Woody Gooch, how a photo of the sea brings us back to basics
ELECTRIC EYE: AUSTRALIA IN ALL ITS SPLENDOR
This film, made for Audi, visually retraces 3,500 kilometers for 10 days of road trip exploring Australia. It would certainly have been easier to chain the aerial views of the vehicle spinning through Australia. But Gooch had a better idea in mind: pay homage to his native land, which he thanks for having passed on to him the curiosity and creativity that he pours into any photo of nature. In this short film, the photographer transferred his relationship to the ocean filled with humility to moving images. He plunges himself into the heart of beach landscapes, fragmented coasts, thus creating both visual and emotional depth in the treatment of his subject: Australia.
Here we find one of its core values: the truth of the moment. Gooch recounts the simplicity of a life lived in symbiosis with nature, subject to its mood swings. One cannot help but recall the tragic fires that have regularly ravaged the east coast of Australia for a number of years.
Fascinating in all weathers, the living that surrounds us takes us out of our navel-gazing, whether you are surfing a wave or enjoying a meal. “Nature can fool you here,” narrates the photographer-turned-director in voice-over before adding: “there is a new chemistry that operates between people and land here.” It is the same in his style of photography of the sea where we feel something visceral, of the register of survival, in these moments of turbulence or immersion experienced up close thanks to the lens of Gooch.
Self-taught with an eye sharpened by his young years spent alongside the ocean, surfing offers a first choice subject for Woody Gooch. Today, he counts big names in luxury to automotive giants among his clients. Even if he wanted to focus on other themes for a while, the young Australian photographer continues to define a style each time he captures a photo of the sea. Portrait of a talent with an aesthetic that is both raw and full of finesse.
FROM SURFING TO ARTISTIC LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Surfing, skateboarding and traveling, Woody Gooch's passions were just waiting to pass in front of the lens when he started taking self-taught photos. Then, the success at 21 brought by an image taken on the spot, as he knows how to do so well, propelled him to the forefront of the young talents of Australian art photography. Series Coloured Lines that we have selected sums up the encounter between the talent of Woody Gooch and one of X-Plorar's favorite themes: the photo of the sea.
The photographer loves minimalism, the large empty spaces, which he frames thanks to great technical mastery, but also the ability to capture the atmosphere of the moment. His favorite perspectives varyt: sometimes semi-immersed between surfers, other times sharp horizon lines taken from a distance or perched from the top of an airplane in an aerial photo. Oscillating between extremes, Gooch goes from strong negative spaces to compositions made of shades that lend a sense of strangeness to his nature photos.
If the label of the surf photographer sticks to his skin, this is how he got to know nature and its different faces, sometimes worthy of a surreal photo. Even if the time spent in the waves remains a pleasure with which he constantly reconnects, the young photographer continues to seek other subjects during his travels.. “That's what's great about travel, rather than just going on surf trips, you get to see other elements that make up a country,” he says in an interview about a series of photos of Indonesian riders. A move to Tokyo to change the setting and landscape allows him to focus on other subjects. However, the Australian does not lose his passion for the great outdoors, whether aquatic or terrestrial. With each nature photo he takes, Gooch portrays an entire territory. He even recently tried his hand at the 7th art by exploring his native land, camera in hand, in the short film “Electric Eye”, made for Audi.
EACH PHOTO OF THE SEA INVITES US TO AN INNER JOURNEY
Any photo of nature taken from the lens of Gooch, gives pride of place to its subject through studied angles. Because if he is self-taught, the Australian leaves nothing to chance, he prepares his subjects and analyzes their context and history to draw images imbued with truth. Every element transcribes the presence of the living : gathering clouds, the foam floating above a breaking wave, the wisps of smoke gushing from the ground or even the pendulum of twigs in the wind. If most of the photos freeze their subject, those of Gooch rather express a push, an acceleration, a crushing, a slowing down or even a height gain suspended in the air...
We live these moments too, but we do not necessarily recognize them as events worthy of a creative inner journey like that of Gooch.. The photographer himself admits a strong content of emotions in his work, whether they are accumulated during the preparatory phases or arise when you put your finger on the shutter.
The darkness that makes a photo surreal when it is caused by a storm in the middle of the day, vision blurred by mist, or even the splashes of the first drops of a downpour, these events are part of our daily lives. Each of them is a pretext for a moment of visual poetry and living them fully means embracing the ephemeral, a flight not forward, but into the present. Gooch transcribes real events in which he participated while infusing them with a timeless strangeness, as if these images emerged from another world. It is up to us to dream of these worlds and to protect them.