Most photographers dream of being recognized on a large scale for their work. But for Russell Ord, an Australian-based, internationally awarded photographer, action on dreams means the creation of a new reality.
Ord specializes in putting himself in harm’s way to capture images of world-class surfers, but has also shot other genres, commercially and editorially. Ord’s long list of clients include BMW, Patagonia, Jeep, Surfer Mag, ESPN, and The Surfers Journal, among others.
According to Sean Doherty, senior writer at SURFER Magazine: “As a surfing photographer, Russ is a special kind of maniac. He lives out there on the boundary between shootable and deadly, and too often has risked his neck to swim out and immortalize some of the heaviest water ever shot. But plonked out there in the middle of a wild, old ocean, he also has a subtle skill for giving that chaos certain poignancy and feeling, and that skill doesn’t come easy.”
In Farmhouse Films’ latest documentary, which is featured on Red Bull TV, Ord’s attitude and ambition that Doherty speaks of is prevalent in the photographer’s pursuit to capture that perfect “one shot.”
One of my favorite aspects of this documentary and of Ord and his work, is his ability to capture remarkable images even in the most severe conditions. Due to the nature of his specialization and interests, Ord is rarely, if ever, found in a photo studio. Rather, he can be seen in the ocean’s enormous waves while at the mercy of the water’s relentless, life-threatening tides. To me, this is what makes the genres of outdoor, action, and adventure photography so special. Rather than sit in a controlled space, the outdoor photographer has to work in nature’s unpredictable elements while also being a master behind the lens.
One theme that sticks out to me the most in this documentary revolves around the idea of dreaming versus doing. Early in the video, Ord states that there are dreamers and doers, and there are too many dreamers. Personally, I know countless creatives who dream of becoming professionals in their chosen medium. But they have little true ambition and don’t take enough action on their hopes and goals. Although Ord experiences many downfalls and failures, his drive never seems to dwindle. His pursuit of a dream creates a work ethic and motivation that turns his dreams into reality. For Ord, photography became a profession because of his attitude and his willingness to work hard and not give up.
Watch the trailer above or view the full video at Red Bull TV to see what it means to be a doer in the photography world and to understand the life of a professional surf photographer.
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