Clark Little: Big Splash

Aside from the irrational fear of being a tasty shark treat, the notion of surfing through the cool blue, salty sea-hair flying, water spraying and breeze blowing-is an intoxicating experience I’d eagerly embark upon.

However, the whole maliciously being attacked thing has put a damper on such adventures. No matter though, because one unlikely photographer has captured the essence of surfing in an inexorably artistic, albeit dangerous, pastime. Clark Little is an Oahu, Hawaii resident and fearless surfer who stumbled upon a skill set that captured the world.

“…the photography started when my wife wanted a picture of the ocean to hang on our bedroom wall. She actually went to a local gallery and bought a photo of a wave at Waimea Bay. I took a look at it and told her I could get something better and more interesting,” the surfing enthusiast explained to photography website petapixel.com adding, “I made her return the purchase. I went out and bought a cheap digital point and shoot camera and found a waterhousing for it on Amazon. I was playing with this on the weekends. The results were good and I saw the potential. My family and friends were complimenting the shots.”

The creative photographer soon upgraded his equipment and started posting pictures on Instagram. To his astonishment, the pictures inspired wild followings and much admiration. Not only are his angles creative with  intensely personal shots, but the vivid colors pop out like a never ending sunset on an open horizon. From the smooth, circular shapes of waves, to gritty sand soaked shots of miles of beach and ocean, Little created a new game out of his passion for surfing.

Nonchalantly sending some work to a press agency sparked a budding new career that caused his phone to ring off the hook. Some UK newspapers published his photos and the response confirmed what family members suggested. Little flew out to appear on The Today Show and Good Morning America within days. The sensational surfer has never looked back with the realization that he landed a dream come true within an intrinsic passion.

What makes these photos genius is not just the colors or subject matter, but the fact that Little carries his heavy equipment into the toughest waves of the North Shore – the North Shore being famous for its tall and unforgiving waves. Nikon ready, Little waits for the perfect moment to snap his shot amid any number of treacherous blows. Self deemed “Shoreline Photography,” this adrenaline junkie pushes his body to the limits in order to get that perfect “tube”, the moment the wave breaks, even risking drowning or being thrown in the harsh undertow.

“I like the power, I like the thunder, the sound, the feeling of that wave coming over and crunching, and just being right in the heart of it,” he said to cbsnews.com, “It’s not just taking the shot. You need to know where to be. Your timing has to be right, so that barrel breaks perfectly over you.”

Laid back and free falling, Little’s artistic style overlaps with his own life. Married with two kids, he has a knack for adventure that he wholeheartedly embraces. His work is available for purchase on clarklittlephotography.com and has been displayed in the United Kingdom, China, United States, and several other countries.

This dashing risk taker may just be the breath of fresh air photography needs. His cool colors, textured layers, breezy skies and even up close sea creatures feel all too real even in the dream like atmosphere in which they are displayed. Funky and free loving, Little has no qualms about the future as long as he is finding happiness in the art. For now, the surfer with an eye for beauty will continue to enjoy the ride and hang loose.

-Courtney Blackann