Artist Interview: Lucia Griggi

Born in Venice, Italy and educated in England, Lucia Griggi represents both cultures through her photography,”combining the English love of nature and countryside with the Italian love of everything.” Her broad portfolio explores the ocean, beauty, and adventure with passion, excitement, and respect. As a female surf photographer, she is willing to take it further than most with her images from the water at a treacherous wave like Pipeline. Still a youngster in her 20’s, Lucia has a bright future ahead with plenty more wonderful images to come.

 Kelly, Waimea Bay 2010

What was going through your head, as you were about to swim out to Pipe on a big day with all the boys? Do you do any training to prepare for shooting in big waves?

I remember sitting and watching. This is my foremost memory of swimming Pipe. I remember sitting in front of the lifeguard stand just looking at the waves, for what seemed like seconds, but I think it must have been at least an hour. Pipeline is one of the most mesmerizing waves I have ever had the pleasure to feast my eyes on. It is perfectly symmetrical, which entices you to want to get closer and closer to it. For me, this is what made me want to swim—the unknown—the perfection.

I had swam pipe a few times, pretty solid but not big. So the groundwork had been set. Swimming out, which for some will know that it’s a mission at the best of times, so when it became big it was just the same routine. With more water movement around me, I knew I had to swim harder and be more aware. It’s a different game when it gets to a certain size.

Focusing on the bombs hitting the reef in front of me, as I stand ready to swim out, knowing that I will be ripped along the reef and hopefully a set won’t come wide as to get one on the head. That’s about it really. When you go— there’s no turning back. Pretty simple— just swim hard through the sets! I was training. I ran most days and tried to surf when I could. Swimming in the water keeps you fit! A lot of it is mental.

Alana Blanchard, Portugal

What’s your most memorable photograph and what’s the story behind it?

My most memorable photograph, I would say to be, was my first shot at Pipe. The boys have that wave covered well with the great shots they get. I was sitting slightly back shooting with my 85mm lens. It’s a local surfer-charging Pipe, that’s all. I like it purely because of how clean the shot is and the colors are so simple yet vibrant. It takes time and hard work to get shots out there so the reward when you get one is the best ever!

A majority of your fashion photos showcase unique clothing styles and no shortage of colors. Is this a reflection of your own personal style?

I work closely with a Fashion company called Kuccia. I really enjoy shooting their collections because their fashion is extremely bold and unique. I would like to think my photography is a great reflection of their product and vise versa. Their vibrant outlook on life from a brand, enables my photography to be pushed and allow the color to come through in the shots. The last location shoot was in Thailand. It was a great location on a remote island and the photographs came out well.

Malibu girls, 2009

As a traveling photographer besides your camera what’s the one thing you don’t leave home without?

This is a great question— I like it! I would have to say my moisturizer! This is a must, I cannot travel without it! My hair straightens too.. opps did I just say that!

If not a photographer, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a photographer I may have pushed my surfing further. I think shooting surf leaves me deprived of surfing on the good days, so I would definitely be having more board time if I didn’t shoot. A musician too maybe. I grew up studying music, playing the piano and flute. I was on my way to becoming a concert flautist. It would be weird to think about not having photography in my life so I think I would have found my love for it somewhere along the way!

What’s your favorite lens and why?

The 85mm, no doubt! It’s small, light and takes sharp as anything photos. That lens put on the 5D… boom! I like the 70-200mm 2.8 as well this is a great lifestyle lens.

Waimea Bay 2010

What’s one thing you are yet to photograph that you would love to capture?

Natural disasters. Famine. War—I enjoy photojournalism. Whenever I travel to the contests or on surf trips I will always explore and travel to obscure surroundings. I love to document travel –this is what I am starting to do more of. I recently came back from a trip in Sri Lanka exploring the southern tip. Exploring culture and diversity. I love it! Meeting new people and in un-trodden grounds.

Maldives

 

What drives you and keeps you motivated with long stints on the road?

Knowing I have long stints is actually what drives me. I am still enjoying traveling as much as I did 10 years ago. Knowing the next adventure is around the corner drives me and pushes me to keep doing the things I love. Creating new work motivates me to move faster. When I get a good shot I just want more! It’s like a drug! The road gives me the freedom in which I need to exist. I will never be able to have too much routine in my life as the unknown pulls me in the direction of the road and all its uncertainties.

Where do you see your photography headed in the future? Do you plan to dive into new styles and techniques?

I am always open to use new techniques and find new inspiration along the way. The road is my inspiration, seeing new cultures and experiencing life in new pastures. My future is uncertain and I tend not too look too far ahead but just follow what drives me to the next. I would like to take my work to different locations and push myself to shoot more challenging subjects.

Jeffrey’s Bay

Your website has a section for artwork coming soon. What’s this all about?

This is a new business that will sell my artwork online. Available will be posters and prints from all over the world and its natural beauty. You will be able to see this soon, keep watching it!

What’s the best part about growing up in England and your Italian culture?

I love everything about Europe. The food, the culture and its seasons. The more I travel the more I see how Venice is one of the most unique cities in the world. I’m glad I have spent the time there when I did when I was younger. England too it’s a little hidden gem, full of history and green fields with hedgerows cutting in between them.

Your photos depict a unique love for the ocean. What first drew you to the beach?

I have always loved to be in the water. The sea for me has so much energy and when my feet touch the sand on a beach, anywhere in the world, it makes me feel enriched and free. I love to surf. I started surfing when I was about 18. This has always led me to a connection with the ocean. It gave me an understanding for the sea and how amazing it is just to sit and be out there.

Do you have a mentor or do you look to peers for inspiration?

I can’t say I really have a mentor. I have had people help me out and give me valuable advice along the way. My inspiration is what I see around me. I learn from my mistakes and push myself to improve.

If you could settle down anywhere in the world from all the places you’ve traveled where would that be and why?

I would like to have a base in California. I get a lot of surfing done here and shoot more commercial work, so it gives me time to get the boards waxed up! The diversity of the land and the weather makes it a great place to spend time. Like I said, give it time and ill probably be onto another place!

Waimea, 2010

Is there anything you’d love to share that often gets overlooked in interviews?

I guess I never get asked about my words. I also write and when I go on trips I will produce an article as well as shoot unless there is a writer sent. Words are important to me and are great to complete the feeling of a place.

Do you ever feel like a photo just can’t capture the true beauty of a place?

I hope to think I can capture the beauty of a place within a photo. The only things a photo cannot hold are smells or the warmth/coldness of a place that touches you. This is left for words but can still be reflected in a photo sometimes. Maybe some things are just meant to be left with you and in your memories.

I would like to say thank you to www.foxeurope.com for all their support.

For more on Lucia, check out her website at http://www.luciagriggi.com/

Interview by Keenan Kelly

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