Russell Ord

Published 4/10/2017

How did you get into photography? What made you pursue it?

I injured my knee surfing and instead of just sitting on the lounge for a few months I picked up a camera and started taking photos of mates (surfing), the passion grew from there, surfing has become quite competitive and crowded so being re-united with that feeling of freedom especially when your swimming out alone was more of an incentive than jostling for waves.


What fascinates you about the ocean?

Being out in the middle of the ocean gives me time to reflect and think without any distractions, all your sensors seem to be ultra sensitive to what’s happening around you. I always thought that I loved photography however lately I discovered it was the feeling of photography, I put the camera away at times and just float to take everything in, I imagine it’s the same feeling a climber has when alone on a mountain, nothing except themselves and a powerful environment.


Your biggest inspiration?

I am a very internally driven person to be better at what ever I do, the biggest inspirations that me help achieve those goals are my family, without them I very doubt I would have made it this far with my photography, especially my wife Catherine, I have had a few self doubt moments over the years and she gets me through them with new ideas and positivity.


How did "One Shot" Documentary happen? What is it?

My good friend Darren McCagh had just started out filming and I was talking about pushing my own boundaries in surf photography and he suggested we document the process for a three minute web clip, from there it somehow grew two heads and became a half hour documentary featured on the ABC in Australia and now going around the world. The basic concept of One Shot is the story and effort that goes into trying to achieve a so-called impossible surf shot, the highs and lows.


From a fire fighter to a photographer - that's an incredible journey! Biggest setback that you can recall?

The biggest setback was certainly myself, having to give up the security of the fire-brigade to pursue a creative photography career was a tough decision that took me years to make, no doubt that word security holds back a lot of people pursing their dreams however in my eyes its better to just go for it and have no regrets. Failure in my eyes is when you don’t actually make an effort (or even start) if you have a real go and it does not work so be it, lessons will be learnt and then you move on and try again.


What equipment do you shoot with currently?

My whole kit is made up of Fuji gear along with Aquatech waterhousings, I love the size and quality of the mirror-less cameras for traveling. One thing I have become good at over the years its justifying my purchases and knowing my clients needs otherwise I would have a room full of toys.


How often do you travel - your favourite place to surf?

This year I have not done any surf related trips, all my work has been creating content for brands / travel magazines and tourism, I branched into these regions six or so years ago when I could see how the surf industry was becoming. I am on the road at the moment traveling through New Zealand and have been overseas roughly six times this year with a few more to come. I love to surf the Margaret River region however the past few months I have been surfing on my own throughout New Zealand which has been an amazing experience.


What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years?

I have recently done a few talks (scares me but slowly getting better) I would like to up skill in this area plus do some more mentoring and become a creative director, I love new ideas and collaborations so basically I am up for anything.

Your dream project?

I donate work and time to a number of Ocean based organizations and would love to document a major process / movement from start to finish which ends in a cleaner and healthier environment. Having images that really make a difference to someone’s life would be truly amazing.


Please tell us about some of the most memorable moments from the documentary shoot.

I had a major goal of getting this certain image in my head, which I knew could be done with the correct preparation and I always thought that would be the moment that means the most however looking back it was the journey along the way and the lessons learnt that I enjoyed the most.


What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

Being in business doing what I love, I wont sugar coat it, photography is a very tough market to be a full time professional and we have had our moments of doubt but being able to adapt while still keeping that creative vision and desire is a lifestyle we love to live.


Any word of advice for photographers wanting to follow your footsteps?

I meet a lot of people that say “ I am going to do this”, “I am going to do that”, I am not a fan of that type of talk and encourage people just to make a start with action. I still make weekly, monthly and long term goals that I work towards on a daily basis. Effort equals reward and nothing happens overnight so don’t get discouraged and remember we all started from scratch.

IG: @russellordphoto

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