‘I’ve traveled to Iceland, Ireland, all these really cold remote spots to shoot surfers doing what they love no matter whatever the cost might be.’
“I was always a fish. You can ask my parents. They could never get me out of the water, even as a little kid I just always loved being in the ocean. I was never scared. My mom taught me how to swim when I was very little.
“Then my friend Greg Goldberg one day took my boogie board and threw it into the dunes. He was like ‘That’s enough of that. Go get a surfboard.’ And I did; I went and got myself a surfboard. I picked it up pretty easily. I mean I was watching it for so long that I kind of knew what I had to do, so I just had to go and do it.
“Every month we would sit and wait until the surf magazines came out and we would all get together and look through them religiously, page by page, looking at all our favorite pro surfers. We had some pretty good surfers in Montauk at the time. I was like ‘we could do something like this. We could get some good photos of ourselves surfing.’ So, I took it upon myself to go out, get a camera, and just start taking photos and I didn’t know anything about photography.
I started the Cold Water Surf Series, which ended up being an art show with all these surfers around Montauk that would surf through the whole winter.
“Digital just started coming around, but it was still a lot of film. I had this little fanny pack with all the rolls of film around the waist, and I would just sit there at the shoreline holding down the trigger. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Every single wave of every single person. I didn’t know anything about lighting or composition. It was basically just me taking photos of every surfer and then we’d send the rolls away. Then when they came back, we would all pile into my little room and go over all the photos.
“I started the Cold Water Surf Series, which ended up being an art show with all these surfers around Montauk that would surf through the whole winter. That took off because people just weren’t used to seeing floating icebergs or surfers around it.
“I’ve traveled to Iceland, Ireland, all these really cold remote spots to shoot surfers doing what they love no matter whatever the cost might be. The trade-off is that when it’s really sunny and nice, everyone is at the beach. There could be 200 surfers in the water, but in the middle of the dark hours of January, not everyone wants to suit up and go surfing.”
Interviewed by Dan Offner