There's an art to capturing those golden moments that surround a surf trip – the vignettes before a session. Maybe it's a solitary trip to the water's edge, or, a clinking of some ice cold chillers to tap the day out, maybe a first look at a remote setup. If caught in front of the right lens, these occasions can be as candid and insightful as the view from inside, say, the tube of a heaving widow maker.
For the past few years, San Jose's Joey Genochio has been capturing those moments, steeped in wanderlust or serenity. Those special, lucid snapshots that we all collectively experience, before and after a drip in the drink, but sometimes, can't quite put our finger on why they mean so much to us.
But we know it's all a part of the journey – a cliché, sure, but it can be these experiences that define a session. Going off road and seeking gold. Hiking for miles and discovering something unique. Joey's new to the game but already curating an Insty presence you're going to want to double tap. So we checked in to see where he draws inspiration from and a run down of his top few shots.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up?
Ok, I’m a 25-year-old photographer from San Jose, California but currently living in Portland, Oregon. After college,I went to work at Nike’s WHQ but after a couple years I decided to leave my cushy desk job and travel, which is where I’m at now.
How did you get into surf photography?
I’ve been tearing out photos from Surfer Mag since I was a kid but never really considered trying it until this summer. I raced over the hill to catch sunset at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. As the light started breaking across the point, I jumped the railing and stood above the surfers with a unique and incredibly close angle, after that first time I was hooked.
But there’s a bit more in your lensmanship, in that, you capture those moments around a surf trip too, candid little exposures that make up our collective experience – what made you want to capture something other than pristine waves?
I think with photography so much can be said in one photo but it's such a saturated space that to differentiate your work - I’ve been focusing on capturing the full story. Whether thats just a fin out of the water, or a surfer loading up his car, there’s so much more beauty the ocean and surfing can offer beyond a nice barrel or cutback.
Are you a surfer as well?
I’m a terrible surfer but right now I'm preparing to shape my own board. So I often just grab my camera and start shooting instead. No matter what kind of day you’re having the ocean will always make it better. Just being in the water, there’s so much going on you don’t have time to think or worry about anything else
What equipment are you using?
I shoot with a Sony a7rii with a 70-200mm f/4 and just recently bought the Aquatech Elite water housing. I’m stoked to start shooting more both above and below the water.
Do you get a chance to travel a lot?
I’ve be been pretty lucky to travel through 21 countries but with surfing in mind I’m planning to get out to New Zealand and Hawaii soon. I’ll be shooting my first surf project, a film in Nicaragua, in spring and cannot wait to get down there.
What are you passionate about showing to the world through your lens?
Anyone can take a good photo or learn to work a camera. It’s a photographer’s unique perspective and editing style that separates them from the rest. I hope that my photography inspires people to get outside and see something new. I’m just interested in going places, seeing new things, and growing from the experience.
How hard is it to stand out in the surf photography gig
It’s definitely tough getting exposure, but it’s really not something I worry about. As I grow in my work, I take my inspiration from established surf photographers like Woody Gooch and Morgan Maassen who’ve made a real art of their craft.
Talk us through four of your favourite shots and the stories behind them
1. Sleep wasn’t an option. At 2:30am I started loading up the car and set out for the Oregon coast two hours away. I arrived just as the sun was rising and hiked in to the beach. There was heavy coastal fog with a very low tide and as other surfers started arriving I took off down the beach to catch this shot.
2. After shooting sunset in Santa Cruz, I thought it was a good idea to immediately drive nine hours down to Cardiff to surf sunrise with my friend. After exploring San Diego all day, we went back for another surf session at sunset. I got out just as the light was getting good and captured some of my favourite shots.
3. I rented a 70-200mm lens and got out to Santa Cruz for sunset. It’s an easy and beautiful spot, talented surfers, solid waves, and golden hour, all from a close vantage point. It was my first time shooting surfing and I couldn’t get enough….just “one more set”