Brian Shannon: Surf Photographer

Beyond The Frame

Welcome to another episode of Surf Bank's Beyond The Frame where we dive into the captivating world of surf and ocean photography, going beyond mesmerising captures exploring the backstory of many talented photographers. In this episode we will be hearing from Brian Shannon a talented a surf photographer originating from the South Shore of Long Island in the United States! Beyond the frame aims to inspire and inform future surf photographers and ocean lovers being your backstage pass to detailed insights from the minds behind stunning surf shots.

Brian Shannon Gallery

What Did Your Childhood Look Like?

Growing up on the South Shore of Long Island, I've always had a relationship with the ocean. My parents belonged to a surf club where I was originally exposed to the surf. I also swam competitively my entire life, so the water has always been a place of comfort and relaxation for me.

What Came First, Surfing or Photography?

I started surfing around the age of eight or nine. I spent a few summers surfing in the Outer Banks, North Carolina and I've been hooked ever since. Being exposed to great surf conditions at an early age made me fall in love with the ocean and the sport of surfing.

How Did You Get Into Surf Photography?

I was enrolled in a photojournalism class my junior year of college which really inspired me to continue down the path of photography. I was also roommates and teammates with a few talented individuals who were radio, tv, and film majors, and would collaborate with them on various photography and video projects which really expanded my creativity and love for capturing images. I went to school about two hours north of the South Shore of Long Island, and luckily a majority of my friends were surfers, so any chance we had to take a trip during a swell we'd try and take advantage.

Where Do You Normally Shoot?

I'm usually shooting on the South Shore of Long Island or New Jersey. People say it all the time, but the surfers from the Northeast are a different bread. I'll be freezing behind the lens shooting for a few hours and you'll see these individuals come in after a swell with ice on their wetsuit in blizzard conditions, yet they still have the biggest smile on their face. It's really something special to see and experience.

Photo By Brian Shannon

Where Do You Shoot? Water or Land?

Primarily land. When shooting, my goal is to look outside the box. There will always be other photographers capturing a swell, but I'm always asking myself, what angle or position is different then everyone else. What's going to make my image stand out from the rest. Lastly, my plan is to eventually invest in a water housing and start experimenting in the ocean hopefully in the near future.

What Makes The Perfect Image?

I don't think there's ever a perfect image. There are great images, but there's always going to be something that can be tweaked or modified. I will say capturing a great image takes a lot of skill, but also a lot of luck. Being in the right place at the right time especially capturing surfing images is key to a great shot.

How Did You Become So Involved In The Surf Scene?

Persistence. I didn't know anyone personally in the surf scene before I started to shoot. Over the past 10+ years of shooting though, i've been lucky enough to meet some fantastic individuals and work/collaborate with some local surf shops, including unsOund Surf, Long Beach Surf Shop, Whalebone, Pilgrim Surf Supply, and Patagonia New York. The New York and New Jersey surf scene is definitely a close knit group where everyone has each others backs.

Do You Have A Favourite Photographer That Has Inspired You?

There's a nice group of East Coast Photographers who I've been lucky enough to meet who have really inspired me including Matt Clark, Mike Nelson, and James Katsipis. The images that these guys catch are absolutely incredible. I will say however that the first surf images that really caught my eye and inspired me were Clark Little. My buddy and I went to one of his book signings in Brooklyn, New York for Shorebreak and Clark couldn't have been any nicer and really inspired me to pursue my passion for photography.

What's Your Biggest Challenge To Overcome When Shooting?

Patience. Just as in surfing you'll have to wait for that set to come. I'm always ready for that next shot, but sometimes it takes time to capture the shot you're looking for and sometimes it doesn't come at all and you'll have to wait another day.

Photo By Brian Shannon

Brian's Equipment List

Camera & Lenses

Brian always shoots with the Canon EOS 80D with the Canon EF 75-300 or Canon EF 50mm.

Brian's Favourite Shot Taken

My favorite shot was from March 2020 right before the covid pandemic hit. I call this image Golden Hour. Captured on the South Shore of Long Island, I'd been shooting all day and was on my way back to New York City. Luckily I turned around one more time and caught this incredible A-Frame with a silhouette surfer staring in disbelief at it. A few days later the lock down began and New York was one of the cities hit hardest from the covid virus, so whenever I see this image it reminds me of the simple things in life. I know I previously said I don't believe in the perfect image, but this was as close as its gotten for me thus far.

Golden Hour By Brian Shannon

Personal Message

This is more of a message for the ocean and beaches in general, but remember to clean up your trash after you leave. It sounds cliche, but it's important to protect our water quality, marine life, and coastal ecosystem in general. Also remember to support your local surf shops! 🙂

Brian's Future Plans

Continue to capture images whenever I can. My love for photography and surfing will always be there, so I'm hoping that this upcoming fall and winter provide some great swell for the Northeast.

Follow @broshan11

You can keep up to date with Brian's new projects and recent captures on his Instagram, as well as browse his prints that are for sale. If any take your fancy message him!

Do You Want To Be Involved In Beyond The Frame?

Are you a surf photographer wanting your story told? You may be our next Beyond The Frame feature! Please get in touch with us over email so we can get a conversation going:

Photo By Brian Shannon

The Surfbank is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate Disclosure.

The Trusted Voice of Surfing.
Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved

313, 39 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7JN