Alana Spencer, born and brought up on the North Shore of Oahu, what did Alana do when the entire surfing world converged on her home shores each winter? Well, it depends on the day. She either joined them in the water — reminding the pros what style and grace look like — or picked up her camera and captured the action with an intimacy and edge that's become her signature style. She's since taken her talents worldwide, and shares her adventures on her website,
1. First off, what do you do?

I’m a photographer with a particular passion for water photography. Almost everything I do relates back to the ocean some way or another.

2. You live a life pretty much always moving. What does home mean for you?

Home to me will always be the North Shore of Oahu. Grounding and establishing a routine in a new place or country only ever got me so far, I need to sleep in my own bed to really feel that sense of home. But traveling with my best friend did help :)

3. When you're on the road there’s always so many temptations. Do you have any tips on how to focus when you need to get the boring stuff done?

Go to the local market and cook a meal at home. It’s fun to shop in a place where you can’t read the labels, and a salad, fresh baguette, with a bottle of wine are hard to screw up. Enjoying a meal at home is great for productivity but also makes me feel like I'm enjoying something in a new place.

4. What do you always bring on your travels?

Backups of everything related to gear. There’s no camera stores near most of the destinations i’m going to, so preparing for a water housing to flood is at top of mind for me always.

5. What would you tell yourself as a teenager?

Start documenting your life even more. The mundane, common, eating-dinner-with-your-family type of stuff is my favorite type of photography now. I love the images I've taken for work, but a candid photo of my siblings sitting together in the ocean waiting for the next set is far more valuable to me.

6. Which is your favourite destination?

Tahiti, I love the tropics. Their culture reminds me of home except everyone speaks french and every meal has fresh coconut somewhere in it. Everything feels nostalgic and I love that.

7. What would you tell people who would like to follow your path?

Do the unpaid internships in college, or work for someone in the industry even if the rate isn’t what you think you’re worth. When you’re starting out, learn as much as you can from people that are doing things you find interesting. Try it all out; it’s just as valuable to know what you want to do as it is to know what you don’t. If you can learn that through a free internship and not 4 years of college I think that’s great.

8. Have you studied?

Yes, but not formally for photography. My education is in fashion and retail merchandising. I thought I wanted to work creating store built-outs and window displays. I never feel like anything I've studied or job random I've worked as a waste; you can learn from every experience and marketing classes I took are applicable to other things I'm doing.

9. What was your first job?

My first job as a paid photographer was for a friend’s new lemonade company back in 2014. I was actually building them a website and the photos were just something I offered to provide an all encompassing package.

10. Which stuff brings creativity to you?

Being at home on the North Shore is what always gets me the most inspired to create. This place is filled with so many memories, I just love the feelings I have here.

11. Do you have any packing tricks that you use while always on the move?

There’s unfortunately no way to make gear lighter or smaller, so invest in great bags and luggage and you’ll worry a lot less about everything getting tossed around. Also, when checking in, sneakily slide your toes under the luggage scale and lift up haha.

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