photographer and Immersion’s Ambassador
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Amber, and I live in a tiny slice of paradise in New Zealand called the Coromandel where I’m fortunate enough to have an abundance of ocean inspired things to film and photograph every day.
How did you get started in photography? and specifically, surf photography?
It was a wonderful concoction of traveling, love, lust and finally the untimely death of my father recently leading me to question everything about my life and what makes me tick. Everything in me pointed toward the ocean and storytelling so I’ve jumped in headfirst and never looked back.
Tell us more about your style?
The ocean anywhere is my inspiration, my education place, my food source and my muse. Its an ever evolving form that looks totally different from one minute to the next so its always fueling me to shoot it differently. With the shark inspired content, that was a bit of an accident really with my partner Riley taking me freediving with sharks and teaching me everything about those misunderstood creatures and I wanted to take a different path from your standard wildlife imagery where it would transport the audience to the moment and hopefully feel the calm I was feeling taking those pictures, rather than the inbuilt fear.
Has it been hard to make camerawoman as your work?
Its hard in the sense that I’m my own biggest critic and need to learn a bit of self love haha. The hardest part of being a freelancer is believing in yourself and the work you put out because if you’re passionate it shines through in your work which people definitely resonate with, no matter what the story is.
Which camera equipment do you use?
A canon 1Dxii
Your work didn’t only consist to shoot and film, there is a story behind, right?
There’s always a story behind my images. I love transporting the audience to the moment I captured it and its important to me that they know I wasn’t just in there firing my camera trigger, there is always a very calculated timeline of events which is why every print comes with the back-story.
Despite the adopted title of a ‘camerawoman’, do you have other passions, hobbies?
Well when the surf is pumping its a constant battle for me figuring out whether I take my board or camera in the water and i’ll usually end up doing laps because I find them both equally rewarding, especially if there are a bunch of women in the lineup, there’s no feeling like it! The froth is real!
Tell us more about your lifestyle? And your life philisophy as well.
My partner Riley and I are really trying to be better humans by growing all our own vegetables, spearfishing dinner and keeping chickens- just trying to live a more hunter/gatherer sustainable life with a smaller carbon footprint. We also shop consciously and will always support local, handmade slow fashion over mass produced garments.
We heard that you love travelling…
Traveling is a constant source of education. It’s a cultural classroom that isn’t restrained to a 9-5 regime so I believe everyone should travel, and especially now there are so many rad programs facilitating responsible travel and volunteering programs which give back to communities and animals so its a win-win for everyone.
Everywhere you surf and shoot, did you see a difference between women’s and men’s in the water?
For sure – women are so much more relaxed and its more of a sharing vibe where men typically seem to take surfing a bit more seriously and feels more of an individuals sport. There are a lot of tips we can learn from our Tané (men) however and I certainly have had my surfing influenced by some great men but there’s nothing quite like the froth levels of being in the water with a bunch of Wahine (women).
You sell prints on your web site, and 20% goes toward NZ based Sustainable Oceans society charity research and conservation efforts, right?
Correct. I think its important to give back to the animals I’m photographing since they themselves dont benefit financially and SOS are constantly researching and developing new ways to protect and raise awareness of sharks. If I can’t deposit money into sharks bank account the least I can do is support the humans who are putting their time into the ecosystems future.
What are your personal projects for the future?
I’ve got New Zealands first all-female surf film coming out this year which I still pinch myself out because it feels so surreal that we managed to pull it together from a whimsical idea in my head. Watch this space!!
Why did you accept to become one of Immersion’s Ambassador, what does it mean for you ?
Immersion was one of the first empowering surf publications for the female audience which is super important to me because there was an obvious lack of positive female surf media when I was learning to surf as a teen and it was really disheartening at times believing I wasn’t good/tanned/sexy enough to surf. Surfing is such a holistic and spiritually engaging sport and it took me way too long to block out the false idea of what a female surfer ‘should be’ and just enjoy my own feminine spin on the sport. I want young frothers to learn this too, and long before they are in their twenties so mags like this are the key to positive storytelling.