I met sir Guy Dee in the winter of 2015 in NSW’s Snowy Mountains. Guy was working at Thredbo as a media weather reporter dubbed‘the weather guy’. He was a long haired, tanned thing with a huge big bright smile. Guy would read the isobars, gather information and give Thredbo frothers the low down.
I can’t remember how I exactly met Guy but I quite quickly put him in the ‘legend’ category. We then spent a decent day together at Thredbo’s bank slalom where I spent half the day drinking and carrying on about my boy troubles. Fast forward to now, and I still call him up with advice of what to do in that arena. “hey, how you going” he will say every single time he answers.- that’s my Guy.
Guy moved conveniently around the corner from me in Freshie where I could annoy him some more and n landed a job in the media team for Taronga Zoo. Althought the zoo takes up much of his time, he also makes time for his passion in photography. I have always loved his style and images, which in fact inspired me to write this article. Many of his photos have a timelessness to them or a vintage feel to them. His photos give me a sense of ‘peeping tom’ with rock, grass or buildings in the foreground as if it’s all a secret. There is something so fluid and easy going about his work, that I genuinely think it reflects his personality. You’ll have to see himself!
I wanted to know more about a fellow Hills District man gone rogue to the beaches so I decided to start my ‘MEET’ series with him.
You grew up in Dural, where did your love for waves come from?
My older brother and I had surfboards as kids. Dad convinced us that it was more fun than riding dirt bikes, but we didn’t get to the beach that often. Once my brother was old enough to drive, we would head down to the beach 3 or 4 times a week. We were hooked. I bough ta 6’2’ BJ for 200 bucks (dubbed the blowjob) and it took me forever to learn, but my slow improvement, time spent sitting out the back with mates and becoming familiar with a new environment was amazing. I’ve loved the sport ever since, but I go through huge hot and cold patches-surfing hard for six months, then not surfing at all for six months. Most of the time it takes something fresh to get me back in the water, changing up boards, exploring anew coast etc. One day I’d run out of different boards, no new beaches nearby, so I ended up swimming out with a little film camera I’d bought online. Suddenly there was no competition for waves, it way easier to get stoked, every session you’d come away with a good result and everyone wanted to have a chat. It was great!.
When shooting, what is your weapon of choice?
My daily driver is a Panasonic GH5. It was my first serious camera, so I wanted a jack of all trades. It shoots fair stills at 20ish megapixels with a good burst rate of 12frames per second, but its video specs are what sold me. Up to 180 frames per second at 1080hd so you can slow it down a lot. You can kick it into full cinema 4K which is fun, and lenses are cheap.Sure, it’s not full frame (the full frame hype is real), in fact it’s exactly half frame, but that’s ok for now. (for those of you not into cameras, I know this is jibberish)
My true love however is film. It’s more fun. It costs money to shoot so you don’t end up rattling off 3000 shots with AF (auto-focus) on. You take more considered and composed photos in better light of people you actually like. For that I shoot mostly Nikon (FM2n, F2, Nikonos). It’s unreal... and slide film is even better. In fact, I mounted my first roll of slide film last night and had a slide show in the living room! How good!
Where do you take inspiration from?
It’s a funny one, I’ve been weirdly inspired by very different things over the years. For a longtime it was the physical beauty of the environment, usually rural landscapes, golden light or culture of a country/region. At the same time, I think most people have a soft spot for music. Whether a certain song takes you back to a particular point in time, associated with a certain person or even an imaginary scene.
“I’m constantly making playlists on Spotify that I want to use as soundtracks over exotic surf clips around the world, action scenes or even romance/heartbreak scenes! I can see the scenes in my mind’s eye, I just need to shoot them! “
Now days it’s more about history. I’m super into previous decades. I love the style. from the 30’s to the 70’s–cars, architecture, music, fashion, hifi equipment, board design, even furniture, weirdly. A lot of brands are heading that direction in their styling, it’s cool to see. I’d love to shoot something where the viewer has no idea whether it’s from the 1960’s or 2020’s.
What gets you up in the morning and keeps your mental health clear?
The surfing culture gets me up. Sunrise is the best time of day–no matter what’s happening in life. It’s almost like first light automatically lifts morale, even during the trickiest times. Once you’re in the rhythm and waking up is easy, there is a buzz by the beach. People are checking the surf, getting coffee, exercising, walking the dog, birds are going full tilt–it’s just pleasant. If you’re lucky, at the right time of the year you’ll have a few hours before work to be in the water, so it makes five day daily grind a little more bearable.
Why do you do the job you do now?
I work my paid job because it contributes to the conservation of wildlife and habitat around the world–albeit in a very roundabout way. It’s also teaching me some great skills that I hope will one day allow me to work remotely, outside of a CBD where I can find a nice patch of countryside and raise a family! My unpaid job–I’m building skills, working out what my style is, finding a rhythm and publishing my work to see if anyone else likes it. I don’t want my photography to be dictated by what other people consider to be good (which is insanely hard, maybe even impossible),but one day hopefully someone will say to me “You just do your thing and we will pay you for it. We love your style, the brief is to shoot your existing style”. That’s the dream!
(I’d have to say mine too)
“Thunks a loh Rachel. THUNKS A LOH” . (god knows where that’s from)
Favourite pics you have taken?