Roger Sharp, known as Sharpy, is a surf photographer, writer, filmmaker and everything in between. In modern terms he is a one man content factory. He currently shoots and edits Carve Surfing magazine, the UK’s leading surf title. He blogs at surfm.ag and talks nonsense on his Twitter @surf_photo.
He’s happiest when swimming around taking photos in Irish or Scottish barrels.
Could you describe your visual style for those that might not be familiar with your work?
I don’t have a conscious style. I just document surfing and the natural world in all its splendour. I’m always trying to find new angles on things. I’m totally dependant on weather and conditions so it takes a lot of patience to achieve a shot you’ve visualised. Sometimes years.
What are your favourite projects/collaborations you’ve worked on to date?
Best project was probably a three week shoot on a boat in the Mentawai islands with a crew of Britain’s best surfers. It was work but hanging with a bunch of mates in the tropics shooting crazy good waves every day is hard to beat. Shooting the Maldives World Qualifying Series (WQS) event for O’Neill was a good gig for a few years as well.
Who would you love to work with?
Who or what has influenced your work most?
Ted Grambeau, Dean Wilmot, Andrew Shield, Bill Morris, Lee Pegus. Legend Aussie surf photographers that inspired me to be the complete package. Good surf photographers can shoot anything.
What for you makes photography so powerful?
Composition, colour, telling a story. In surfing it transports you. Stirs the ‘I want to go there!’ part of your brain. A good photo can be all it takes to inspire you to plan a trip and end up having amazing experiences.
Which brands do you think do photography well and why?
Surf photography as an industry is dying on its arse. Any brand that supports professional surf photographers gets the nod in my book.
What makes or breaks a photography brief?
Luckily in surfing we don’t tend to deal with briefs very often. It’s always doing what you can with the conditions on hand. I’ve not had many disappointed clients.
If you could learn how to do one new thing what would it be?
I’ve not spent much time doing studio work, as I tend to work outside, so I’d like to learn more lighting techniques.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a photographer?
I was supposed to do a PhD in geology after university but I forgot to go back. Told them I was going surfing for a year then I’d return to do it. Never did.
Any wise words to leave us with?
Never turn your back on the ocean. Share photographers work responsibly. Put down the phone and get a life.