PHOTOGRAPHER INSIGHT: Youth Of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Blaze Roberts
Blaze Roberts: Runner Up in the 2018 Mermaid Society Surf Photographer Search
Native to the Northern Beaches of Sydney, 16 year old Blaze Roberts bought herself a Canon camera at age 12 to take photos of her friends surfing. Blaze surfs nearly everyday, and when she is not in the water she is hanging on the beach jamming to music and taking photos. Her photography is a display of some of the best swells that have hit the Northern Beaches in recent years
Surfing her entire life has inspired her to pick up the camera and document the surfers in her backyard. What surfer doesn’t love a friend that nails a shot of their best wave from the day? Blaze lives for the smiles on fellow surfers faces when they finally get a solid photo of them charging.
DAY IN THE LIFE
I love Australia’s laid back, beachy lifestyle and I couldn’t imagine growing up not going to the beach every day. I love the stinking hot summers and crowded beach days. I love surfing in a bikini and spending the whole of summer in denim shorts and bare feet. It’s the perfect lifestyle to live. My friends and I are always finding new ways to have fun in the water, whether it’s taking the GoPro for a swim, chain hanging when it gets big, going to jump rock or going tandem on longboards.
ONCE’A SWELL 2016
This swell was definitely unbelievable. On Monday 6th June 2016, I started the day off in my school uniform but there was no way I was going to school that day once I saw the ocean. North Avalon Carpark was crowded with locals and everyone was hooting and hollering at every barrel or wipeout. I couldn’t set my camera up quick enough.
I took over 1000 photos that day and it wasn’t until I got home and went through them that I realized one wave stood out from the others. That was the photo I got of Lachie Roumbotus’s massive wave. Honestly, at the time I didn’t take in how amazing that wave was because I was just looking at it through my little viewfinder. Locals have informally named this wave the “biggest wave ever ridden at North Avalon”. I feel like I’ve looked at that photo too many times myself to see it as my best work, although it still has a great story behind it. SEE ALSO: The Once’A Swell Documentary
I’ve been a surfer my whole life. I wouldn’t have taken up photography in the first place if it wasn’t for my surfing. I’ve been surfing since I was four, competing since I was about nine and have been sponsored since I was 13. My whole family are surf driven and our lives revolve around the surf.
At the moment, only being 16, I’m just enjoying my photography as a bit of a hobby and some fun. I’ve always had other plans for my future but lately it seems like a career in photography is possible for me. I just want to continue discovering new, big, exciting surf spots and surfers to shoot. I’ve always been so intrigued by photographing big wave surfing because it makes it so exciting for me to shoot and watch. Ultimately, one day I would love to go to Nazaré, Portugal.!! The other spots would have to be Shipsterns Bluff in, Tasmania and The Right in, Western Australia.
I’d love to try shooting photographing in the water, but it doesn’t look easy. I have so much respect for the girls and guys that get out there with just flippers and their cameras in big surf. We’ll see what happens I guess.
FATE OF SURF PHOTOGRAPHY
I think the future involves pairing up with surfers more so than we are doing now. I think social media, in particular Instagram will be heavily relied on by people as a source of income and self-promotion. There Due to the fact that there are so many rising photographers in the surfing world, photographers will end up having to work closely with the surfers as a partnership to ensure theywe can get the best shots.
Blaze was a runner-up in the 2018 Mermaid Society Surf Photographer Search presented by Braven. Her three images were selected as highly recommended by the seven judges including; Fran Miller, Brooke Farris, Leah Dawson, Cait Mears, Kirstin Scholtz, Amber Mozo and Fiona Mullen. View the 20 finalists HERE.
Check out more of Blaze’s work on her Instagram.