Karl Mackie - Photographer/Designer

When and where did you learn to surf? 
I was 17 years old when I seriously got into surfing, I remember hooking up with the local surf team who also happened to be in the rock band so I was pretty in awe. First ever surf was in South Wales at a beach break called Llangennith. I remember it so well, rolling through the lanes in the big blue van, stopping to let the sheep cross the road!!! Picking up wax in PJ’s Surf Shop, and finally as we drove over the hill, seeing the surf lined up and pumping.
 
What do you love about surfing?
I think surfing changes as you change and evolve as a person, I particularly love how it challenges you, how you can personally set goals at any time you want, but most of all I love the simple pleasure of grabbing a board and jumping in the sea and being surrounded by nature. Now I have kids, I’m sharing the stoke with them as they begin to learn and take in their surroundings which is the biggest stoke of all.
 
Do you have a session that stands out as your most memorable?
So many over the years, the session that sticks in my head the most was in Cornwall on a cold, rainy February, just me and a mate out at Penhale, the surf was overhead and super consistent, I remember the surreality of hell stones coming down through the mist, while the sets were rolling in from behind. 
 
Where is your favourite place in the world that your job has taken you?
For many years LA was an experience I will never forget, I based myself in the Bell Bleu motel in Santa Monica and worked in Burbank Studios, but in recent years, it’s been all about Byron Bay. The people I have met there and the vibe has been inspiring to say the least, it feels a lot like my home town of Cornwall.
 
How did you first get into photography?
When I was a kid I was always into photography, my grandfather used to have quite a collection of old cameras which I actually have today, so I was always around photography, constantly snapping away and documenting my friends, and later on when we could all drive I would document our surf trips, some might say I never really stopped documenting.
 
What sort of education have you had?
I went to Art School and studied Design.
 
What was your very first job?
While I was studying I worked at a printers in the design studio, back when all creativity stemmed from the drawing board, It was here I learnt all about darkroom techniques and exposures. Which looking back have been priceless skills I have never forgotten, I ended up staying with company after my studies ended for a few more years, which saw the introduction of Apple Mac's and ultimately the demise of the traditional ways of that studio sadly.
 
What is your current job and what does it entail?
I am the Creative Director and Founder of Mackie Studio, a leading creative agency focussing on photography, design for website and print media, brand identity and creative illustration. We work a lot in the surf industry establishing brand identities and creating a lifestyle through our photography, handplanes and surfboards. I started the business 4 years ago with a vision to create an agency that represented Cornwall and surfing, everything that I loved doing, sitting alongside photography and design. It’s been incredible to see the business grow as a brand over the last 2 years, and as the creative eye in the company I get to work on the identity and vision for where we see ourselves going in the future, which at this point is incredibly exciting to be a part of.
 
What do you like most about your job?
That I am working in Cornwall, close to the beach, meeting people, doing what I have always loved.
 
Who has had the biggest influence in your career?
Professionally It would be the studio manager from my very first job, Dave Tarling who’s working values and friendship has never been forgotten. Closer to home my brother in law Christian has been an enormous help and influence to me in recent years. 
 
Where can we find you online? 

Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on December 11, 2013
Categories: Interviews

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