STAN SIEVERS | PHOTO FEATURE

STAN SIEVERS | Photo Feature
interview / bones

In a world of oversaturated digital surf media, where almost anyone with a camera is a “photographer,” quality becomes more of a premium. Every so often you’ll find someone new that slips through cracks of mediocrity and starts to gain some serious traction. We recently caught up with Stan Sievers, who has been climbing the ranks of the Orange County surf scene, getting photos published with major brands, major surf publications and media outlets. Sitting down with us, Stan showed us his portfolio from the last year or so and allowed us to pick his brain regarding the local surf scene and the current state of photography, enjoy.

You’re relatively new on the scene, but lately we’ve been seeing more and more of your photos published; when did you start shooting and why?
I picked up a camera six years ago before going to Bali. During my trip, I took many photos and caught the photo bug. Two years later, I got my first (real) camera and wanted to understand how to shoot properly, using all the functions the camera had to offer. This process didn’t happen overnight. I shot thousands of bad pictures but each picture got me closer to understanding the mechanics of light and focus.

What sets you apart from other photographers?
I’m not sure if it sets me apart, but I’ve just tried to focus on capturing the moments that I’ve personally loved and enjoyed during my life. I spent my youth surfing competitively and later picked up other sports like motocross and snowboarding. I now use photography to enjoy those same activities but from a different perspective. I think it helps my photos to have personally experienced these sports myself.

If you could only shoot one last session, who, what and where would it be?
A boat trip in the Mentawaii Islands, with some of my closest surfer friends with perfect conditions and seeing everyone have a great time. Seeing the athletes I shoot with have fun is the most important part of the process.

Building relationships with surfers is a huge part of being a successful photographer, how do you go about that?
It’s been relatively easy to build relationships because everyone has been so cool and humble. It makes it easy to relate to each other because everyone has love for the same thing – surfing. Surfing is something that transcends generations and helps us all connect to each other, regardless of our backgrounds or age.

Where do you see surfing in ten years?
I believe Kelly Slater’s wave pool model will be duplicated in several countries. I believe that we will be seeing more progression in the sport based on a wave that is static and breaks the same way every time. This will allow surfers to have a consistent platform to further their technical surfing. I also feel newer materials in surfboard manufacturing will change the equipment to work hand-in-hand with wave pools.

With every wave being the same in a wave pool how would you make a photo look different?
It’s all about the angle. I’d just try to shoot from different angles and distances to try to catch a unique perspective.

How do you think Instagram has changed the game? And is it for the better?
I think Instagram is geared towards a younger user and provides for an instant medium to communicate. I feel that Instagram can be utilized in a positive way when you use good images. Athletes can develop their own brand as well as photographers.

In a photo, what means more to you, clarity or creativity?
I really appreciate the technical element of a photo when it’s shot. The creativity comes in when you crop and edit a photo. A photo can completely change its dynamics by cropping and coloring a photo just a little differently. The end product can turn a good photo into a great photo using both clarity and creativity.

Which do you prefer, empty waves or surfer on the wave?
I like both. On my Instagram, I alternate pictures surfing then an abstract or an empty wave. I feel that this keeps my page a little more interesting and visually entertaining.

Any upcoming trips or projects planned? Where and whom with?
Look out for the launch of my website, www.stansieversphotos.com, launching in November.

Above and beyond surfing, what else do you like to shoot? 
I have a travel motorcycle and enjoy going on road trips to remote places that put me in unique spots to capture new images. I rode over 4,000 miles this past summer to places such as Zion, Grand Canyon, Mammoth, Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. These trips away from my normal surroundings helped me grow as a photographer.