Q and A with Duncan MacFarlane
Everyone in the surf industry has come across a Duncan Macfarlane photo at one time or another. However, few people know who the man behind the lens is, even what he looks like and all that he brings to the table. Duncs is not your average photographer for multiple reasons. He’s got a lot going on up in that shaggy cranium of his whether it be finding a new angle, concocting one of his famous ice coffees or plotting to play a practical joke on you. Well traveled and connected, Duncan has been snapping gold for ages, and is always a pleasure to catch up with.
Where do you come from, Duncan?
I was born in Perth and moved around a bit when I was younger and settles in Coffs Harbour on the east coast of Oz when I was 10 and I still live here now.
What first sparked your interest in photography?
I started getting into photography at the later end of high school. I’d go surfing and take along disposable water cameras and waited till I got a couple shots on them. Then I got a Nikonos V, a waterproof film camera and got some cool shots on that and got motivated to get some more photos but I ended up flooding it. Then, it was just a slow progression from there.
What do you normally shoot with?
I shoot on Nikon gear and Aquatech housings for my surf photos. I travel with a Fujifilm x100t for something lighter and less intrusive. for the right time and occasionally a film point and shoot or anything else I’m testing or trying.
Where’s your favorite place on earth to travel?
Hmm…Well, I’ve been to New Zealand a lot. 3 years in a row for surf shoots and 3 years in a row for holidays with my wife. It’s definitely a favorite spot. The South Island is incredible. It has surfing, snowboarding, hiking, views, food and wine. It’s pretty amazing. I think I’m at the stage where I’ve got to go visit other places now, but that’s a favorite for sure.
What’s the best part of photography to you?
Best part of photography is definitely getting paid to go to the beach, drink beer and hang out with mates. It’s sometimes a joke how I get paid for this.
You live life on the road a majority of the year. What’s the best part about coming home?
I love to travel and all that, but I love home almost as much. I’ve got an epic setup, lovely wife, house and a couple of dogs. When I’m home I don’t shoot really and surf a lot myself, potter round my office experimenting with things, hang with my family. It’s really relaxing and regenerating and for me it’s an awesome balance to the fast paced travel and shooting I do around the globe. It keeps me sane.
Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken over the years?
I don’t think I have a single favorite. I have a bunch that I like over the years that definitely get a repeat play like some of the ones I sent in. But It changes a lot. I think the 50/50 one I took from a chopper black and white at Pipe is probably up there, that always gets pulled out in best of selections.
Tell us about People of Pipeline.
People of Pipeline is a view on the existential reality of the Homo sapiens that meander along the shore line during the Pipe Masters(laughs). I just people watch all the weirdos that come out the cracks at Pipe surfing the comp and take photos of it. So many weirdos it’s awesome to pay attention.
Who are some of your favorite subjects to work with?
I’ve worked for Billabong for a majority of my career and have done some incredible trips with all the boys (and girls) on the team. But I’ve definitely spent a lot of time with Ryan Callinan, Creed McTaggart and Jack Freestone over the years and call those guys good mates. I love to hang and shoot with them. It’s always a good time whether we’re cleaning up or getting skunked.
What does the future hold for you?
I have no idea what the future holds. I’m having fun experimenting with Journaling, collages writing and basically fucking up my archive of photos so maybe that will lead somewhere or maybe I’ll burn my house down, but Im having fun doing what I’m doing and hope to keep it rolling...