Jason Childs - Photojournalist
Jason Childs is one of the sports finest surf photographers in the world. He has captured all sorts of surf moments and spots, and worked along with the best of the surfing industry over his distinguished career. He established his basecamp in Indo for more than 20 years, and had the amazing opportunity to work with the locals and the breathtaking landscapes of the country. Childs's photos tell a story, they showcase the amazing grace and magic of the Balinese surfers and the reality of our footprint on nature.
Tell us a bit about you
I’m an Australian photojournalist. I’m as passionate about exploring and traveling to new destinations documenting human interest, scenic, cultural and indigenous images, as I am about capturing surf, hard news, disasters, beach lifestyle and wave images.
Jason Childs with Made Sumerta (friend and jetski driver/assistant photographer) at Padang by Lance Slabbert
What is it that you like about the surf and the ocean?
I have always been obsessed about the visual world. I like to capture the definitive moment of every situation and the ocean is always challenging and changing. It’s where I feel at peace with myself and at home.
Jason surfing at Bells - pic by WSL photographer Trevor Moran
What was your first job?
I honed my skills as a photojournalist at The Age Newspaper in Melbourne, Australia where I worked for 10 years. It was an amazing time to be a “press photographer” and the perfect training and discipline to becoming a professional photographer.
Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Photographers like Ted Grambeau, Art Brewer and Aaron Chang were my inspirations. The healthy and amazing lifestyle that doing this allows you has always kept me wanting to be part of it. It allows me to indulge my passions- my love of the ocean, my photography and my surfing.
Do you travel much because of work?
I travelled a lot before children came into my life. I was lucky to spend most of my 20 odd years in Indonesia travelling and then yearly visits to Hawaii and sometimes-other countries.
From the places you have surfed/visited, which one is your favorite so far?
I have a long association and history with Nihiwatu (Occys Left), from both a personal and professional perspective. It was one of the first remote locations I visited in 1990. I have created many nostalgic and memorable images at Nihiwatu and Sumba and I feel these images transport you to another place and time to experience the fascinating culture, dramatic scenery and surf of Nihiwatu and Sumba. There’s nowhere else in the world like it!
What do you love most about your job?
The freedom and the changing landscape of the ocean and everything that it encompasses! Capturing that definitive moment. After all these years shooting I’m still excited and motivated to capture the definitive and artistic moment or mood of anyone enjoying a wave, no matter their skill level or the craft they ride.
Is there a particular project you will always remember?
I’m working on producing a book and photo exhibition from the 3 trips I’ve done over the last 2 years to the remote islands of Indonesia’s Pacific Ocean. The locals kids and landscape have inspired me like I was inspired in my early trips to Indonesia. Photographing amazing and visually unique images of a “Surfing Culture” in its purest form. It is definitely some of the best and most unique images I have ever shot. Children surfing on wooden plank style boards- it’s akin to the Hawaiians 100’s of years ago. I have never seen anything like this anywhere else in Indonesia. I’ve have a love affair with the Pacific Ocean islands of Indonesia that started back in the early 2000’s with a trip I did up there with the Rip Curl “A Search Team”. That trip only scratched the surface a little.
You work as senior staff photographer for Surfer Magazine, how does your daily schedule look like?
Well my current schedule is all over the place! I’ve just moved back to Australia up on the Northern NSW coast and it’s a big culture shock after living in the tropics in Bali for over 20 years. So I’m back and forth at the moment between here and Indonesia. My daily life in Bali consisted on being at the beach at dawn (in order to miss the peak hours crush and rush on Bali’s maddening roads) to surf or shoot depending if I was shooting, chasing a swell or shooting on assignment for Surfer, other mags or companies. Spended all day at the beach and sneaked a surf when I could. The days were long and sometimes I wouldn’t roll in till after 7-8pm (sunset time is around 6:30pm all year). Ate dinner and edited! Then get up and do it again!
What is your advice for people aiming to pursue a career in the surf industry?
Its such a different “surf industry” now to when I started over 30 years ago! Make sure you diversify your skills and follow your dreams!
Exciting plans for the future?
I’ve closed another chapter and now I’m opening another that will hopefully keep me busy enjoying my passion for the next 20 years, keep me surfing and paying the bills! I’ll keep working with the “surf stars of the Industry” when the jobs come up, but I’ve started a new business bringing my photographic professionalism, knowledge and skills that compliments some of the high end resorts and surf travel agents like Tropicsurf philosophy. It offers luxury clientele a unique and personal experience to take home “once in a lifetime images” as memories of a truly amazing experience.
Where can we find you online?
Posted by: Marta Gallardo, on July 25, 2016
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