January 16th, 2014 | By | 1,861 Comments

SWELL Snapshot: Duncan Macfarlane


Since his Follow the Light Foundation Grant Award, Duncan Macfarlane’s travel itinerary has been synonymous with the best swell stories in surf media. But surf isnt his only angle, Billabong just printed an exclusive run of Duncan’s graphic art in their spring tee line.

Here’s a little style insight from the Surfing Magazine Photographer:

SWELL: Your Instagram shows @DuncanM has been getting his passport stamped on the regular. Any newly discovered spots your dying to revisit?

Duncan:  Yeah. I’ve been on the move a fair bit the past year or two. Among the usual surf destinations like Indo and Europe I have to say Sri Lanka was on of my favourites. I’d love to head back there one day.


Sliding in Sri Lanka. Photo: D.Macfarlane

SWELL: What do you typically pack for an overseas photo mission?

Duncan:  Pack simply. I usually just pack a good array of camera gear to cover just about anything that would pop up on an adventure. And enough clothes to make sure I get through without taking up too much space.

Less is More. Although a small game, or funny thing is always good to make a trip fun. Instrument, cards, or I know Jimmy Wilson at Surfing Magazine travels with an inflatable Beer Bong. Maybe I don’t recommend that to the young ones, but definitely something else to keep you stoked and the vibes good on a trip. Thats important too.


 SWELL: How did winning the Follow the Light photography grant affect your career path in the industry

Duncan: It opened a lot of doors. Thats what it’s about creating pathways. The more pathways you can create the more opportunity you will have to make photos and keep doing what you want in the industry. It landed me a Staff job at Surfing Magazine which is a huge thing and wouldn’t have happened otherwise as it put me right in there sights. So, it was definitely a huge push in the right direction.


The highs and lows of a traveling surf photog

 SWELL: What advice would you give for aspiring surf photogs?

Duncan:  My advice, an I honestly think this is one of the biggest things, is enjoy what your doing and be friendly and nice to every single person you meet. Not like fake nice, but listen to everyone and be polite. You can be the best photographer in the world, but if your a complete wanker no one is going to want to work with you.

But, in saying that, take good photos too. Aint no use in being the nicest guy in the world and unable to shoot a photo, that won’t work either. Shoot what you want to shoot and do what your exited to do, even if people aren’t into it as much as you are. Then you will give what you are doing 110% and thats when special moments and photos happen. The rest will come.


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