I love shooting people in the ocean. Much to the panic of some of my makeup artist friends (sorry Leya) who I regularly send into feinting spells as I splash around with 20k in gear in the water, jumping over waves, to get the shot. It’s almost always fine…almost.
I asked Daryl, “Ocean or lake. What feels like home?” He didn’t know why I was asking, he just answered back, “Ocean, definitely ocean.” “Ok, cool. I’m throwing you in the ocean for our shoot.” We drove out to Malibu absurdly early for a Sunday. It was perfectly moody – June gloom was in full effect. We ran around the beach for a little bit, playing on rocks and kicking sand. But I knew the goal was water and that’s where the shots were going to be. Sometimes, for me, the first half of a shoot is about getting someone comfortable with the idea of me having a camera in my hands. Then it’s a part of me and they see right past it and we can really create.
At one point, I put the camera down, “Ready to get wet?” Daryl came alive. He went running into the ocean and never looked back. He was so game for an experience. Something different happens to each person thrown into water in clothes. For Daryl, he became intensely present. He was completely at home in the water and used it. I’ve shot a lot of people in the ocean – it’s a very common reaction to be shocked by the the environment – waves hit you, it’s cold, everything in the water is uncertain. Hilarious faces are pretty common when you’re shooting in an environment like that. But that never happened with Daryl. He became a part of his surroundings and made it work for him. He used that uncertainty and channeled those parts of himself. I love these photos. There’s something dark and playful about them.