Focus Interview: Kerby Brown

Focus Interview: Kerby Brown

We caught up with the surfer/photographer ahead of his exhibition, Infusión de Líquidos.

Little Wing Corner Gallery and El Grotto are tonight hosting a photographic exhibition by WA-based surfer/photographer Kerby Brown (head to the event HERE). Brown spends his days capturing the glory of the WA coast, and tonight promises to showcase some exceptional imagery from a man who knows his way around a green room. We took the opportunity to catch up with the man to find out what makes him tick, and how he balances the surf/photo lifestyle:

First up, congrats on hosting your first exhibiton - Infusión de Líquidos - we imagine that’s something relatively new to you, what’s it been like putting it together?

Yeah thanks man. I've done a couple of Colab shows over the years but this is my first solo exhibition. For this one I decided to go with my ocean imagery from the mid-north west. The warm, vibrant colours and water textures will work well with the Mexican styled bar El Grotto. It's a fun collection of images and I'm not taking myself too seriously so it's been cool to bring them all together.

Obviously you initially came to prominence in the surfing world for your surfing, what prompted you to pick up a camera and start shooting?

Initially I wanted to photograph what I saw from inside the barrel so I purchased a DSLR rig to hold in the barrel with me. I soon realised that there was a lot more to photography than just that so I started shooting all kinds of stuff. I was hooked.

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Is it a career path you can see yourself moving more and more towards – how do you keep a balance between the two?

It can be tricky to juggle for sure. When the waves are really good I want to be surfing. I prefer to shoot if it's not that good to surf but it can still make for crazy shots or when I'm injured I'll shoot from the ski or use the rehab to swim and shoot so it works out well sometimes. As far as a career goes I'd like to do something with photography but it's a pretty tough industry to make a good living from. I'm just having fun with it at this stage.

Living and shooting predominately in the NW of WA, it poses some pretty unique landscapes to document, what do you love most about the area?

Yeah where I grew up is such a unique piece of coast line - from the colour of the ocean being so blue with the contrast of the red rocky landscape and the amazing golden light you get so consistently early mornings and late afternoons. It's an amazing place to grow up and live. Your whole life is based in and around the ocean and it's all so easy. I recently moved to the South Coast earlier this year so I'm chasing the darker heavier slab waves.. That's been crazy!

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Who are some peers in the photography world who you’ve looked to for guidance and/or inspiration?

I like to take inspiration from all different guys. I particularly like the work of guys like Ray Collins. Then you've got mad men like Russell Ord and Daniel Russo that swim when it's really heavy to get some crazy angles. When I was learning I'm sure I was trying to sniff out some tips from Russ and the West Oz mad men haha.

What, in your mind, constitutes the perfect surfing shot – the angles you work seem to be pretty varied?

I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect surfing shot - in my opinion it's open to interpretation. I really like abstract water imagery, slow shutter, black and white stuff. That Leroy Bellet kid has taken some of the most insane angles ever in surfing, doing double tows behind the surfer. He's killing it!

What’s your favourite wave to shoot and why?

These days I really enjoy shooting crazy mutant, twisted lumps of ocean over shallow reef that can't be ridden.

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What’s more satisfying – riding an awesome wave, or getting the perfect shot of an awesome wave?

I'd have to say riding a really good wave whilst holding the camera and nailing a really good image. It's a win-win! But if I had to choose one or the other I'd choose riding a wave.

What can we expect from the exhibition?

A fun vibrant collection of photographs documenting some special moments of my life in the North West. Showcasing the beauty of the ocean and light in that area. A good bunch of people having fun at a killer Tequila bar… what more could you want?

Follow Kerby Brown: WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM