Digby Ayton: Young, Free, Alright!

11 Jun 2013 1 Share

The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette 

Interview by Dan Caban

Isn’t it kind of rad to see a young dude working like a dog to follow his passions? Tassie photographer Digby Ayton slaves down at the local grocery store so he can afford his cameras and lenses, then pulls on a super thick wettie and goes out to shoot in near freezing temperatures. Talk about commitment. He has already had double page spreads in Surfing World, sold his own work for sweet cash money dollars and now got himself a place as our next candidate for Young, Free, Alright!


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CW: What’s it like shooting surf photography in Tasmania?

DA: It’s good; it’s definitely colder than everywhere else. But it’s really nice ’cause often there's less people around and it’s a lot more remote and the places are a lot nicer.  Well I think so anyway.

Is there a big surf community to shoot?

There are a fair few like older guys that are pretty good and a few young guys that are coming through. There are good waves. More often than not there is good surfers.

Are you all a tight group?

Yeah it is really small. Especially in winter, ’cause not that many people surf in winter. But its good knowing everyone and being part of it.

What’s it like in winter?

We pretty much just have to rug up. Everyone has big jackets and stuff here. It’s not that bad really, sometimes it actually really nice. When I go swimming and that I just have to wear a real thick wetsuit and hood and gloves and booties I suppose. It is kinda nice.

Do you shoot much in the water?

Yeah I got a housing at the start of this year so I've been getting in heaps and its really fun. I’ve got a beach down the road which has this little shore break which is kinda fun shooting. Yeah, I've just been trying to get in as much as possible. It’s a bit cold these days but still.

How do you afford to pay for the housing?

Well i'm only in grade 12 at the moment and I just work at the grocery store to pay for my camera gear. Around twice a week normally. I sell a couple of photos here and there which is helpful as well.

How does it feel when you sell a photo?

It’s great, it’s really good. Its great to earn a bit of money from doing something you love, you know? Yeah it’s great fun.

Is it hard to get the exposure needed when you’re living in Tasmania?

Yeah it is a little, ‘cause it’s not as big and not as many people and all that so it makes it hard. I try and send out photos to mags and that every now and again if they’re good enough. I’d like to try to get down to Shippies and that. That’d be good, and shoot from the water there or something, ’cause there are a lot of good guys that go down there. That’d be nice with the big waves.

Have you had many trips?

I do a fair bit; cause if you want to get good waves here it’s a bit of an adventure. I live in Hobart and on the east coast it’s real nice and there are some good waves. Down the bottom of Tassie too. They’re some good trips.

Talk us through your double page in Surfing World a few months ago.

I was so stoked. I sent it in a couple of weeks before and they didn’t send me a reply but then I got this message saying it was going to be run as a double. I was stoked. I didn’t actually know who the surfer was, but then one of the photographers from down here knew who it was so we got in touch with him as well. I was real happy.

Have you had any other shots run anywhere?

Yeah I couple on the surf forecast websites and that. Just things like that. Not much really. I'd like to get some more.

What would you like to do after you leave school?

I'd like to continue on with my photography. I’d also like to take a gap year and travel overseas and still take photos. Go to somewhere like Indo or Fiji. That’d be real nice. I don’t know, just keep having fun and enjoying it, see where it takes me.

Do you want to be a surf photographer?

Not sure. I would like it but I’m not sure if I want to do it as like a proper living or just do it on the side kind of. Just shoot where and when I want, and have a normal job. We will see.

Are there any photographers you like?

I really like Trent Mitchell at the moment, and guys like Chris Burkard. I really like their work. But there are so many these days, so many good photographers it’s real hard to pick. But those guys are my favourite probably.

To follow Digby's work take some time out of your day, maybe even put on some nice music, and slowly click through the large range of impressive pixels he has on his site over here.

Young, Free, Alright! is a new editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette. Once a fortnight we'll be showcasing and profiling a young and up-and-coming photographer, filmmaker, blogger, artist, musician, shaper, surfer or whatever that we've been digging. The rad and creative groms of Australian surfing. Alright!

To see more Young, Free, Alright! profiles click here.

Tags: young free alright , interview , gallery , tasmania , photography , photographer , digby ayton (create Alert from these tags)

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