AARON WEBBER – THE MAKERS

On location(s) chasing waves, abalone and portraits.

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Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m really informed by home, it’s hard not to be with the palette and cadence of this place. Though as I learn how to interpret that better I’m always looking for inspiration within the craft itself too, I love the technical side of things. There’s a lot to learn about colour from an optical print by Eggleston, or light and composition from contemporary ceramics. But of course for the most part I’m just on Instagram, I like to keep my eyes on European fashion related stuff and all the American editorial guys contributing to titles like The New York Times/Time Magazine etc. Film too of course, I catch a late session most Sunday nights, pretty much always have the cinema to ourselves!

Describe one of your most challenging moments shooting.
It's always a bit of a physical challenge for me to be honest. I've got an absolute mess of a back with compressions all through it from a spine meets reef situation years ago on the boog, it doesn't take long for things to heat up in there and make me want to call it a day. I've usually got about 3 good hours up my sleeve until it starts screaming at me and I need to stretch out and reset.

Other than that, shooting a from the front of a boat and getting launched really sucks. When the driver gets caught out by a wide set already starting to stand up and feather into the channel and you gotta punch over it. That sinking feeling knowing you're in for a physics lesson and all you can do is hope you and your camera land back in the boat.

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done for a shot?
Been shooting a project on the Western Australian abalone season the last couple of years and sometimes i’ll wade out to get a bit closer with gear that I can’t afford to replace. It’s mostly all happening in knee deep water but the reef is so sharp and uneven, been a few hairy moments where I might have had to sacrifice a bruised butt for a dry camera.

What keeps you motivated/ excited about life?
For me I just staying curious.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned since you started photography?
Access is everything, and you’ve already got all the keys to your own world. Of course you can infiltrate a cultural ecosystem that fascinates you but no matter how familiar or bland it might seem, your own individual little world is so worthy of pointing a camera at and there's nothing more honest than representing your own experience.

 

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Describe your favourite part of the world (aside from home) and tell us why.
The west coast of Africa. I’ve actually never been but I've seen more of coastal Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana on street view than my own city. I really need to get there to make some work. Both thematically and tonally there's colour and texture everywhere you look, with beautiful orange light bouncing around it all.

Who is one of your favourite people to work with and why?
If I’m out shooting personal work I always find it way more enjoyable if I drag someone along with me, it’s usually my younger brother. If I'm not on a job or with a team I really struggle to find purpose in shooting for myself alone, the resulting photographs or eventual dose of validation doesn't seem to be enough to get me out there. Being able to share that explorative process with someone else is so important and just as fulfilling as the work.

What’s your favourite photo (ever / at the moment) and why?
Probably any monograph by Irving Penn, but more specifically 'Worlds in a Small Room (1974)'. He's unpacked all sorts of humanity from every corner of the globe with a sanitary formalism that for me is the perfect balance of visceral documentary and stark editorial that I aspire to, it’s real but refined.

How do you want to be remembered?
I’m not sure it’s that important to me but i’d say far from what I would be remembered for as of right now. So lots of work to do, heaps of life to live.

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