23 February 2018 by Daniel Davis Goff
When the Destination is Unknown an Interview with Ryan Weeratunge
“I have been fortunate to wander across 107 different countries so far. But the one place that stands out by a mile is Africa. There certainly is no place that compares to Africa.”
Please can you explain the idea behind this latest series?
I was sent on assignment to shoot the first campaign for a new Surf Label Ryyon to one remote island in the South Pacific to capture essentially waves not yet ridden by the western man. Mums the word, I can’t disclose the location of this tiny island barely visible on the map, some things are best left as secrets.To get there I had to take a cargo ship, 2x helicopter rides, and 16 hours of hiking by foot to get to these surf breaks, but it was like nirvana when I got there.
Your photography is lead by dark colours. Is there any specificity that you follow when considering the lighting for your shots?
I love moody paintings and photographs, and dark colours and tones really create that feel.
I also still shoot with film with most of my surf work so that also adds to the rich dark tones of my images.
Who do you count among your biggest influences, photographically or otherwise?
I love paintings, it is my favourite from of art. My Grandmother was an incredible painter but unfortunately, I didn’t inherit her painting genes. There are numerous painters that have influenced me since childhood: C. F. Goldie, Eugène Delacroix, Degas, Cézanne, Rembrandt , Berthe Morisot, and of course my grandmother… There’s just too many to name.
What is the appeal of outdoors/travel/water images to you that is not found in other genres, such as portrait or indoor?
The number one thing for me is control. When I’m in the studio I can control everything, from the fashion, models to lighting etc. But when I’m in the water shooting 8ft+ barrels you lose that sense of control and that’s when you are truly free to be in the moment and capture something pretty remarkable.
Which part of the world has been your favourite to photograph currently or where do you hope to travel in the future? Or What is the most inspiring location you’ve visited so far?
I have been fortunate to wander across 107 different countries so far. But the one place that stands out by a mile is Africa. There certainly is no place that compares to Africa. A few years ago I spent 2 years hitching through Africa pretty much covering most of the continent. Photographically Africa is a slap-in-the-face, it’s eye-opening, rich and compelling. It is really the last wild frontier left on earth, and the beauty of this place is your forced to get out of your comfort zone and witness the extraordinary. I try to go back at least once a year, but I will be heading over in a few months to Namibia to shoot a surf campaign, so I’m stoked for that.
Photography © Ryan Weeratunge Follow him on Instagram.