Talking Travel, Photography, and Sustainability with Jamie Richards

Jamie Richards, founder of the eco-savvy clothing brand, Good Shirt, chats to us about surfing and sustainability discussing the creation of his company and his passion for outdoor adventure, looking after our planet, and his two-phase photography journey.

Jamie, what makes you tick?

Like many kiwis, the great outdoors and nature have always featured large in my life. My favourite sports since school days have been surfing and skiing, so you kinda take that nature buzz that comes with getting amongst it in the outdoors, add in a bit of adrenaline and boom !!! It really is quite an intoxicating blend. When you add in sharing these experiences with friends and family it’s pretty addictive, as a result I’ve been lucky enough to travel around NZ and various other parts of the world to get my fill of ocean/mountain fueled adventures. 

How did your photography journey begin? My photography journey can pretty much be split into two phases with the 1st phase kicking off in Whangarei around 1988 when I bought a Nikonos underwater camera to shoot the surf missions my mates and I were going on.  What seemed like a great idea at the time, was a bit of a fail. The Rolls Royce like build of the Nikonos was awesome, as was the image quality, but for surf photography I found the Nikonos was pretty tricky to use in the surf given the super basic viewfinder setup which was on top of the camera body and not through the lens. This made it really difficult to compose a good surf shot while bobbing around in the ocean, so I pretty much found out the hard way that the Nikonos is better suited to shooting dive photos than surf photos ;) After persisting with the Nikonos for a while I sold it on and bought a replacement which was a Nikon 801s plus a couple of lenses, tripod etc. This had no underwater capability but suited what I got stuck into next, that old kiwi classic, the OE. 

While traveling I was shooting mostly on Slide film (Kodachrome 64 and Veliva 50) so whilst I was really enjoying photography, my enthusiasm was tempered by the ongoing film/ processing costs of it all so I ended up putting my camera down & photography as a hobby went by the wayside as I got busy with work and family. Funnily enough though, after sitting on a shelf for the better part of 20 years, my eldest daughter is now using my old Nikon 801s, going old school shooting on film as well as digital. In the here and now, I've recently gotten back into photography, so phase 2 of my photo journey I guess. This was pretty much instigated due to developing Good Shirt as a brand and the many plusses that came with picking up a camera again for work and play.  Since I’d last bought a quality camera there’s been a “D” thrown in front of the "SLR” and I’m so stoked on the digital revolution. For me the cost of slide film is now thankfully only a distant memory, and while the basics of photography haven’t really changed, the compact nature and flexibility of camera gear that’s available now definitely has.  After a bit of research I decided on a Sony @6300 Mirrorless camera and a couple of Sony lenses. While the @6300 is at the mid-lower end of Sony’s range, overall I’m happy enough with the quality of photos and video I’m able to get with this camera.  I’ve learnt more about  photography/ videography in the past two years than I ever knew during phase 1 of my photographic journey. That said I still feel like I’m just scraping the surface of what there is to learn, so I’m constantly looking at ways to get the best out of my camera gear and improve on my technical and artistic abilities behind the lens.