Meet John Wolfson, the man behind the camera at Okanui. A talented young creator John helps us tell our story through his photography. We met John back in February at the WSL Noosa Longboarding competition; we were instantly impressed by his talent to capture unique moments and tell a story through his imagery. John works full time as a carpenter, with photography & videography as his side hustle spending most of his free time behind the lens. We convinced John to put down the camera for five minutes and escape the everyday with us.
What drew you to photography, and how did you get started?
From an early age, I was drawn to art. I used to draw and paint a lot as a kid, and through high school, it was always a form of expression. At the same time, I became really obsessed with surfing, which in a way felt creative and expressive too. Surfing started to take up all my free time, so I began shooting my friends in the water with disposable underwater cameras or shooting video from the land which id turn into pretty terrible surf edits. Still, I loved the process; it was just fun. I still love the process, regardless of the results.
What is your favourite thing to shoot?
I've always lived close to the ocean and have spent a good chunk of my life floating around or riding waves, so naturally, that's what I love to capture most. If I don't get any good shots in a session it's sweet because I'm just stoked to be out there, especially when the vibe is high, people are smiling sharing waves, I love it, I meet a lot of people out in the water all sharing the froth.
You're going on a road trip and can bring anyone with you. What do you bring with you?
Always with my camera gear and surfboards - usually a couple of twinnys and a log, my skateboard, guitar, a good book, and an esky.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
Photography has been more of a passion than a career. I work full time as a carpenter, but I've been doing a little bit of photo work on the side for a while now, which works for me. I exhibited some of my ocean themed work down in manly with some other passionate photographers, which was an epic turn out. It was daunting for me to put my work out there and be standing in front of it, but it was a hugely rewarding experience.
Who / What has motivated you in your career?
I have a few close friends who have followed their passions as photographers/videographers; I admire their self-belief and commitment it's been cool to see them go for it and succeed, they motivate me a lot. My mum also creates great art, she completed her master's in fine art at the national art school at the age of 70, and she's more inspired than ever. She's a huge inspiration to me.
You're based in north coast NSW, where are some of your favourite go-to places in and around Byron?
I live in Mullumbimby, so I roll down the hill to Bruns a lot, the river is beautiful at high tide, and the crowds are mellow. The pass and Wategos are always pretty impressive at sunset; crowds can be intense, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and just enjoy being out there. I love to explore the hinterland there are so many amazing waterholes to discover, but I wouldn't want to give them away.
What is a typical daily outfit for you?
My typical daily outfit is a pair of steel cap blundstone shit kickers (work boots), dirty shorts and a dirty tee-shirt (Okanui of course) - carpentry is a dirty trade. My weekend attire is slightly better.
What is your favourite item of Okanui Clothing & why?
I love the stretch boardies, amazingly comfortable to surf in.
What does the future hold for you?
I really don't know; I'd like to exhibit some of my personal work up here in the northern rivers. I'll always enjoy photography, and I'll never stop surfing as long my body allows me to.
How do you escape the everyday?
I embrace everyday, do the things that make me happy, go with the flow, be spontaneous, and surf a lot!