This photographer is a perfect example of someone taking what most would consider as a disadvantage and turning it into an advantage. Australian photographer Ray Collins is colorblind. Even so, he has managed to become one of the most famous photographers in the world producing breathtaking work. To Collins, his color blindness helps his work.
“I think it helps by removing the “distraction” of color, allowing me to focus on contrast, tones, textures, and compositions. If I’d always seen the same way as everyone else, maybe my work wouldn’t be as unique.” – Collins
His latest body of work is a series that he has been working on for the past ten years. He has compiled the best of these photos into a book titled Water & Light which presents new and unseen visions of waves. His life purpose is to travel around the world in search of the most beautiful waves in order to capture and immortalize them.
His journey with photography began back in 2007 when he bought his first camera and left his job as a coal miner to pursue his passion. Since then, he has collaborated with National Geographic, Vogue, Patagonia, Apple, and Nikon. He has published multiple books of his collections, and recently he was featured in the documentary Fish People, which is now viewable on Netflix.
His photographs present the unique power of water in all its forms, perfectly. Weather calm or rough, he truly captures the essence of the wave in all its glory. In order to do so he has had to do some unbelievable things and has definitely taken the road less traveled…which has made all the difference.
His adventures include him having to hang harnessed out of a doorless helicopter in Hawaii, swim in the below freezing north Atlantic seas of Iceland, drive for days to reach the desolate reefs and bomboras of Australia’s raw southern and eastern coastlines, document the once in a decade Tahitian mega swell, sail through the remote and uninhabited island chains of the Indonesian archipelago, and much more, all for the love of the sea. He told My Modern Met in an interview:
“The Ocean has been the one single constant in my life. At any stage of life, at any time, during any emotion—it is there for me.”
Growing up all his life near the coastline, the water has naturally been all he has ever really known. As a child he would spend his days exploring his immediate surroundings which were beaches, cliffs, and coves that dot the landscape of where he lived. His love for the ocean has been rooted in him ever since he could remember. To him, a wave is the epitome of awe, and you don’t need color to feel that.
“They are literal waves of energy that move through water and they never repeat themselves! There’s no re-shoot, ever! No rewinding or second chances. All of this, along with its sheer beauty inspire me every day.” – Collins