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.
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.