Growing up with idyllic childhood, surfing before and after school it makes sense that Gordon Becker would feel a natural affinity with the ocean. This up and coming photographer graduates this week and his breakout collection exhibited this week shows a depth of synergy with the waves that could only have been fostered by many hours out on the water.
After leaving Mandurah for the vineyards of Margaret River to study wine making and surfing in his down time, Gordon felt a pull towards capturing the waves rather than catching them. Starting out with a small waterproof camera he started taking shots of friends out on the water and gradually built his way up to the breathtaking images he produces today, playing with the concept of light and giving us a sneak peak of what happens under the waves. We sat down at PICA Bar with a pint and a burger to talk to Gordon about how it all began and what is next for this rising star.
What influences made you decide to be a photographer?
I grew up around the ocean. I would try to head down for surfs before school and every day after with my brother, sister and a couple of mates. Even if it was awful, crappy conditions we would still get so stoked! I remember being out in the water and seeing all these awesome moments happening above and below the surface and thinking too myself “I wish I had a camera on me!” I purchased a small underwater camera and it just snowballed from there. Now I spend any spare moment I can floating around the ocean capturing unique split second moments.
Three friends (Craig Bush, Manny Tamayo, Jayde George) had a joint exhibition held in Fremantle recently, titled 'The Diwa Project'. It was based around the Phillipines. They captured some amazing images, they portrayed what I imagine the Phillipines to be like.
What drew you to photography?
I suppose I wanted to share with people and really just give them an insight into some of the magical moments that they may have never seen before. So much happens below the surface that you would never see, unless you swam around with goggles on all the time...or had an underwater setup!
Most memorable moment in regards to your work?
I received a couple of Silver awards and a Silver Distinction at the 2012 AIPP awards which I was stoked about. I think when I have an image in my head that I want to capture, and then I finally do, it's just as rewarding if not more. A lady asked me the other day 'What the hell is that, is that underwater?!'. I enjoy that kind of response, trying to describe to them that what they are viewing only happens for a split second at only a certain time. It makes my work feel unique haha which is good.
Have you ever had a challenging moment with your Photography and what kept you going?
After leaving school and not studying for 6 years and then deciding to pursue a full-time 3 year photography course, was a challenge for me! I finish my Advanced Diploma in Photography next week and I couldn't' be happier. Now I have to make it in the big bad, hard world of photography haha that is the challenge on the cards for me now!
Is there anything exciting in the works?
I have a trip to Tahiti booked for early next year so I am super excited for that. I have wanted to head over towards the Pacific for a while now. I am planning to shoot a strong enough set of images as so I can put together a solo exhibition for later on in the year. Fingers crossed.
What/who are your biggest influences?
I have been working with a photographer by the name of Russell Ord for the past couple of years. He is an insane bloke in the water, specializing in big wave surf photography. Guy is a nutter. He is also a sought after wedding photographer in the South West. I have soaked up a lot working with him, the easy way he goes about shooting weddings. I have been photographing weddings now under my own name, Gordon Becker Photography, using the skills I have learnt from Russell and implementing them into my own work!
Where is your favourite hangout or secret spot of Perth?
The Mechanics Bar in Northbridge is a sick little joint. Just around the corner from TAFE it provides good burgers and cold beer. Not much else you could ask for after listening to lecturers all day!
The event or exhibition your most excited about coming up in Perth?
As part of my third and final year at TAFE we had a year to put together a set of images for our end of year exhibition. I spent most of my time out at Rottnest Island as the water clarity is amazing out there. There are some crazy reef structures out at the west-end that came in handy and the fish life added to the images also. The final touches are being put in place, but it is all looking sorted. It runs from the 26th of Nov till the 1st of Dec at the Central Institute gallery on Aberdeen St in Northbridge. Everyone is welcome to come down!
Favourite or most prized piece in your wardrobe?
I have this lime green pin striped suit that I had made in Bali back in 2005. Not sure how it's still in one piece but I tend to wear it to any dress up occasion. I dressed up as a leprechaun in the suit and went to a Mexican party once haha got a few weird looks :)
The things you can't live without?
I don't think I could live away from the ocean for too long. If I have any problems or life is just getting too hectic the beach just solves it all. I suppose my family and friends play an important part also!
Head down to the Central Institute Gallery in Northbridge from Tuesday to check out Gordon's and his class mate's work! For more on all that is Gordon check him out on insta or click here to view his website!
(Photo credit: Gordon Becker, Kai Ridley)