Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Tal Lemmens. I am a 27 year old ocean photographer, based along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
What inspires your creative vision?
I was jolted into photography through one of my best friends about 10 years ago, purchasing my first DSLR. With no formal training I stumbled around a camera for about 3-4 years before really grasping the fundamentals. A large part of my interest in photography came from my old boy and looking back on his surf trips. I remember flicking through old film photos and being able connect to the moment.
There was and still is something special about literally grasping a printed photograph... the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, resonates with me greatly. I try to encapsulate this notion in my work now, encouraging people to connect with the moment I have captured.
Do you think you need to be a surfer to shoot the ocean?
I wouldn’t say it is a necessity, but being familiar with the ocean can definitely assist in the creative process. You learn to read the ocean and its moods, which ultimately helps with capturing images. Being confident in the ocean is particularly important when shooting dicey surf spots from the ocean. Additionally, I think being exposed to surf magazines is also an important part of growing as a photographer, you see the quality of images and it gives you something to aspire too.
How would you describe your current photographic style?
I like to think my work is expressive of how I am feeling. I really like to work with hand held slow shutter in the ocean. It’s a tricky style to shoot, but when you nail an image it is a truly rewarding experience. I am particularly drawn to using natural light. Sunsets and sunrise are the times I choose to shoot on most occasions. I rarely shoot in midday light. Lighting depicts the mood and style encapsulated in any image.
How do you maintain your enthusiasm for photography?
I don’t… I can sometimes step away from a camera for months and focus on body boarding. I get frustrated just like most photographers, but I think this is what fuels the fire for me in order to continually chase certain images I have in my mind. I think having space from a camera is an important process for me. More recently one of my good mates has begun taking photos, it’s always fun sharing epic moments with a camera and comparing images. Photography is not my main source of income, which I think benefits me in a sense that I am not pressured to capture images for external purposes. For me photography is an outlet, an expression of self which helps me connect with the present.
Finally do you have any advice for aspiring ocean photographers?
Don’t be afraid to fail, in saying this it is important to continually grow your skills through this process. By nature, I am critical of my work. For me this is healthy in building refined images I am happy with. Post editing is another step of photography that is crucial. Take the time to learn post editing platforms. But mostly, look at photographers that inspire you and allow this to fuel your fire to chasing better and more unique images.