Behind The Lens: Scott Serfas

This Friday Photo Gallery, Behind the Lens presents the work of TransWorld SNOWboarding Senior Photographer Scott Serfas. Scott bagged four covers of TWS last season and also snagged the number two spot on the TranWorld Business Editorial Exposure Meter. Living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Scott has easy access to Whistler/Blackcomb and ideally spends a lot of time in the surrounding backcountry terrain. He also likes to mix it up in urban environments and with conceptual terrain park shoots. He’s well accomplished in shooting surfing and skateboarding and with traveling the world in pursuit of his next image.

Serfas selected the photos below as some of his favorites from the last volume of  TWS. He also added a little personal insight to the captions. A quick Q & A follows the photo gallery.

01_SNB1010_INC1-24_Devun_Serf-copy.jpg
03_SNBPA11_GTS02_Lago_Serfas.jpg
04_SNB0111_COV02_JohnJack_Serfas.jpg
05_SNBPA11_WAL07_Bang_Serfas.jpg
06_SNB0211_WAL08_Kale_Serfas.jpg
07_SNBPA11_WAL23_LAGO_CHILE_SERFAS.jpg
08_LucasDebari_SEQ.jpg
09_SNB1110_FRA01_Griffen_Serfas.jpg
10_SNB0211_WAL06_Wachniak_Serfas.jpg
11_SNB0111_INT05_Sollars_Serfas.jpg
12_SNB0111_ALA02_group_Serfas.jpg
14_SNB0111_POS09_JOHN_JACK_SERFAS.jpg
15_SNB0111_ALA17_group_Serfas.jpg
16_SNB0111_ALA04_Rice_Serfas_R4.jpg
17_SNB0111_ALA13_Lando_Serfas.jpg
18_SNB0111_ALA03_group_Serfas.jpg
19_SNB0111_ALA19_group_Serfas.jpg
20_SNB0211_CHI31_Serfas.jpg
21_SNB0211_CHI27_Serfas.jpg
22_SNB0211_CHI43_Serfas.jpg
24_SNB0211_CHI32_Serfas.jpg
25_SNB0211_CHI02_DCP_Serfas.jpg
26_SNB0211_CHI30_Serfas.jpg
27_SNB0211_CHI39_Serfas.jpg
02_SNB0111_COV01_JohnJack_Serfas_R1.jpg
13_SNB0111_ALA08_Rice_Serfas.jpg
23_SNB0211_CHI23_Serfas.jpg
SNB0111_ALA11_group_Serfas.jpg
SNBPA11_WAL24_LauriH_Serfas_R2.jpg

His first snowboarding photo contributions were made in 1992 featuring the likes of Whistler legends Devun Walsh, Kevin Sansalone, Rob Dow, and Omar Lundie. For the last 12 years he’s been a Senior Photographer for TWS. Recently, Scott has been shooting with Travis Rice and his Art of Flight film crew. This has given him an opportunity to document some of the largest action to date. Beginning with a month long heli adventure in Alaska last spring and just wrapping up a park session in Aspen this spring. We caught up with Scott just before he and his family flew to Mexico for a much needed vacation.

TWS: When starting out, who were some of the established photographers making the pages of the snowboard magazines from your area?

SS: Dano Pendygrasse, Mark Gallup, and Eric Berger.

TWS: Were there any photographers that you referred to for questions back then?

SS: I didn’t take any photo classes or pursue a degree in the field of photography, but Derek Kettela, Grant Britain, and Pete Taras gave me a lot of insight. Derek Kettela (previous TWS Senior Photographer) helped me with the technical aspects of the camera, film stock, and printing. Grant Britain (previous Editor in Chief of TW Skateboarding and now The Skateboard Mag) taught me a lot about working with strobes and flash duration. Pete Taras (previous Photo Editor of TW Surf and now Photo Editor at Surfing) shared with me the skill of shooting surfing and shooting with a waterhousing and large lenses.

TWS: What’s your approach to photography?

SS: My goal is to document as a photojournalist. I am there to document it as a snowboarder. I’m not trying to win a photography award. I want to stoke the reader and make them want to be there. I don’t necessarily draw inspiration from other photographers, I try to out do myself, like a self progression from the last shoot/season. I might try to shoot things tight one time, then change it up and shoot showing something in the foreground or more of the environment next.

TWS: You had four TransWorld SNOWboarding covers last year, which one was your favorite?

SS: I love all the covers, but the April issue with Lauri Heiskari and the fish was my favorite. I’ve wanted to make that cover for a long time. It took a lot of planning and effort to pull that one off; the build, getting the fish, the waterhousing, etc.

TWS: Backcountry tips?

Take an avalanche course first. Get to know your backcountry by starting out on small faces and features. Hike first instead of riding a snowmobile. Snowmobiles are powerful and can get you into a bad situation more quickly than hiking.

TWS: Advise for young photographers?

1. Be a snowboarder first and a photographer second.

2. Move to the mountains.

3. Don’t poach any photographer’s or crew’s shoot.

4. Gear: More is not always better. It’s important to have a good eye.

5. Quit undercutting me when you sell your photos. Haha.

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