How A Colorblind Ex-Coal Miner Transformed To A Surf Photographer Extraordinaire

Mar 4, 2015

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

How A Colorblind Ex-Coal Miner Transformed To A Surf Photographer Extraordinaire

Mar 4, 2015

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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Coming from sleepy, coastal town of Bulli, just south of Syndey, Australia, Ray Collins once did as most of the locals did, slaving away underground working as a coal miner. Art isn’t high priority on most Bulli’s residents list, but Collins isn’t like most. The soft spoken and humble waterman always had a deep seeded appreciation for the surf. He’d often rinse away a hard day’s work in the ocean, taking the time to witness it’s unrivaled beauty and power. But, in his coal mining days, he still hadn’t picked up a camera to document what he saw. Collins didn’t exactly have time the time it takes to dedicate to learning how to photograph waves, much less assemble an entire book’s worth of images.

Then something happened that would change his life forever. Collins blew his knee out while on the job site, a severe enough injury to warrant keeping him out of the mines. He accepted a payout from the mine and with that money, Collins promptly purchased his first camera. He’d waste no time in mastering his new craft. He has already established himself as a prominent game player in the world of water photography. Surfer Magazine refers to him as one of, if not the best, and most inventive water photographer in Australia.

Colorblindness Is Just As Much A Strength As A Weakness

As far as being colorblind, Collins doesn’t allow himself to see it as a handicap. “Color is secondary to the lighting.” he explains. He’s right, too, “…you can’t have a photo without light.” Instead of seeing his colorblindness as downfall, Collins turned it into an advantage, compelling him to focus more on composition.

“It’s forced me to look at shapes more, lines more. Maybe where I’ve lacked in some areas, it’s enhancing others.”

YouTube video

Found At Sea

Collins has recently published a collection of him photos in a book titled,  Found At Sea. You can learn more about Collins by visiting his website and dig more of his work over on his Instagram.

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[ Ray Collins via Surfer Magazine ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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3 responses to “How A Colorblind Ex-Coal Miner Transformed To A Surf Photographer Extraordinaire”

  1. Ian McArthur Avatar
    Ian McArthur

    Surf photographer maybe?

  2. Zee Avatar
    Zee

    Hi, interesting article, thanks for sharing with us!
    I’ve noticed a confusing phrase and a typo:
    “didn’t exactly have time the time it takes to dedicate to learning”
    and
    “a collection of him photos”.

  3. Matt Owen Avatar
    Matt Owen

    That’s good stuff. I’ve never seen waves that large in person, I think it’s time to put a travel budget together.