JC: What style of photography do you try to achieve?
SC: That’s a tough first question! I try to shoot ‘as it happens’, reportage style. There’s lots of surf photography influence and I try and edit with a slight modern edge. Recently I’m being influenced by and experimenting with the nostalgic film style of editing, so that might start to show in my work over the next few months.
JC: How did you get started in windsurfing photography?
SC: In 2004 I started windsurfing, I was buying magazines each month and was fascinated with photos captured from the water. Mid 2005 I bought a SLR camera and a cheap housing, I went to Cape Town and shot from the water every day (despite the presence of big wildlife). By the end of the trip I’d scored my first magazine front cover, I was hooked.
JC: What makes a particular shot stand out from all the rest?
SC: For me, the photo needs to have real impact. The main ingredients I look for are strong composition, I like wide angle and up close to isolate the subject from a wide background. Light is so important, often the best shots have morning or evening light. With windsurf photography the dynamics of the action are very important, the photo needs to convey the speed and athleticism of the move, it needs to show an element of the extreme or the risk factor too. Some moves look better than others, with water shots you can strive to find that perfect angle to show a move at its best, so it opens up a whole set of challenges. I love that. Ultimately rules are there to be broken, some shots just look good even when they don’t follow a ‘photography club’ recipe.
JC: How do you stay passionate about photography?
SC: I think the passion has to drive you, you have to love this job and you have to be a bit of a perfectionist, so that you constantly challenge yourself. I don’t think you can force passion, it has to come from within.
JC: What sets apart an exceptional photographer from a good one?
SC: Vision, focus and determination. There are many times when shooting where you could say ‘that will do’. If you want to set yourself apart, don’t do that, ever. I’m rarely 100% happy with my own shots, always finding minor flaws and thinking I need to get that right, let’s do that again. It drives some pro windsurfers mad, good job many of them are good friends as I tend to push the limits of their patience.
JC: Where is your favourite location to shoot?
SC: Hawaii, for the light and the action. I also love surf and shorebreak photography, so Hawaii really feeds that passion too. I shot in Iceland once, the landscapes and lighting were out of this world.
JC: Who is your favourite rider to work with?
SC: All the pros are good to work with, they know what a good photo is worth and they will put the effort in. Some just have an ability to line up with a photographer in the water. Thomas Traversa and Camille Juban are both good at that, Marc Pare deserves a mention for good ‘line ups’ too. Ben Proffitt really knows how to line up with me in the water, with Ben we’ve worked together really well for so long it’s like working with your brother. I love working with him, even if we drive each other mad sometimes, it’s crazy ha-ha.