Getting To Know Waz

Getting To Know Waz

Please introduce yourself in 20 words or less - 
I am a seascape and ocean photographer living on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. 

Was photography your first career choice?
For over a decade I was a guitarist in an original heavy rock band before picking up a camera in 2010. I thought I was going to make music for the rest of my life so if you told me back then I would be running my own gallery and making a living off of making pictures I would have had a good laugh. I was also a self taught web developer and designer and used what I learnt to delve into image making. I still only use the term 'career' very lightly.

How did you go from photography being a hobby to doing it full time?
I originally purchased my first camera to become a fishing photojournalist and ended up contributing to number of fishing and lifestyle magazines for a couple of years. My focus soon turned to landscapes and eventually after adding a water housing to my collection I discovered a love of ocean photography. From exposure at various markets and exhibitions I was able to turn my hobby into my career and eventually opened a photo gallery. I have been operating from my store in Wollongong since 2013. I created opportunities and took risks and believed in what I could achieve - so far it's worked out.

What is the favourite part of your work?
It’s the escape, pure and simple. Just being out in the ocean alone, creating images with water and light and allowing my mind to switch off is like a drug. Coming home with an image I'm happy with is a bonus.

Over the last few years what type of photography work have you been doing?
I try not to lock myself into any single genre of photography. I'm always learning new techniques with different equipment and it has definitely opened doors with many commercial and personal clients over the past few of years. Apart from running my own gallery, I've started to travel more frequently in order to experience and photograph different parts of the Australian coastline and its inhabitants. However, the majority of my work and happiness comes from interpreting light and moving ocean water.

Are there any projects you are working on at the moment?
I have been working on a new collection of abstract works to hopefully portray the beautiful and often unseen, crazy and intricate moments I see whilst I'm out in the water. After breaking my leg last year I was stuck in a boot and on crutches for over three months. I went from swimming and shooting almost daily, to nothing. Being land locked and unable to shoot water I experienced some of the darkest moments of my life. I guess these images are a translation of what I experienced through that process.

What type of gear are you using at the moment and what is the one piece of equipment you wished you had?
I'm currently using all Canon gear. It was the first camera I was introduced to and I just stuck with them. My kit consists of:-
Canon 5DMK4
Canon 5DMK3
Canon 70-200mm IS II 2.8
Canon 24-70mm 2.8
Canon 16-35mm 2.8
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 15mm Fisheye 2.8
Canon 580EXII
Aquatech Elite Sport Housing
Aquatech Flash housing
Various acrylic domes and ports
Adelio Wetsuits
DaFin Swimfins
Sunzapper zinc

The one piece of gear I'd love to own is the Canon 85mm 1.2 II or even the Canon 50mm 1.2 lens

When excites you about travel and photography?
The unknown excites me. The thought of finding yourself in a place you’ve never been and having the opportunity to document it and make images is incredibly appealing. I think being out of your comfort zone is the ingredient to having real experiences.

What are your sources of inspiration and do you ever go through times when you think “let’s move on from this type of work”?
I’m inspired by music, people, artists, other photographers, friends & family. I also draw inspiration from personal experiences and how I can translate thoughts and feelings through images. After being a musician for so many years, music plays a huge part in creating the vibe and environment in which I like to make pictures. There are times where I think what I do is absolute crap and I often tell myself to push it aside and keep working. I can always revisit something down the track if it’s not the right time.

What is the worst piece of advice you have heard given to someone that wants to make a career out of photography?
After a short role as a fishing photojournalist I found myself being drawn to landscape and ocean photography. I began selling my printed artworks and saw an opportunity to change my role and pursue another avenue. Strangely during that time I was told something by another photographer along the lines of 'you're not going to be able to make a living of selling prints of the ocean'. I think I still use that as motivation to do what I do today. Don’t let anyone tell you what you want to achieve is out of reach.

What is the one aspect you find the most difficult about running a photographic business?
Time and lack there of. I shoot almost daily and open/run my gallery 5-6 days a week. In between that I process images & orders, meet with clients and travel as much as I can. All of that on top of making sure to invest time into my relationship with my wife. If there's a way we could clone ourselves I'd be all over it.

If there was one destination you could travel to and photograph where would it be?
I've wanted to visit Tonga for many years now and I'm fortunate to be able to be heading that way in 2018 to photograph whales. However, I would also love to travel to Tahiti. To witness Teahupoo exploding across that reef would be mind blowing, but I'd also love to photograph the gin clear waters of Moorea and Bora Bora and its inhabitants. The Tahitian landscape would be incredible to witness from the water.

Where can we follow your work?
Instagram: @WarrenKeelan
Facebook: @WarrenKeelanPhotography
Twitter: @WarrenKeelan
Gallery: Shop 84c Kembla Street, Wollongong New South Wales Australia