in my mind, but then again Ireland just has so many amazing landscapes, not many countries can compete. I have no preference, to land or water, when it comes to photography, it completely depends on the waves and the landscape. However on a personal note, I love being in the water more than sitting on dry land. Has the ocean always been a huge part of your life? Shockingly it hasn’t. Being born in the middle of the Rocky Mountains didn’t really offer me much ocean life. First time I remember seeing the sea was when I was 7, in California, and I was only driving by on the way to the airport. I started surfing when I was 15 and from there my love grew for the ocean. You spend a lot of time in the ocean with dangerous currents and house highwaves. What were the most dangerous situations you’ve faced so far when photographing surfers? That would definitely have to be my first swim at a spot down south called Aileen’s. It wasn’t the scariest day and no one was getting into trouble out in the lineup or anything but I just lost attention because of the amazing waves and amazing scenery. I remember i so vividly. I was swimming with my housing, and trying to get a different angle moving closer to the end bowl and sneaking just over the edge each time. Jack Johns dropped into this massive barrel and I started to smile, pulling the trigger I knew I had something special and I just made it over that wave and over the next wave aswel. It seemed like there was a brief lull, so I started taking a couple shots of the landscape and I hear this whistle, and a few hoots and hollars. I thought, “What’s that?“. I look and the jet skis are way out in the channel, and the surfers and way out to sea. I never felt my gut drop like that in my whole life. I got pulled deeper from the rip and closer to the cliffs, and
Published on Jan 15, 2016
Le meilleur du fanzine CRUMB, 2010-2015 dans un book digital. Fil rouge de 5 années d'aventures en 300 pages et 70 interviews, riches en pho...