CATCHING UP WITH VONU PHOTOGRAPHER ANDY GOUGH

It looks like youve had a really busy year so far shooting various projects. Can you give us a quick run-down on what youve been up to?

Its been a pretty full on year for me work wise. I basically started the year shooting surf in Hawaii, Indonesia, Timor and Fiji. The highlight of those first few months was travelling in Java with one of my good buddies Harrison Roach, I really enjoyed getting up every day finding waves and getting some really good work done. I came back to Australia and worked in TV commercials, shooting underwater shots on a few Car Ads, short films and two separate TV Series as a camera assistant whilst shooting a few projects when I had a moment. I had a few opportunities as a camera operator on both those TV dramas which was really great for me. Working as an assistant under DOP Sam Chiplin and Director Glendyn Ivin was a great experience for me especially in a drama setting. After we wrapped on that I ended up in Fiji again for a US TV Commercial and then again for part of a documentary for Discovery Channel. I just finished up on a summer campaign for Seafolly which was shot in the far south of Western Australia so that was a cool change of pace for me and had a whole bunch of new challenges.

Wow that sounds epic. How did you get into filmmaking and into working on the projects you do now?

My parents worked in the film industry their entire lives, my Father as a production manager and my Mother as a Producer. I started as a camera attachment, video split and then a Clapper Loader working mostly in TV Commercials and Feature films. I knew I wanted to be in the camera department and just always loved working in the industry. I remember when I first started shooting surfing for fun I would never have thought I would be travelling the world with some of my best friends shooting our own concepts with 100% freedom. I remember when I first started distinctly thinking to myself, Theres no way I will be able to do this as a job…” funny how wrong I was.

How do you find switching between working on surf related projects and feature Films/television series?

Surfing has always been a huge part of my life. The travel, adventure and challenge that comes with shooting surfing is what has drawn me to it. Working with specific surfers who have unique style and form has really opened up the world of shooting surfing for me and is so rewarding as a cinematographer. Switching to working on larger film projects means a definite change in pace and technical ability. I have been lucky enough to have been a camera assistant under some amazing focus pullers and cinematographers and I can definitely attribute 90% of my knowledge to the time spent onset observing those guys. Its always cool to be challenged shooting a surf job and then watch another cinematographer be just as challenged shooting a million dollar TV commercial. We all face obstacles that make being a cameraman so hard but so rewarding. For me switching between surf and films just means a set of different challenges to face.

How does your equipment differ between the two fields?

The equipment is very different between the two fields. I will always opt for a lightweight easy to travel with kit when shooting surfing. Normally that consists of my Red (very stripped back), zoom lenses, water housing, basic sound recording gear and lightweight Tripod. This makes up a backpack and three pelican cases. When it comes to a film we will have an entire truck filled with equipment, multiple cameras , multiple camera teams and trolleys to cart everything around on. They are definitely very different worlds.

 

Is there more pressure on you working in either surf or film?

There isn’t more or less pressure its just understanding the different challenges and working out ways to still get the shot.

You were the D.O.P (director of photography) for Vonus first summer campaign in Fiji. How was your experience aboard the Vonu Gypsie?

That boat trip to Fiji was really special for me, besides a great bunch of guys, good waves and a really fun time, I got to get back into sailing which is something I had not done for some time. My twin brother is a Sail Maker / Professional yachtsman and is currently sailing around the world in the Volvo ocean race so it was cool to get that connection and do something I hadnt done since

I was young. The most memorable moment for me was sitting in the water at Cloudbreak on my own before the guys had paddled out on dusk one evening. A solid set came through and reeled across the reef. Watching through the viewfinder as the wave broke so powerfully raw and imperfectly windswept , drawing off the shallow reef, I had a very cool sense of isolation, a fleeting moment but a powerful moment.

 That sounds like a great trip. The water footage you captured during the trip is amazing – is it physically pretty challenging getting those shots or more just a skill based thing?

I distinctly remember talking to Jack McCoy about shooting in the water and he said to me If you’re not shooting surfing in the water you’re not even shooting surfing, you’re not there… Shooting in the water for me is the most rewarding way to capture surfing. It has so many challenges and variants and happens so quickly that when you’re in the right spot, the shots composed, surfers in focus and everything lines up its the best. Its definitely physically challenging and technically difficult. But you’re out there in it with the guys, going through similar challenges they are going through, so as a cameraman its the perfect place to find interesting moments with the subject you’re shooting. Its a rewarding place.

 Whats next on the horizon for Andy Gough?

I just got home from a few months shooting in Thailand, Fiji and Phillip Island on an adventure travel Doco Tv Series for Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, followed by a quick four day campaign in Esperance for Seafolly which was change of pace for me. I have a break for 5 days before I head to Africa to begin another leg of this Doco. We are shooting Cheetahs and Rhinos in Namibia.

Sounds amazing. Have a great summer and we will look forward to watching more of your works come to life!

 Cheers!

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