Michael Wood – Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Gallery by Michael Wood
Interview by Lena Thompson
Awkward introductions are never good. Thanks to the frustrating daylight savings time difference, Michael encountered one for this interview. We’d sprung it on him early on his way to university where he was about to battle the likes of data analysis and global business. Yet like his photography, full of light and laidback-feel, the 19-year-old from Burleigh buzzed us back and got the job done, like a trooper. Awkward or not, we salute you.
CW: What’s been happening today?
MW: Yeah I’m just walking into uni up in Brisbane.
Oh yeah, where abouts do you go to uni?
QUT in the city.
What classes have you got today?
I’ve just got business stuff, data analysis and global business are the subjects I’ve got today… so full on.
So you’re from the Gold Coast, where abouts?
I’m based at Burleigh Heads.
What does a usual day in the life of Michael Wood look like?
Well at the moment I’m pretty much waking up in the morning, hopefully going out for a surf or photos if there are waves, coming back doing uni work during the day, and then going back out in the late afternoon taking photos and editing them at night.
So it’s pretty full on for you?
Yeah it is.
How do you go getting to uni, are you training it or car?
Well at the moment I’m based between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, so when I’m down the Goldy I’m just getting the train up which is about an hour and a half each way. So yeah it’s good, I can get some work done on the train I guess.
Do you have a job or anything other than that?
I’m working for my dad out of his fruit and vegetable wholesaling business out of the Brisbane markets, and yeah the hours are pretty crazy but I enjoy doing it.
Wow! Jam-packing everything in!
Yeah it’s been pretty crazy lately, haven’t had the chance to take many good photos.
How long have you been shooting for?
Oh, I’ve always sorta had an interest in it and I started taking it more seriously in 2011 after I had a pretty crazy injury that kept me outta doing anything for about a year, and yeah it just took off from there pretty much.
What sort of injury was it?
Yeah it was crazy, I dislocated and fractured my right hip playing basketball, playing for my first team at school, which was really disappointing. It was actually the second time it’s happened so yeah it was full on, but it was good in a sense, I mean, I picked up a hobby that I’ve carried on now and really developed into a passion.
Exactly. Is your hip okay now though?
Yeah I’m completely fine now, I had a great surgeon and I’m back to doing anything I want to.
That’s so good! Do you have any favourite places for shooting?
Down the Gold Coast tends to stick, I really like Burleigh Point, it’s pretty much where I started shooting and it’s just a place that I really love. There’s so many different ways you can photograph it.
What’s your favourite time of the day to shoot?
I tend to prefer shooting either early in the morning, on first light sunrise, or at the end of the day for the last light sunset. That’s just when you get the best light really. In the middle of the day it’s a bit pointless.
Any favourite people to shoot on the Goldy? Conjured up a little relationship with anyone in the water?
My favourite person to photograph would probably be Mitch Rawlins on the Gold Coast. Just the way he rides a bodyboard and the style that he has developed over the years is, just to me, outstanding, unique, and it’s really photogenic.
Preference between photographing bodyboarders and surfers at all?
I think being on the Gold Coast, there are a lot more surfers than bodyboarders so you have to photograph them. But I like photographing both obviously and just trying to be artistic and different with how I try to approach them.
Ever had a crazy experience or been hurt shooting in the water?
Not so much taking photographs, I only recently got a housing and I’ve only used it a couple of times so I think the heavy experience is still to come.
Give me a timeline of what your set ups have been since 2011.
My parents got me a Nikon D5100 to start out and ran with that for a year and a bit. When I got a job and graduated high school I had a bit more time to shoot and updated my set up and switched to Canon. I got a 7D and a 100-400mm lens and a 17-40.
Preference between Nikon and Canon?
Oh, I can’t say I’m really one-sided but I really got the 7D just for frame rate and everything. I heard that it was just a really solid camera, for sport photography at least.
So what’s your five-year plan, do you want to continue with photography?
I really want to pursue photography or keep it as some aspect of my career pathway. I’m just not sure how so yet, but I think if I keep going at the rate I am now, it’ll just figure itself out.
Exactly, so when do you finish uni?
I’m in second year now and I’ve got two more years after this. So fun times ahead I guess.
Any plans for the weekend at all?
Ah, this weekend I’ll be sitting in my room getting assignments done frantically at the deadline.
Haha… I’m exactly same. Well that’s all I’ve got to ask, have you got any parting comments?
Oh, I mean thanks to you guys for picking me I guess, it’s pretty cool just posting something on Instagram and getting cool responses.
Yeah it’s unreal, have a good arvo.
Yeah thanks, you too.
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 just like Michael Wood here.
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