This week Planet PK talks to local ocean and lifestyle photographer Caleb Giddens! In our very first guest blog we discuss the highs and lows of working in a field that is so greatly impacted by the environment, increased tourism, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a photographer, what inspires you about the Cornish coast?
My inspiration comes from the spontaneous, unpredictable nature of the sea and the solid continuity of recognisable landmarks. Not being funny but I think Cornwall is the best place on earth.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken, what do you like about it?
I always find it really hard to choose a favourite! Each one goes through different phases. My favourite shot at the moment is a barrel shot from a session at Gwithian. The balanced perfection of the wave frozen in time does something for me that a lot of my previous barrel shots never did. The wave is perfect shape and although small, still holds a lot of power. And of course, it was right place, right time with the light! Dreamy!
What’s the most difficult shot you’ve taken and why?
The most difficult shot I have had to get is a nose-riding shot of Izzy. I’d been chasing this shot a while and almost got a fin to the head taking it! It’s very hard to be able to get that close and not ruin the surfers flow or lose an eye. The shot is almost full frame so you can guess how close I was haha!
Photo: Caleb Giddens
What photographers do you admire and how do they inspire you?
My favourite photographer at the moment is Daf Lewis (@thecornishseas) his framing and composition is just so inspiring… the colours he gets are incredible! Nick Pumphrey, Warbey and Jack Johns are always up on the list for the locals and internationals, Ben Thouard, Zak Noyle and Dylan Brayshaw.
In what ways have you seen local wildlife and environment changing over COVID?
It’s been incredible to see water become cleaner, beaches and beauty spots less busy – I think it gave Cornish environment a bit of a breather to be fair.
What role, if any, do you think photographers have to play in highlighting conservation issues?
I believe Instagram/ social media is such a key tool in linking photography and conservation. Using your platform with a good network/following on Instagram is a 100% the best way to promote and spread awareness through photography, especially with an eye-catching shot!
Cornwall has seen an upsurge in visitor numbers, with more people going on ‘staycations’. How do you manage with increased visitor numbers and how has it affected your work?
The tourism has actually been really helpful! Selling a few more prints and getting some private shoots booked. Of course they can’t drive, but you win some you lose some 😉
Photo: Caleb Giddens
As someone who’s very involved in Cornwall’s surf scene, in your opinion, what has been the impact of increased social media exposure of lesser-known local beaches?
I think it’s a very conflicted issue. Personally, I never tag surf shots with the location other than “Cornwall”. It just keeps it quieter, if you wanna find new spots, make new friends, don’t look it up on the Internet.
Have you noticed any environmental impacts of increased visitor numbers on Cornwall’s coasts? What are they?
More rubbish, more rubbish everywhere. I think Locals know how to respect the beaches etc. but coming from a city, a lot of people are just throwing their Corona bottles, masks and disposable BBQs all over the place damaging community, wildlife and environment. Not cool.
Other than Cornwall, where in the world would you most like to photograph and why?
One word. Mexico. The land of endless right-hand point breaks, rich culture, red sand, and blue skies. Dream location.
About Caleb Giddens
Caleb is a Cornish videographer, photographer, and entrepreneur. Heavily inspired by his home, his brand reflects a surf and ocean lifestyle, although not restricted to that. Raised in a creative family, He quickly developed a love for filmmaking and photography. After struggling with restrictive higher education, He has recently branched out launching his new brand Caleb Giddens Media or CG Media. He has done weddings, music videos, surf films and worked and filmed for artists, local businesses, churches throughout Cornwall. Caleb is excited about what the future holds and is keen to spread his creativity and content.
He is also the editor of @local.mag – a new surf magazine.
Header Photo: Caleb Giddens