Alex Benaud: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Gallery and captions by Alex Benaud
Life's good on the Sunshine Coast. Just ask this Alex Benaud character. Dude is an 18-year-old aspiring photographer who spends most days shooting his best friends in fun waves made of warm water, golden-lit by afternoon sunshine. Dreamy! On top of that, he just got back from Splendour. Loving life or what? We shot Alex "Richie" Benaud (just made up that nickname, not sure if he likes it or not...) some questions and stole a bunch of his photos to feature him as the latest profile for Young, Free, Alright! presented by Arnette. Right on!
CW: Hey man, what are you doing today?
AB: I've just gotten back from Splendour in The Grass, so just sleeping. It was a big weekend.
How long have you been shooting for and what got you started?
I've been shooting for about two and a half years now, but only really got into it this year. I've always had an interest in filmmaking and photography, all through high school I was into it and I love the way you can create something different wherever you go no matter what or who you are shooting.
You finished high school last year. How are you finding that transition from high school to adult life? I remember it being really really fun but also pretty confusing and directionless at times. Highs and lows?
Honestly, I thought it was going to be a lot tougher than it actually is. Sure the daily comfort of school and friends is gone, but I think it's great having the responsibility. The first couple of months was a bit confusing and made me realise that I have to make the decisions for myself, you don't have that push from teachers. I definitely miss seeing my friends everyday, but it's made me more inclined to go out and meet new people.
What are you doing post school?
I work at a restaurant as a waiter so it works out great because I usually work at night which gives me time to shoot during the day. I'm going to go to uni in the future but for now I'm really psyched on saving for an overseas trip.
Tell us about the Sunshine Coast. Was it a good place to grow up and learn how to shoot?
I'm from the Noosa area. It's a great place to live and there is always something to do. It's not the most consistent place to surf but if you know where to look and what craft to ride you can find a wave which I think is pretty cool. It was a great place to grow up, the weather is warm and the whole vibe is relaxed. And shooting in Noosa is pretty damn good, there are so many different places to go and experiment with your photography.
What's the best thing about shooting where you're from?
The endless amount of possibilities in regards to getting that unique shot. There are so many great, talented photographers on the coast and they all secretly push each other. It inspires you to search for something different.
What camera did you start with and what do you use to capture images today?
I started off using the Nikon d3100 which was great because it is such a simple camera to learn with but still allows you to take great shots. I haven't upgraded too much as I only have a d7000, but I honestly think it's about the way you use the gear and not the gear itself. I also shoot with my great grandfather’s 35mm Dacora. I like shooting 35mm, you can't go back and delete a shot for the hundredth time so it really challenges you.
What is your favourite thing about taking photos of the ocean?
No one photo will ever be the same, every wave and drop of water is unique. There are so many different conditions that you can shoot in and that forces you to experiment.
When is your favourite time to shoot?
The conditions always change on the Sunshine Coast, one day it'll be onshore, the next offshore, you really have to adapt to all everything. But If I had to choose I would definitely say you can't go past sunsets, the silhouetted shot is one of my favourites.
Who is your favourite person to point your camera at?
Hayden Cervi and Thomas Cervi. Both of them are absolute shredders! They're pretty much unknown in the surfing world but I think they could go far. They're incredible above the lip which makes me excited every time they take off, you just don't know what they are going to do. We all have a great relationship when it comes to shooting as they bounce just as many ideas off me as I do them. Great surfers.
Who and what inspires you?
I'm really inspired by the people around me on the Sunshine Coast. I really look up to people like Matthew O'Brien and Jack Dekort. Also young dudes like Luka Raubenheimer who produces really unique stuff. But I'd have to say Chris Burkard is the man, he's pushing the limits of surf photography to a whole different level. My other inspirations outside of surfing are individual magazines, such as No Thoughts Magazine who focus on abstract art photography.
Five years from now, you wake up and everything has worked out just how you planned. Where are you and what are you doing?
I'm somewhere overseas off the grid not worrying about money or having a well paid job, travelling with my mate Hayden Cervi getting the best waves and shots of our lives.
Bring it back, now. What are you doing tomorrow?
Day 2 recovery. It was a big weekend.
Tag #youngfreealright and join the rad and creative youth of Australian surfing
A little over a year ago Coastalwatch and Arnette launched Young, Free, Alright! a series showcasing the inspired young community rising in Australian surfing – introducing talented new faces doing rad stuff every fortnight. Now, we want you to join us and be Young, Free, Alright! Just hashtag the fruit of your work on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #youngfreealright and we’ll be all over you like a bad op-shop jacket at a Year 12 Formal. Our favourite photo or video each fortnight wins a pack of goodness from Arnette.
On top of that you could find yourself getting props as the next Young, Free, Alright! feature profile like Alex here.
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