|July 1, 2011 | SHRED||Posted by Robbie|
Robbie Warden catches up with 28 year old photographer, Stu Gibson, on life after the Big Break and his digital brainchild TheCollective.net.
You’ve had the opportunity to travel the world taking images of incredible waves, views, landscapes and people. What’s your main highlights and why?
One main highlight would have to be the friends and characters you meet along the way. Half of my really good friends I would never have met if I wasn’t travelling and taking photos. Sometimes I’ll be on a trip somewhere, and you take a moment and think how the hell did I get here? I’m on the other side of the planet, usually to surf. That’s pretty rare and to call it a job is really cool.
How did growing up in Tasmania influence your direction? You and your friends seem to be pretty bloody nuts…
The more I travel, the more peculiar looks I get when I tell someone I’m from Tasmania. It’s that same look in their eye and always a pse in conversation, “oooohh really” (pretending they know something about it) but people are always genuinely interested in hearing about the place. I’m proud to have grown up in Tasmania and all of my closest friends have got a similar outlook on life. There is nothing easy about surfing in Tasmania, it takes over your life! You have to be really patient but at the same time, ready to go and froth harder than ever. Tasmania is 2 ft or 20ft, there is no in between, which is very similar to our personalities. “She’s On” as the boys would say, or its not.
You won the Nestle Big Break a few years ago, how did that help shape your career?
When it happened I was super busy campaigning trying to win the thing, then all of a sudden it was over. When I look back I probably didn’t realise at the time how much that would change my path. If I didn’t win it, I’m not sure I would still be shooting professionally, it was exactly what the name describes, a Big Break! It took a huge load off and I was able to buy the gear I needed to compete with the masses.
You recently arrived back from a snow trip in Utah, obviously there’s a lot of differences between surf and snow. What did you find most interesting about shooting there?
Utah was amazing! I was snowboarding with friends on an amazing resort, then had the privilege to go to Alaska and shoot some skiing and boarding. I’ve loved snowboarding all my life, probably more then surfing to tell you the truth, so I’m trying to combine the two. Alaska was the best place I have ever been. We were heli skiing, the mountain ranges are simply unbelievable. You can’t describe it, you just have to go there. I’ve never felt so small and useless in my life, those mountains will crush you in a second.
TheCollective.net. has been a great space to feature your work as well as friends’. How has that helped gain exposure and sales for your photographic services?
Yeah it’s a digital world and images have to be seen, so why sit on hard drives packed with unseen images? Get them out there! Exposure is a sure thing just by having images available. I’ve recently turned it into a more of a Tasmanian surf site. If anything, it keeps me motivated to take more photos.
You pioneered the discovery of the Ship Sterns Bluff with the likes of Marti Paradisis, the Hollmer-Cross boys and a barrage of other crazy watermen. Where’s next for you and the southern ocean adventurers?
We still have a few spots up our sleeves, Tassie is all about the perfect swell. We call it ‘stand by’ when the perfect day finally comes, let’s just hope I’m home.
Complete this sentence: I shoot because…
My brain can’t remember all the good times in life!