Harry Elks – Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Gallery and captions by Harry Elks
"Being in the ocean in general is enough to make me happy," says Sunny Coast aspiring photographer, and first year Uni student Harry Elks. You said it Harry! We've never met Harry, but his photos have been flowing through Instagram and getting us stoked for a while now. Stare at some of his underwater photography of ocean-life and enter the meditative state of a Yogi. Ahh, the serenity. This ocean lifestyle we get to live is pretty special isn't it? And young Harry Elks's photos embody that wholeheartedly. So, let's meet him and check out his work for the latest feature of Young, Free, Alright! presented by Arnette.
Interview by Mike Jennings
CW: G'day Mr. Harry Elks, what are you doing today?
HE: Howdy! Today is one of my main days at uni so I've just been there pretty much - nothing too exciting.
What are you studying at Uni?
I'm studying advertising and journalism at QUT. I chose advertising for the creative side of things, and I think journalism just seemed interesting. There's a chance that taking photos could slide into each of these professions too which had a slight impact on my decisions. Uni life is a lot of fun but it can be hard being in Brisbane when you know the waves are good.
Tell us about a regular day at your home on the Sunshine Coast.
Texting mates at dawn to figure out if it's worth getting out of bed. I live 20 minutes away from the beach so I normally rely on friends who live closer to keep me updated. If the waves look alright I'll shoot for a couple of hours in the morning and then either hang out around the coast or drive home. Most of the time it's windy in the arvo but if not I'll head back down for another swim. Being in Brisbane most of the week gets me really keen to spend as much time in the water as I can when I have the chance.
What got you started shooting?
I first started taking photos of surf and ocean stuff around April 2012. I originally started taking photos with little digital cameras on holidays before this and it kind of just evolved to surf related stuff at home due to where I lived and what my mates did.
Tell us about the Sunshine Coast.
The Sunny Coast can be good and bad.. There's a lot of bad in terms of surf quality but it's a nice and relaxed place to live. I live on a mountain in the hinterland named Mt Mellum. It's kind of a part of the Glasshouse Mountains. It was a good place to grow up because it's quiet up there, but it's also close enough to heaps of things on the coast. In terms of learning how to shoot it maybe wasn't the best, but it was good because it taught me to be patient.
What’s the best thing about shooting on the Sunshine Coast?
One of the best things is It makes you appreciate the good days a lot more than you might normally. They are few and far between so when it's on you want to make sure you're there making the most of it. There's also a fairly solid group of surf and ocean photogs that continually push each other which is great.
What camera did you start with and what do you use to capture images today?
At first I had a small waterproof digital camera, and now I use a Canon 7D and Aquatech combo.
What’s your favourite thing about taking photos of the ocean?
I like the idea of freezing moments that occur in an ever-changing environment. There's always something new to try whether it's a different lens, angle, subject etc. Also, being in the ocean in general is enough to make me happy.
Favourite time to shoot?
It would be early morning or late arvo, any time the light starts to get golden. In terms of conditions, I love clean waves, ramps, little-to-no wind. Also I love super clear water for underwater photos. These conditions are all pretty rare at home (laughs).
Your underwater sea-life shots are next level. Do you consider yourself more of an ocean photographer than specifically a surf photographer?
Thanks heaps! I definitely love underwater photography, swimming with marine life is always so much fun. I don't think I'd say I'm more of an ocean photographer than surf, I'd probably put the two on a pretty even level. I love both so it's hard to choose one, but there's nothing more satisfying than linking up with a surfer and nailing a shot.
Who is your favourite person to shoot with?
That would probably be Dale Lovelock. Mainly because we've been shooting together for a fair while now so I kinda know what he's doing in the water more then I do with other people. Also he lives close by and is always keen to shoot. Plus, he rips!
Who and what inspires you in the world of photography, inside and outside of surfing?
There are so many people that have inspired my in photography, some favourites at the moment though would have to be Andrew Shield, Ray Collins, Rod Owen and probably Matt O'Brien.
If you could ask any photographer, past or present, for a tip, or just a general question about anything, who would you pester and what would you ask?
Hmm... I'd probably talk to someone who's been at it for a long time. Maybe a person like Sean Davey or Peter “Joli” Wilson. I'm not sure what I'd ask, but I'd love to listen to them talk about things they've seen and done.
How are you spending this afternoon?
It started off watching the end of the ASP comp which was crazy, but other then that I'll just be trying to get through some uni work, real fun!
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 Harry here.
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