Byron Bay child Anrielle Hunt is that smiley face you meet in the surf and you will remember for her positive vibes. It’s clear that she’s at home & in love with the ocean and the elements as she will often tell you how much she regrets not having her camera with her when she’s surfing.
Pro surfer Roisin Carolan, photographer Fran Miller and I went on a trip to this incredible secret spot on the Australian east coast and Anrielle documented the day with some pretty amazing classic frames.
Meet Mademoiselle of the Sea and aqua film photographer Anrielle Hunt:
Is it safe to assume that growing up in Byron Bay makes you an ocean lover?
Most definitely. My clearest memory as a child is my dad taking me into the ocean on his hip at Belongil on what I felt was a ‘big’ day. He taught me to read the ocean and not be afraid. You can always dive deep, feel the sand and kick back to the surface.
How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing around 12 years old, 5:30am wake ups getting my quilt ripped off me in winter. I was pretty insecure as a kid about how much of a kook I was so I mastered duck diving and became confident reading the surf in all kinds of conditions but couldn’t actually surf haha. I’ve always been in the ocean in some way but picked up longboarding about 4 years ago.
When you’re not in the ocean with your surfboard you choose flippers and camera, how did you get into photography, especially aqua photography?
I am creative in a lot of ways and have always had creative outlets and played with different mediums. I picked up film photography initially in year 10 at Byron High but due to some not-so-supportive peers ended up dropping it. I found myself watching documentaries on film photography recently and bought a camera and 20 rolls of film then and there. Majority of my friends spend a significant amount of time in the ocean so it just made sense!
Why choose film over digital?
To be honest given I felt I was starting all over again I thought it best to go back to basics and master analog first. At the time it was more cost effective too but not anymore, I’ve spent hundreds developing film haha, ah well…worth it.
What’s the hardest thing about shooting with film?
Surfing is fast, film is slow. While you’re trying to keep your body above water, be in the right spot and right distance from the subject at the right time making sure the settings match up with the aforementioned you’re also battling rogue boards and surfers in the shot! Shooting surf photography has made me practice patience and wait for the perfect moment. Makes it all worth it when everything lines up.
What inspires you the most and what are you still wanting to shoot?
Definitely seeing other people put themselves out there and do their thing without trepidation. Being in the ocean during sunrise or sunset and watching people dance on surf crafts using the ocean to do it is pretty inspiring!
I am also keen to get more into portraits and learning to be able to properly capture a person’s personality. I love seeing the essence of someone and who they are when they are comfortable in the ocean so I want to keep learning to translate that into my work.
Any dreams for the future in surfing and photography?
I’m a nurse by trade and although I love it and it has served me well, my dream job is to travel and shoot surf and lifestyle photography. I plan to keep working with the amazing people I am lucky enough to have met around Byron and see where it takes me. Whatever will be, will be. I will be happy as long as I live a life in the ocean!
Photo credit: Anrielle Hunt and Dana Watson