Lucia Griggi is a photographer and one of the few women in the very masculine world of surf photography. Even if her work isn’t limited to surfing, it still plays an integral role in her life.
She tells us about how it all began:
“In 2000 I began shooting surfers in the United Kingdom with a Nikon D100. In the summer of 2004 I drove my van to Europe to shoot the Mundaka contest and then the contest in France. My first published photo was in Carve Magazine, and I gained momentum from there. It took a while, to say the least. The journey has been long and testing but I never gave up on my dream to keep my passion as my job and support myself with what I love to do. My photography came into place when I started to travel with surfing and I felt I needed a purpose to travel. I loved to document what I saw and experienced. I soon started to get published while using my dad’s Nikon camera he gave me. Soon it became a hobby that was my job.”
My photography came into place when I started to travel with surfing and I felt I needed a purpose to travel. I loved to document what I saw and experienced.
What attracted you to surf photography?
“Mel Gibson summed it up in Braveheart: “FREEDOM!” Once you get a taste of life on the road, it becomes an addiction. This is a big, interesting, fascinating, troubled, wonderful world we live in. Once you see a bit of it, you want to see all of it and I know I will never see it all: Change is a constant. I don’t know if I could work in an office and do the same thing, day after day. I think I would go mad. The ocean as my office and my commute changes from day to day, season to season. I live as simply as I can, but I travel with very sophisticated equipment which allows me to document what I see and experience, and share that with others. My life isn’t easy. It changes from day to day and I have to think on my feet, but I love it.”
“Surf photography evolved into a lifestyle for me from my love of surfing waves. I was so determined to surf, travel and take pictures and I loved every minute of trying to do it. I would say it took two years to understand how to surf and to trim a wave properly but to really surf I’m still learning every wave I catch. I love to surf every day: morning or evening in California when the sun rises and when it sets are my favourite times. I was in the water the other day and had the privilege of surfing with three other girls – one being my great girlfriend Cory and the other two we had just met but were very inspiring. I love to see girls surfing and having fun together.”
“Being on the road, moving from one place to the next is what keeps me ticking. Knowing tomorrow I will be in another place, another country, taking a different route. Meeting new, interesting and different minded people. To keep open-minded and see how the world works. I travel a lot and I feel every experience is by most part memorable!! This year I have travelled from Hawaii to California, Sri Lanka to the Maldives, France, Spain, Portugal, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, New York, New Jersey, Outer banks in North Carolina back to Hawaii. Now onto Thailand, going into Vietnam through Cambodia, possibly onto Indonesia then to Australia. It’s exhausting but it’s fun! ”
“My favourite places have been in the middle of the ocean in the Maldives. It’s a special place. Along with its sister island Sri Lanka. These people live a flowing, ocean lifestyle that is just so satisfying to be a part of. I like the rhythm and the nature of both places. I wish I were there now. And Africa too. Nature is the big boss there and I feel this urge to always stay connected to such an inspirational place. I would say for portraits. I love people and their ways. I can tell a person very quickly through their eyes. They are the gateway to their soul and it interests me to see what people are capable of and made of. I’ve shot a couple of books for Ben Marcus who says my gift is “the art of flattery.” I shoot beautiful people and I shoot older people and I’ve shot portraits of people who don’t necessarily like having their photo taken. I like the look of surprise on their faces, when they love the portraits that I took. That is very rewarding. I love it.”
When asked about aquatic photography Lucia told us:
“There are many challenges which present themselves from shooting in the water. Firstly it is physically exhausting treading water for so long. It definitely makes for a great workout! Also swimming on top of shallow reefs and the risk of being in the wrong position could mean potential danger. A lot of the destinations require a lot of swimming and it takes time to practice the art of surf photography being able to work in the ocean and get the perfect shot! When you are a photographer in the water you are a lot lower down and the perspective in the water is completely different of that of a surfer! It can sometimes be dangerous as you cannot see the set waves coming towards you and last minute dash swims are a must! Saying this, being a photographer in the water means you don’t have a surfboard so it is easier to get underneath the waves and keep out of harm’s way!”
Lucia, a real Renaissance Woman who also plays the piano and dances, has plenty of projects and goals:
I would love to capture more of nature, spend more time in one place and capture the pure essence shooting the wildlife in that area. Photograph a kill in the wild, more about the habitation of the wild. Camp out in the jungle and see the natural and simple way of life for these creatures. As a hobby I play music on the piano. I love to dance a lot! I also film and will be staying up in the Hebrides later on this year to produce and direct a personal project.