Harrison Dancaster - Photographer

When and where did you start surfing?
Ah crap. I can never remember how old exactly I was. I think I was around 9 years old, surfing at home, Freshwater Beach.

What is it that you love about surfing and the ocean?
I like everything about it. Literally. Apart from crowds, living on the Northern beaches of Sydney this place is like a warzone. I think these days I’m having more fun though because I don’t take it for granted as much as I used to.

How and when did you first get into photography?
Well I was living in Melbourne for 8 years and most weekends a few mates and myself would venture up and down the coast to surf. I always wanted to have a camera to play around with but it wasn’t until I moved back to Sydney. That was when I bought my first one. From there on I started shooting the local boys and eventually I started learning loads of new things. I began to get exposure with my photos and it’s come along nicely ever since.


Is it something that you always wanted to do as a career?
I wasn’t really interested in being a photographer until around 2 years ago. Photography came quite late to me at the age of 16. I was your typical kid, wanting to surf for a living and travel. I knew pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to go far in surfing, which is when I found the passion in photos.

What is some of your go-to gear at the moment?
At the moment my Canon Ae-1 is my favourite. I recently got back from Indonesia where I decided to shoot all film. The thing is magical. Then again, digital is always fun. Especially these days the quality of SLR’s is out of hand. So is the price.

Do you have a favourite spot or surfer to shoot?
I don’t have a favourite surfer to shoot, yet. I think there are a whole lot of surfers that are good for separate strengths. One wave I surfed recently in Bali would have to be my favourite to shoot for sure; only problem is that I haven’t shot it yet. That place is crazy how photogenic it is and I’m planning to be back over there in no time. I usually travel down the south coast compared to going up north. There are definitely some spots down there that can produce.

There is no denying that it is a pretty competitive market, how do you go about standing out from the crowd?
Yeah for sure, it is definitely getting more competitive as well. I don’t really try and think about it, if you’re good at something you will most likely be recognized for it and some people are lucky enough to make a career out of it. At the moment I’m still finding my feet and although things have been going good lately, I still have a lot to learn.

What do you love about your job?
I love the freedom, working for myself and deciding where I want to go.

Are there any photographers that you look up to?
Matt O’Brien has an unbelievable style, which I try learn from a lot. Andrew Schoener is another guy that I look up to; he shoots a lot of film in and out of the water. A good mate of mine Brendon Back got me onto shooting film, also showing me Andrew’s work, which I owe him for that. Nate Lawrence is definitely someone to nail the shot wherever it may be as well.

If you could photograph anything or anybody in the world, what/ who would it be?
Mexico….. I’d go to Mexico, with just the one camera & the one lens. I would shoot it all on my 35mm film camera.

Are there any projects that you're working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Only minor projects at the moment, I’m putting together a new short film for a local shaper from home. I’ve been trying to fill up my website with new content as well.

Where can we find you online? 

Website: www.coastalwatch.com
Vimeo: vimeo.com/harrisondancaster
Instagram: instagram.com/harrison_dancaster


Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on May 9, 2014
Categories: Interviews