Nick Green: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
By Dan Caban
Mickey Smith, the crazy Irishman behind Dark Side of the Lens referred to water lensmen as “the silent workhorses of the surfing world, no clichés or sugar here". Now Mickey Smith is the man. No questions. But a young Tasmanian kid to me shadows him, saying the icy cold water makes him feel alive and his obsession is to create the most out of his life. Pretty darn inspiring from a grom. No cruisy car park surf checks, no warm water – welcome to the cold Tasmanian life of Nick Green.
CW: Hey Nick, how are you?
NG: Hey mate! Yeah good, kinda tired, last few days have been full on!
Awesome, have you been getting waves?
Yeah there’s been a few about, had a little mission up the coast over the weekend and surfed the local wedge pretty fun the past 2 days.
How cold is the water down there at the moment and what rubber do you have to pull on?
Well the water was bloody nice up the coast… can't say the same for down south. I'm running a 4/4 Billabong at the moment, bought it at the tail end of summer and was finishing every surf with a nudie swim to cool off, the thing is warm as! But yeah the water down here is pretty cold (laughs).
Does it deter you at all to shoot in the water when it’s so cold?
Nah no way! If anything it gets more me more amped to get in, hey. Makes you feel alive! Last winter I was doing morning shoots almost every morning, I’d get to college and be frothing that I’d done something that made me feel alive before I just sat on my ass all day.
So what was this shoot you’ve been working on with the band this week?
Ah just a little project with a local band. They’ve got me and my other mate making a music video for them so we were just mucking around in a studio getting some footage.
And you’re filming, yeah?
Yeah filming for the most part! Got a little bit of stop animation going on it as well.
Is filming something you want to get into, as well as photography?
Yeah for sure. More-so recently, when I bought the Mark III. My old camera just shot stills. But, yeah, always kinda been interested in making little vids, they're just a refreshing change from photos sometimes I guess, combine some cruisy tunes to some nice footage of anything and you can create a vibe which someone will get something out of.
So how does a kid from Tasmania get into surf photography?
My parents bought me a little underwater camera for Christmas in like Year 9 or something, hadn't had any experience in taking photos but thought I’d bring it along to the beach and take some photos of my mates surfing cause I couldn't surf that well myself. I kinda just kept shooting because I wanted to see if I could get better (laughs) and I was enjoying it, it was something new. Few years on I was diagnosed with depression and I guess surf photography was, and always had been something to occupy my mind, made me go out and do shit and focus on something else when my mind was doing stupid things, it made me happy.
Did you grow up in a town that had a surfy vibe?
Nah not at all, hey! I live like an hour away from the nearest consistent surf beach. My local gets waves probably a dozen times a year if we are lucky and even then it’s kinda just novelty and normally if there's swell down here it means something bigger and better could be happening elsewhere.
And can you remember your first good shot, or moment that you were like, "Yep, this is what I want to do."?
Not really a particular shot, but that first time I took photos at the beach certainly was an eye opener for me. It was just fun imagining what I wanted to capture and then waiting for it to happen or not to happen (laughs).
I think one thing a lot of people would not realise is, especially with people from Tasmania and the likes, is you guys do it for passion and love rather than promotion.
Yeah for sure, I've never had a shot run and I know heaps of guys down here that are just shooting to capture what they love doing. I'm pretty bad at the whole self-promotion thing anyway. Don’t get me wrong though, would love to see my work published, as would anyone.
There’s a clip called Dark Side of the Lens by Mickey Smith that I keep thinking of and relating to you. This filmer from Ireland who speaks about filming in winter and how it’s essentially mad, yet everyday he does it again, just chasing that one image. Is that how you feel in a way?
Ah man I friggen love that short film! It speaks so true to me, stoked that you related that to me! Mickey Smith is a legend.
Sick. Do you have any influences in particular?
I'm pretty heavily influenced by my own self obsession with making the most of life (laughs). I hate thinking that I'm wasting my day so it normally leads to me doing something exciting. Which normally leads to getting an image of something to remember it by.
As far as surf photography influences go, I'm getting inspired everyday just by scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feed, so many people are shooting amazing images these days! Chris Burkard has always been a bit of a stand out for me though, just has such a unique style and eye for detail.
And have you found seeing as there may be a lack of talent to shoot in Tassie, that your eye for detail and landscape may be different to most. That’s something I notice in your shots for sure.
I guess so! When I shoot I rarely choose to highlight the surfing ability of a surfer as the main focus of the shot, normally trying to capture the vibe or environment of the waves. I prefer shooting empties really, more reliable than surfers and a lot easier to make them look better than they are (laughs)! In saying that if I know that there are talented surfers in the line-up I’ll try and make the most of being in their presence as normally I'm just surfing and shooting for fun.
Cheers man, I’ll be thinking of you when I’m warm in my short-arm steamer in 19 degree water tomorrow.
(Laughs) I'm going to Bali for 6 weeks next month so whatever mate!
Young, Free, Alright! is a fortnightly editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette showcasing and profiling young and up-and-coming photographers, filmmakers, bloggers, artists, musicians, shapers, surfers or whatevers that we've been digging. The rad and creative groms of Australian surfing. Alright!
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