Thursday, 14 April 2011

An interview with talented ocean/surf photographer Sarah Lee

Sarah is an exceptionally talented photographer from Kona, Hawaii. She tickles and tantalises the ocean taste-buds of many with her outstanding captures of the world both above and beneath the waves. Sarah's underwater shots are my favourite, capturing mermaid-like girls twisting and diving beneath the salty bubbles. Sarah, let us into your turquoise world of creation... I keep coming back for more.

So who are you?
I am a medium-tall glass of strawberry speckled lemonade (with a hint of mint).
I grew up in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i, and am currently 20yrs, located in Orange County where I'm studying film/advertising at Chapman University. My passion for photography, particularly underwater photography, was shaped by having spent my childhood constantly in and around the ocean.

What made you realise photography is what you wanted to do?
I thought I wanted to do website design, then graphic design, then photography, then film, and now I'm back on photography, because it's the best way I've been able to express my aesthetic perception on the beauty of what surrounds me. Also being in a narrative-driven film school for the past 3 years, it's been confirming that uw/surf/lifestyle photography (and documentary filmmaking) is more of what I want to do than anything else.

below the break
spray bow

Who and what inspires you?
My work is shaped or inspired by the people and friends I am surrounded by. The majority of the subjects my favourite photos are of close friends. Whether it's the photo subject, a certain location, or just the people I'm with at the moment, my creativity and inspiration is shaped through the synergy we share and the experiences we create.

Some say you’re a mermaid, is this true?
Definitely not, though shooting UW with a monofin would be pretty sweet.

I beg to differ Sarah!


Do you have a camera that you use the most? What do you like about it?
Canon 7D. I enjoy using it because I can shoot 24p/60p footage with it as well as photos. I think to a certain extent, lenses are much more important than the camera body. Most of my photos are taken with a 50mm/1.4.

Where have you travelled? Are there any places in particular that really stood out?
Back in high school, I traveled to parts of Europe, NSW Australia ... And just recently, for the month of January, parts of SE Asia. Hands down, Bali is the stand-out. Though I was only there for 4 nights, I had a blast moped-ing around, shooting surfers in bath water, and meeting interesting people. I can't wait to go back someday.



What is it that draws you to the ocean?
I grew up on an island, so it should be inevitable that I would be drawn to what I was constantly surrounded by growing up. I am not someone who likes to be in control of every aspect of shooting/creative work, and I have a lot of fun having to "adapt" to situations and making the best of what is at hand, so the ocean is a perfect element/medium for my photo work.

Tea or coffee?
Both! Though I am addicted to neither. I grew up on a coffee farm, so I have to say that I do enjoy quality (Kona) coffee, but after living in Singapore for a month, tea has been trending in my pocket book receipts.

Have you got any projects or ideas up your sleeve?
A lot of what I do is unplanned and very spur-of-the-moment. Projects and ideas come like a freak set on a normal day: some weeks I'll be dry, then suddenly I'll get a surge of ideas/inspiration/projects/collabs. Just expect a lot more UW/surf stuff from me soon, now that the weather is heating up, and I'll be back in HI for June.


Where can we expect to see Miss Sarah Lee in the future?
I'm going to be living in Brisbane, doing a semester abroad at Griffith Uni next semester (July - Nov), so expect some photos from AUS and surrounding oceanside destinations. ;) 


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