Monday, 11 July 2011

An interview with talented SoCal surf photographer Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana is definitely one of my favourite photographers. I get excited when he uploads new work as I can guarantee it will make my jaw drop. As a nominee for the prestigious Follow The Light Foundation grant 2011, his work is rightly being recognised at an international level, as he continues to blow us away with his ocean photography. He captures the true essence of SoCal surf culture, both in and out of the water, making our feet itch to get back in the waves and soak up the sun. This guy is going places...

Check out his Tumblr and Flickr

dustin rodgers

Who are you?
I'm Carlos Santana (no relation haha). I'm 22 years old. I grew up in Orange County, specifically the Anaheim area. I love the ocean, cameras, clouds, travel, music, my dogs, and cooking breakfast for people!

Who and what inspires you? 
My family, my friends, Mike Stewart, Mark Cunningham, Scott Aichner, Dustin Humphrey, Morgan Maassen, and anyone who is doing what they LOVE.

Photography seems to come really naturally to you, is it something you feel you’ve always wanted to do?
To be honest, not really. It all kind of randomly happened. I became drawn to cameras when a friend would let me mess around with his camera when the line up was too crowded or when i just got too tired. I'm pretty happy everything happened the way it did because photography has become something that I will clearly never stop doing.

Do you have a camera that you use the most? What do you like about it? 
I use my canon ae-1 the most. It’s such a great piece of equipment. What I love most about it is how well I feel moments are captured through film. I sometimes feel I can't get the same from my digital camera. The excitement of getting your film back always rules too.

Do you use film (35mm) often?

Yeah I use it pretty often. Its what I like to carry around for when I'm just hanging out on the sand, hiking, BBQ's, and camping. I really want to start using my digital more though. I feel kind of weird that I only show it love in the water.

Do you prefer to shoot with digital or film? 

I would have to go with digital because shooting water photos is quite possibly the most fun thing I have ever experienced.

What do you like about shooting in the surf? 

I love that every session is different and every wave is different. I love how challenging it can be, the feeling of where to be and where to not be. I love that you get to be in the zone, right in the face of it all. What sport does a photographer get to experience what the athlete does? In sports today photographers are all on the sidelines with telephotos wishing they could get closer. Imagine a photographer got to be right next to a running back with a fisheye? Imagine how cool that would look!

What is it about surfing/bodyboarding and the ocean that tickles your fancy? 

It’s act of always keeping you on your toes. The visions it allows you to see and how the ocean can wash all your worries away after a session. Yesterday one of the coolest things happened, possibly the best wave of the day came in and from afar a young dolphin was surfing it. I couldn't help but yell in excitement and when the wave hit the bar it was so beautiful and had so much power behind it. It was like if he knew that, that particular wave was the ONE to ride and it was all he needed. I never saw him again. 

Favourite wave? 
My favorite would have to be Pipeline. I've only seen it through the internet, but one day I’ll make it there. It’s so beautiful and photogenic...

Did you grow up by the ocean? 
Sadly I didn't. I grew up 15 miles from the beach. I begged whoever could take me to beach when I was younger and when I started driving I made the journey every time I got the chance. 

What is a typical day in the life of Carlos? 
After waking up I usually check the swell models and see if I can squeeze something in before work or after. Do a little run around the park by my house and hang out with my dogs. I wish the ocean could be a part of my every day routine but it’s just impossible and would be too expensive considering gas prices! Oh and obviously mess around with my 35mm and point it at my friends. 

Tea or Coffee? 

What projects do you have up your sleeve? 
I really want to do a Zine that concentrates on youth, surf lifestyle, and some fashion. 

Where can we expect to see you in the future? 
I'm hoping to be working with some talented riders and doing some trips. I really want to make my first journey to the North Shore this winter and get myself out there!

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