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Isaiah Niemann

Updated: Oct 29

Interview

Isaiah Niemann is a photographer with a passion for creating timelessness through memories. He is always chasing the next crazy moment and experience to remember, such as the first image above of Kalani Lattanzi at Peahi.


"I find joy in creating art for other people with my camera. Life is always changing as our perspectives changes. Let me show you life from a new angle."

Bodysurfer Magazine:

Where do you call home?


Isaiah Niemann

I currently live in Kailua on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

How long have you been a photographer?


Isaiah Niemann

I have been doing photography for about five years now.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

What makes a good surfing or bodysurfing photograph and who are your influences?


Isaiah Niemann

For me photography has always been about the story that you are relating to someone. When someone looks at a photograph they feel the emotion, vibe, and influence that you are creating for them. I think the most critical thing about getting a good ocean photograph is being in the right place at the right time. Which, if you are photographing from the ocean, can often be a challenge since you are trying to dodge surfers, bodyboarders, bodysurfers and other photographers while fighting the current, keeping your camera ready to go and trying not to take a close out set on the head.


I am most influenced by Brian Bielman. A few years ago I watched a documentary he was in called “The White Rhino” and I was absolutely inspired by his passion and understanding of what it takes to capture these once in a lifetime shots. The special thing about ocean photography for me is the fact that it cannot be recreated. Once the wave goes by that's it, that wave is gone forever and it will never ever happen again the same way. Each wave is special and unique.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

What is your favourite bodysurfing photo that you have taken?


Isaiah Niemann

My favorite bodysurfing photo that I have taken would have to be the ones that I shot of Kalani Lattanzi at Peahi, Maui in November 2021. It was my first time at Jaws and I was mesmerized by the power of the ocean there. When I noticed Kalani in the lineup I was baffled and more than impressed. Kalani is a master of the ocean and I am positive that he lives life with no fear at all.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

What have been the hardest photography situations where it's been difficult to achieve the shots you're after?


Isaiah Niemann

My first time ever out at Jaws was quite an adventure. I flew over on a friday night. This was during the height of the covid lockdowns and one of the flight attendants decided to pick a fight with a local hawaiian over how this man was wearing his mask. Needless to say the flight attendant lost. I had flown over to Maui planning on just sleeping in my rental car, but the lady I sat next to on the plane wouldn't have it. She invited me to stay at her place so I got to sleep on her couch. Gotta love strangers’ generosity. Saturday morning I drove out to Jaws early and I didnt know anyone who had a ski or a boat so I was planning on just shooting from the cliff. The drive down to the cliff at Jaws is pretty gnarly. The road to the cliff is a steep dirt path with huge 3 foot deep potholes that are 8 feet wide. Pretty intense. Anyway when I got out to the cliff I almost filled up a whole memory card before any surfers got out because the waves were so beautiful! When a wave at Jaws breaks you can hear it from a long long way off. It looks like Godzilla coming up from the deep and just diving back down again causing an explosion of water looking like a bomb blast. I made so many good friends on that cliff! Probably my favorite experience doing water photography to date.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

How hard is it to capture the shot you’re trying to get at a distance?


Isaiah Niemann

Distance shots require a lot of attention and patience. You have to make sure all of your settings are right and you have to pay attention to what the water is doing the whole time. If you turn away for even a second you might miss something incredible. Lets just hope that you don't run out of battery or have to change out your memory card.



Bodysurfer Magazine:

What is your favourite thing about water photography?


Isaiah Niemann

Water photography is what I love the most. There is just something different and hard to explain about being one with the ocean. Swimming in the lineup and underneath everyone as they are catching the ride of their lives is my favorite thing to document.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

Are there many bodysurfers taking on big waves?


Isaiah Niemann

I have seen several bodysurfers charging at spots like Banzai Pipeline, Sunset, and other places, but I haven't seen anyone other than Kalani sending it at places like Jaws, Pier one, and Nazare. Kalani is on a whole other level.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

Do you bodysurf?


Isaiah Niemann

I dabble with bodysurfing from time to time when I don’t have a board with me and the waves are calling my name. But for me its the big stuff that I enjoy. When I can pull myself away from behind the camera I like to surf Waimea bay and hopefully soon I will get an opportunity to try my hand at Jaws. It has always been a dream of mine to surf Jaws.


Bodysurfer Magazine:

Thank you for sharing your work and stories with us Frosty! You can find his photos on instagram @frostyphoto7.2 or at his website frostyphoto.com

Also check out Brian Bielman brianbielmann.com and Kalani Lattanzi