Longtime Riptide contributor and super-talented lensman Luke Shadbolt has entered the new world of photography exhibitions and his first offering, entitled Maelstrom, is nothing short of brilliant.

Photographed during a big swell at a secret location, Shadbolt documents the raw power and vicious relationship between the ocean, the weather and the coastline. The result is some of the more interesting ocean/coastline photography we have seen in recent times.

Riptide caught up with Mr Shadbolt to find out the method and inspiration behind his amazing images.

Interview by Michael Saunders | Photos by Luke Shadbolt 

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Tell us how you got the shots, was it luck?

I’d been planning this shoot for about a year, waiting for the right conditions. There was definitely an element of luck in that you can’t predict what the wave is going to do, you have to just be prepared and try and decipher the swell lines rolling through and be ready for the action. It’s almost a form of nature photography, obviously it is nature, but I mean that you have to just spend countless hours waiting for the right combination of elements.

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“Perfect waves are great, but chaos is more interesting, for me right now anyway. Chaos is only more interesting because it is fleeting. It’s the constant changing cycles that is what really makes things interesting.”

Tell us about the concept behind the exhibition as well as the name Maelstrom?

After chasing perfection for the last five years or so, I was starting to become a little bit desensitised to it and realised that I was becoming far more interested in the more chaotic style of waves. I guess it actually stemmed from back when I first started shooting bodyboarding when what got me excited was shooting fisheye in as crazy a wave as I could find.

Perfect waves are great, but chaos is more interesting, for me right now anyway. It’s the concept of contradiction and balance, creation and destruction in a single act. Yin and Yang. Chaos is only more interesting because it is fleeting. It’s the constant changing cycles that is what really makes things interesting. By analysing the cycles that cause these chaotic events, the idea is to draw a link from that back to humanities unending quest to control nature, but realistically not understanding or respecting it and the naivety in that.

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Why did you decide to have an exhibition?

I’d had opportunities to exhibit in the past but was never satisfied with the work I had to show, mainly because it was a bit all over the place and didn’t share a singular story or concept. Shooting this series was a conscious move to create a body of work with a cohesive meaning, that I was happy to share with the world.

I love to look at both sides of a story and nature is always at the core of everything I do. All my commercial work, I try and push to have it on location or even bring in a water element where possible.

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Do you still do surfing/bodyboarding photography or have you moved on?

I still love to shoot surfing and bodyboarding. I try and do at least one or two trips a year still, last year it was Tahiti and a couple of east coast road trips, this year I’m hoping to get back over the Ireland or Brazil if time permits.

When and where is the exhibition and how can people get a hold of these amazing photos?

The exhibition is live now at Michael Reid Gallery Sydney until the 28th of may. The Gallery is open wednesday to saturday, 11am-5pm. For more info check out michaelreid.com.au

Cheers Shaddy!

Thanks legends!

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