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Behind the Lens—Jake Schrier

In the South of California where waves are constant and the sun is always peaking, you can find a talented 18-year-old that finds his inner peace in the sea. Even if nature always played an important role in Jake’s life, photography came in an unexpected way. Playing baseball since his youth, going to the beach to surf or bodyboard wasn’t something he was familiar with. When his friends asked him if he wanted to go to Laguna Beach and try bodyboarding, Jake didn’t expect to find his true calling but did, with the help of a GoPro. Amazed by the shots he took, even if today he wouldn’t define them that way, Jake quickly started to take more. After six months of shooting self-described mediocre photos, Jake found a job, saved all the money and finally bought his first camera with, of course, a water housing. At only 15, you could find Jake in and out the sea, day and night.

With the hope of getting a better understanding of who Jake Schrier is and what inspires him, we asked him a few questions concerning his work and life in California. A truly talented guy that we’re looking forward to following grow along the best.

Did growing up in Southern California influence you in your photographic choices? Or has the ocean and surfing always been your number one inspiration?

Surfing has always been my number one inspiration. I love nature and I love taking my camera wherever I go. Hawaii is another inspiration, but California will have to do for now. The waves in California are interesting. It is only good in the morning when the wind is good so I need to wake up before the sun comes up to get the best colors as well as the best wind and conditions. And as the waves and wind are always good, I am missing out on perfect surf all the time.

What’s the most challenging thing you face when capturing a surfer in action?

The most challenging thing I face when capturing surfing is obviously the waves. When shooting at The Wedge in Newport Beach, I’ve almost run multiple times. One day, I went out when it was way too big. It was about 15 to 18 feet with massive thick faces and only a few feet of water to swim in. Surfers were breaking bones and I was the only photographer out. It was so sketchy with all these people watching. I ended up taking one of my favorite photos at The Wedge that day, but I don’t know if it was worth it considering I almost drowned after being held under during two waves. Size is what scares me the most. Drowning has always been a huge fear of mine.

What’s the craziest experience you’ve had while shooting surfing?

The craziest experience I’ve had while shooting surfing was that day at The Wedge. Being held under water for so long is one of the scariest things that has ever happened while shooting to this date and I hope I won’t experience that again in my life.

You’ve just finished high school and you are now planning your college years. Is your future going to involve a creative career within the surfing industry or you have something else in mind?

I’m going to Pepperdine University starting in January so in the time being, I’m taking a couple classes at the local junior college in photography. At Pepperdine, I’m studying business and I would like to eventually find a well-paid job, but I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I hope it involves either surfing or taking pictures.

Pepperdine is at the pristine location of Malibu. Five minutes away from campus is First Point, one of the best longboarding breaks in California so I hope to surf that a lot while I am there. I also have friends going to college up and down the coast so I plan to do many road trips as well as trips to Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia and Europe. As I stated earlier, I hope that my later life involves either surfing or photography.

Why have you decided to become involves with Nouvelle Vague?

I have become involved with Nouvelle Vague not only because they are a rad brand and magazines, but also because I want to publicize myself to the world. I want people to see my pictures and be like “Wow, this is what it’s like to live in California.” No one really understands the ocean here, but I feel like my photos can really help display what it truly is like to surf or be in the water in California. A lot of girls in my high school were asking me for prints for their college dorm so they can “keep a little bit of California in their lives while being away from here.” I believe that California is one of the best states in the U.S., not only because of the pretty girls and money, but because of the variety of beaches, nature… just about everything in California is one of a kind.


This interview is part of our series “The Digital Return” – a series of articles that present each contributor of our soon to be released digital magazine. 

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