May 7, 2020
Ray Collins’s portraits of waves are hard to describe because you don’t want to describe them. Like the wave itself, the photographic abstraction refuses words; indescribable and amorphous become unique and powerful in his hands. One look at his work and it’s clear that he is in his element in the surf, transforming what he knows so well into a profound and universal statement.
We have been looking forward to speaking with Collins for a while, and are very pleased to present our conversation with him on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. We start our chat asking how he went from being a coal miner in New South Wales, Australia, to a photographer, and then melding that new love with his first love, surfing and the ocean. It’s a good story and it gets better as we learn how he transitioned from surf photography to fine-art photography and book publishing.
We ask about working in the ocean, the dangers, “knowing” certain waves, and the ability to maneuver his gear and body to anticipate the photos he wants to capture. We also discuss the gear he uses, from his Nikon D850 to Aquatech housing, to the surprising range of lenses he uses in the water. We also discuss the non-photo equipment he needs to stay afloat and navigate.
After a short break, we discuss his post-process decisions and how he looks for texture as much as color when deciding upon which images he prefers. Interestingly, for a photographer whose color work is so gorgeous, Collins is color blind and he talks about how he has turned that into an advantage for him. We also chat about printmaking and book publishing with this incredibly talented and friendly photographer. Join us for an inspiring conversation and check out the work of Ray Collins.
Guest: Ray Collins
Above photograph © Ray Collins