Behind The Lens: Chris Grundy Photo

In a world (a first world) where everyone has a 12 megapixel phone camera, a 4k GoPro or a hand-me-down SLR, photography is more accessible than ever. And when your local break doesn’t exhibit 10ft shories or 20ft pits of perfection, you have to find another way to make jaws drop. 

This week we were lucky enough to chat with Chris Grundy, a clear standout in the Australian photography scene, best known for his surreal, artistic and unique approach to landscape and surf vision.

Chris, first of all, what got you into photography?

My dad gave me his old film camera, a Nikon f801s a couple of years ago. I shot a few rolls of film, got them developed and have been hooked ever since then I guess. Not long after that I got myself a pretty basic DSLR set-up, and soon fell in love with it. Around a year later I saved up some money and upgraded and having been adding and changing the setup ever since. Still have the same film camera to this day. Its become a form of an addiction, and my love for photography continues to grow the more I shoot.


Did you start off photographing the ocean and the beach? Or were you slowly drawn in that direction?

I’ve always loved shooting the ocean. There’s no better feeling than getting up in the early hours of the morning, driving to a location and not knowing what’s going to appear in front of your eye’s when the sun makes its way above the horizon. That was my routine for a while.



You have quite a variety of subject matters. Do you prefer shooing objects, people or landscapes? & why?

I started off primarily shooting landscapes and the ocean, but I really enjoy shooting people. They’re so unpredictable. And to be able to tell a story through a portrait, I think is a great way to show a connection between the subject and the photographer. Which I hope people read into.



Some of your photographs look a lot like oil paintings, can you expand a little on that technique?

Haha, few people have said that to me. I like thinking that a photo is a blank canvas and what you choose to fill the canvas with, people will always question and have their opinion on it. You never really know what the photographer is thinking as he fires off a shot, but I always appreciate the way people interpret what you have to show. I don’t want to give to much away, but experimenting with different shutter speeds and light is a good start.



Could you pick three different photos and let us know what settings you used while shooting?


Pink | Aperture: F/4 | Focal: 50mm | ISO:100 | Exposure: 1/1600th


Blue Cavern | Aperture: F/4 | Focal: 200mm | ISO:400 | Exposure: 1/1600th


Man vs Nature | Aperture: F/6.3 | Focal: 122mm | ISO:100 | Exposure: 1/1250th


Your photographs are so incredibly surreal – the colours, the textures, the contrast, the layers – How much of that is achieved in the editing studio? And what are you looking for when you’re out shooting?

I think there’s no rules to photography, everyone has there own way of editing, shooting and seeing this world. I wait for things that stand out and grab my attention rather than just firing off aimlessly, haha. Do whatever feels right, it’s alright to break traditional methods.



Do you have a favourite time of day and year to shoot?

Winter for me I would have to say is my favourite time of year to shoot. A moody, dark ongoing change steals my heart over a typical blue Summer’s day. I’m a morning person, so an hour either side of sunrise is usually ideal I find. Afternoon light is good too, don’t get me wrong.



You work closely with Eye Symmetry and Tom Carroll. How did that begin?

I was down on the South Coast a few years ago and received a phone call from one of the guys who used to work there, they loved my work and wanted to meet with me. So when I got back to Sydney, I went into the factory and we kicked off a long relationship. I’ve been working closely with Max from Eye Symmetry as well as Tom for the past few years now, which has been amazing! Tom is such an inspiring person, and working with him is always such a pleasure. We’ve done two trips to Japan, and several domestically. We have some exciting projects in the works, which I look forward to sharing soon.



Is there a job you are most proud of?

Last year I had a job in New Zealand, shooting a campaign for a campervan company called Wilderness. I spent three weeks exploring and gathering content in the South Island. It was ones of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Such a beautiful country, filled with amazing landscapes and coastlines. I met some great people over there and spent some quality time together whilst travelling around the South having a laugh. It was epic and makes me want to go back!


Is there anyone you’re dying to photograph? Any brands you’d love to work with?

I would love to shoot with Derek Hynd, I met him once at Newport car park with Tom [Carroll]. I think his surfing, style and mindset is on a whole ‘nother level. I’d love to create some work with him.

In terms of brands, I think Patagonia would be pretty cool to do some work with, they have an amazing team and a direction which interests me. There’s so many more companies and people I would love to work with, but time will tell I guess.


Where has photography taken you thus far? Any favourites?

I’ve been to Japan twice as well as New Zealand and have done plenty of domestic trips in Australia. I really enjoyed Japan; the people, food, fashion and everything in between was just amazing! Also I would love to go back to India, it was a real eye-opener and an experience that I’ll never forget.




What about your dream location?

There’s so many places that I would love to visit and see what’s on offer. Mongolia, Morocco, and Russia are high on my list at the moment. 


What set up are you currently working with and what’s on the wish list?

I’m currently running on a Nikon D800, with a 50mm f/1.4, 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8. I’ve got a few old manual lenses and some old 35mm cameras. Plus a water housing.

Oh I would love a Mamiya 7 II and something longer than 200mm would be great.


Is there anything in the works we should keep an eye out for?

I want to release a photo book and have a solo exhibition, just brain storming on what to exhibit but hopefully this happens soon! I’m heading to South America for a month at the end of the year then back to New Zealand after that, plus a few projects between now and then, so keep those eyes peeled. Oh, and I just launched my new website:



Got any hot tips for the beginners?

Shoot, shoot and shoot again. The more you shoot the more you’re going to learn about what you enjoying shooting and over time you will see improvement. Start off by shooting things that interest you and those around you. It’s a hard industry, every man and his dog has a camera, aim to stand out amongst it and try to develop your own unique style. Experiment with your camera, find out what works for you. Travel and try new things. I’m still learning and hopefully I am in 50 years time.






Who should we interview next and why?

I think Ryan Heywood would be a good choice, his works speaks for its self. His imagery is refreshing and intriguing and has worked some pretty amazing campaigns and projects.


Awesome, we’ll see what we can do! Thanks for your time mate. It’s been a pleasure.


Make sure you check out Chris’ new and improved website:

Also, his Instagram:

And his Facebook page: