West Australian photographer captures the world's heaviest waves
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 July, 2017 - Russell Ord’s photography is all wrong. He catches images of below-sea-level waves with impossibly thick lips - big, backless beasts near jagged rocks. It’s strictly mind-surfing material. But then he hangs with a crew of madmen who actually surf these waves, so we see that the wrong kind of waves are rideable, well, for a handful of humans anyway.
Taj Burrow and Mark Matthews © Russell Ord
Where are you from and what you shoot with?
I am from Margaret River Western Australia, at the moment I have been using a Nikon D4 with a range of lenses and being kept dry by Aquatech.
How did surf photography start for you?
I injured my knee surfing myself and instead of just sitting on the lounge for a few months I picked up a camera and started taking photos of mates and the local board-riders getting back my first few rolls of slides that were well and truly underexposed certainly opened my eyes and I new then I was up for a steep learning curve and I hadn’t even shot from water at that stage.
Jacob Wilcox © Russell Ord
Share with us something that most people don’t know about surf photography.
It’s a very tough gig to break into, you start getting a few images published and you tell yourself you have made it, in reality your hourly rate is stated in cents not dollars, “how to make a living from what you love” now becomes a huge challenge let alone a major commitment.
Tell us about that one time you almost died, on a surf trip or in the water.
The last few years I have concentrated on swimming waves of consequences, trying to push my own boundaries and forget about capturing every moment, every now and then the Ocean gives you a complete wake up call not to be so complacent and focus not only on the day in question but your whole life which now revolves around getting a certain photo implanted in your head.
Chris Ross, The Right © Russell Ord
Name one image you saw that changed the way you approach photography.
There has been a number of images of the years that have been mind blowing, a Jon Frank, Gibson, Bielmann, Noyle and Scott Aichner just to name a few, at some stage during my career I will see one of these images where you say to yourself “How the hell did they take that shot, beyond amazing” they are not always just amazing moments but images that would push me to another level, in the end most people can take moments these guys have taken images that most people will never be in position even to try – inspirational to me.