All too often we inherit our life choices, sometimes they are thrust upon us or prescribed to us by society and family, sometimes we follow the dogma of education. To pursue those choices and passions of our own volition is a rare gift, but when we find that calling and are able to call it a career, we should chase it to the horizons.
Warwick Gow has grown up on the Sunshine Coast, but for a short stint in Mackay, and salt water runs in his veins. His father, a keen amateur diver, had horded his old gear away with the onset of family life, but the treasure trove was rediscovered by Warwick just a few years ago:
“I didn’t really start taking photos until 2010 when I found Dad’s old Nikonos-V in the shed. He had it to document his time in the ocean and it seemed fitting that I’d do the same when I found it so I started driving to the beach every chance I got to take photos.”
Unlike his old man, it was the surface of the water, not its hidden depths, that attracted Warwick
But unlike his old man, it was the surface of the water, not its hidden depths, that attracted Warwick and he avidly began shooting surfers and the ocean’s movements.
“Even before I surfed or had any intention to surf I used to buy Tracks just for the photos of all those coastlines and to hear the stories of the people who had ventured to them. I started to shoot surfing because I was curious about everything involved in the pursuit and still really am. I’m pretty fortunate for all the people I’ve met and have become friends with along the way.”
Although much of his photography has been confined to the Sunshine Coast, this certainly hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm or the growth of his talent. Explorations close to home have still given a wealth of material, and a few tales of adventure in the mix:
“Unfortunately I haven’t travelled anywhere too exotic yet other than frequent trips up and down the east coast. Shooting at home’s been good to me though, regardless of how infrequent good swells are here.
Forcing us to wait in the pouring rain under a cheap sun shelter tent listening to the Beatles as we rationed our last beer over the four-hour wait to be rescued
“One impromptu trip to double island to shoot and surf left us stranded in the middle of a storm with only one photo being taken all day. We kooked it; a heavy southerly turned what could have a been fun surf into small slop as the offshore took the top off any piece of swell. We made the most of it, waiting for the tide to drop so we could head home, but the tide never went out. Our little 4×4 did its best in trying to get us back but was swamped going through a crossing, stalling the engine just as a little ripple swept underneath, sinking the car to its doors and forcing us to wait in the pouring rain under a cheap sun shelter tent listening to the Beatles as we rationed our last beer over the four-hour wait to be rescued.”
Surfing is his first love, but a feisty and passionate mistress has surfaced in fashion photography and Warwick’s portfolio is expanding exponentially.
Aiming to complete his degree in journalism this year, Warwick’s photography has been asked to take a back seat, though it is demanding to ride shotgun.
Published in the Australian surf mag Foam Symmetry and achieving runner-up place in the Student category of the 2013 Monster Children Photo competition, Warwick’s passion, it seems, is heavily pregnant with his future career.
Words by Thomas Leitch, Images Warwick Gow