Nate Smith: Photographer: Sydney

Don’t ask don’t get
Name: Nate Smith
Occupation: Photographer
Hometown: Sydney
Currently Residing: Northern Beaches
Nate Smith is a widely known surf photographer from Australia. Over a 15+ year career his images have graced magazine covers and ad campaigns around the globe. He’s worked extensively with surfers like Kelly Slater, Tom Carroll and Taj Burrow. He’s blazed frames from Capetown to New York to the sulfuric lava flows of Anak Krakatoa. His talent has spilled from the ocean into the worlds of fashion, portraiture, occasional self-portraiture and landscapes. In 2010 he traveled to Dublin to receive two awards. Nate took out the Close Up Category and the Athletes Choice Award in the Red Bull Illume action sports photography contest for his image of a cobalt ‘n’ copper saltwater cocoon he took just up the road from his childhood home. But at 39, Nate feels his best shot is still out there. “As a surfer you always paddle out thinking your best wave is yet to come, and as a guy who shoots surfing you gotta think the same. Gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

When I was a child I wanted to be…Batman

The studies I took to get where I am…None, Self taught although i would highly suggest becoming an assistant to someone who’s work you admire, you will lean more this way than any overpriced course.

I’m inspired by…I see inspiration everywhere, i really like success stories from people who have gained a lot from just being onto it and by being determined, look at Richard Branson for an amazing example or even that radio guy Kyle Sandilands although some may find him super rude and annoying and all, but i dig his story, lived on the streets blah blah now he’s cruising around in Rolls Royces, a lot to be said for hard work there.

My influences are…Anyone who owns a camera can be of influence, but creatively I’m influenced by all sorts of things, life in general is right there to seek from.

People I admire…My girl Jodey Alice, i admire the work of Steve Sherman, Jon Frank, Ted Grambeau but anyone who owns a camera i think has something to offer, so many people have great eyes. With digital we have way more access to seeing whats out there, its cool.

I’m currently listening too…Ive been listening to some of my old Danzig lately, never fails to impress.

The tools I can’t live without are…Camera, Laptop, Car, Chargers !!!!

The obstacles that have come my way…Camera or water housing failures will stop you every time.

The cameras/water housing I use for underwater shoots are: One of the two leading camera manufactures and a homemade water housing.

My favourite place place to travel is…Best all round place to shoot and surf is Sumatra, i also enjoy Hawaii and Fiji a lot though.

I would like to travel…As I’m starting to diversify my photography I’m more open to shooting all sports of things, but id most likely visit places i have not yet visited, probably place that aren’t huge surf destinations, NYC is def back on the hit list, more middle America, Italy and a heap of other places. These places are great for building my Travel Library. its not all about surfing, beaches and deserted islands anymore, I’m growing as a photographer and thats exciting.

The highlights over the past 12 months have been…Best thing so far are that my injuries are finally mending, last year was crazy, two mishaps put me out of sorts for most of the year, a cut from my side of my heel to the other from a fin chop shooting water resulting in a cut to the bone and 9 spaced out stitches. As soon as that healed i began to train for Hawaii and slipped running and dislocated my shoulder while falling ( almost of a cliff ) its only just coming good now ! Im almost back health wise so I’m ready to get busy.

Advice I have to share for those who want to get into this profession…This could be a big list, but to keep it short, id say have something different to offer, everyone shoots digital and id assume RAW files so they all spit out the same at the end, so its what you do at the end that makes you. Have a great backup job because photography has never been more popular resulting one very hugely saturated market. Find your own style, be inspired but don’t copy, be humble and most of all just have fun with it. Its meant to be fun. Oh, learn yourself, don’t ask for secret pieces of info, we shoot digi, its simple, shoot it until you get it right, its not film where you wouldn’t know if you got it right for 1 week, so just learn from your mistakes. Its fun learning, well i think so anyway, thats your reward…..learning.

The latest project I’m working on…Im out looking for mini waves, i found a couple near my home and i know where a couple more are. I love mini waves, they are just so cool, i could watch them all day. The way they break are so perfect. Im actually thinking about making a mini wave machine purely to photograph…..but this is one very tricky thing to do, and most likely very expensive. Have to wait and see about this.
Photographer: Katrina James
Interview: Almost Real