Photography historically has always posed a problem – it doesn’t fit in, anywhere. Its invention was a result of a bourgeois scientific fantasy, and today it sits as (un)comfortably in the multi-million dollar Art market as it does in the pages of Sun newspaper? (international friends, don’t bother Googling the latter).
Needless to say, as an activity and certainly as an occupation it attracts a certain type of human. One who is at peace with their own company, and whose curiosity and fascination with the word we live in drives them to wake up each morning, seeking to freeze moments in time with the release of a shutter.
Born, raised and based in Tofino, British Columbia ? Canada’s surf haven photographer Jeremy Koreski cut his teeth exploring and documenting the dramatic coastline and life of the pacific north west all with a camera in his hand. As an ambassador for Patagonia his work has been center stage in a number of their campaigns. With a cover for Surfer Magazine amongst countless other notable publications under his belt, in 2015 he debuted a solo publication ? This is Nowhere ?following an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter Campaign. We caught up with Jeremy to talk about life behind the lens of some truly breathtaking images.
Right now you’re out on some trips ? where are you?!
This summer has been all about balancing work trips away with family life. Recently I’ve been shooting more and more fly fishing, so back in May I was over in the Christmas Island, then as soon as I got back to Canada in June I was straight up to the Dean River to photograph steelhead (Trout). So at the moment I?m home catching up on editing from those trips, before I leave again this Friday.
How did your relationship with the camera come about? How did it become a profession?
It’s the cliché story really, but one I?m sure a lot of photographers out there can relate too. My father gave me a Canon AE1 when I was 14. Photography didn?t become a profession for many years after that?That being said, I think I knew fairly soon after picking a camera up that I wanted to create photos for a living.
You?re based over in British Columbia, Canada. It’s pretty hard not to take pictures there? The social media feeds of any one has ever visited are testament to that! How do you think your geographical location has informed your practice? Growing up in Tofino ? do you think that gave you a different perspective on surf photography compared to other photographers that may have cut their teeth in say, the North Shore or Goldcoast?
I guess, the main thing that growing up here has taught me is that you cannot always rely on shooting in golden light. For 6 months of the year you can expect rain, wind and overcast conditions? so you start to embrace it and get used to shooting in the stormy weather. I think that’s the main difference when I was starting out, compared to those shooting in ?tropical? more predictable locations ? I didn?t see the sun as much.
In your opinion, what is the key to a capturing the front cover of Surfer? I know for some, it’s a healthy relationship with the rider ? you know how they move. Or familiarity with location ? you know where to position yourself.
With surfing photography, I think it’s really up to mother nature. When everything comes together as far as waves, wind, tide, swell and then the rider, that’s what really makes a cover. That’s why I still enjoy shooting surf after so many years ? it’s not easy. There are so many variables and that’s why it?s a challenge.
Do you find it hard or important to balance action and lifestyle elements when creating something like This is Nowhere? How do you blend the surf, landscape and nature work? Or do you find that the subjects are one and the same to you?
Being an outdoor photographer from the start, it’s never be an issue mixing surfing with nature? because where there are waves there are bears. With This is Nowhere, I wanted to show a mix of surfing and lifestyle along side the nature and wildlife we see all the time when we’re outdoors, along the coast of BC. It was about showing there is so much here on the coast that deserves protection from the industry.
You spoke previously in an interview with TGR about your admiration for Yvon Chouinard ? your relationship with Patagonia is a well-documented one. How did that relationship come about? In terms of a client for an adventure photographer, does it get much better than them?
My connection with Patagonia was through friend Keith Malloy. He came up to Tofino on a surf trip back in 2004/2005 and when he got home introduced my work to the photo editor at Patagonia. Jane Sievert liked the images and things grew from there. Working with companies like Patagonia that care about the environment is a dream.
Can we expect a follow up to This is Nowhere? What’s next for Jeremy Koreski?
Hell yes. I’ve got another book proposal in the works and should start shooting this Fall.
Last but not least, what’s in your camera bag? What are the essential pieces of gear that you take out on a shoot?
That really depends on what Im shooting. With surf, it’s an Aquatech water housing and a couple lenses, but if it’s nature, then the Canon 200-400 is in my bag. For fly fishing I’ve always got a macro in my bag as well.
Looking to step up your coffee table game? You can purchase Jeremy’s book This is Nowhere here.
And of course follow him on Instagram here.
All images courtacy of Jeremy Koreski
Words, Lewis McLean.