This week the Chronicle had a chat with Billy Lee-Pope, an up and coming photographer and film maker.
Name: Billy Lee-Pope
Job/School: Retail assistant at Raglan Surf Emporium
When did you first pick up a camera?
Probably the first memory I have with a camera was when I was about 5 years old, I took a photo of a cow in a paddock on a disposable camera – ha-ha. When I was about 12 I got a Sony digital camera and filmed all my mates skating and making little edits, it was heaps of fun!
What drew you to photography and film?
I’m not exactly sure – I just love the whole process. It’s really cool getting caught up in a moment taking photos or video and then going through footage and then putting it out and seeing what people think of it. Also social media is pretty cool right now – you can see what other photographers are working on day-to-day, which is really inspiring.
Tell us about some of your recent projects:
I am just finishing up the final clip for the Billabong Grom Series at the moment. I was really stoked to get that gig. It’s heaps of fun hanging out with all the grommets. A few of my good friends are still competing in the under 20s division so, yeah, that’s been heaps of fun! I have also been teaming up with Alex Dive from Mt Maunganui working on a section – we have scored some really pumping waves. Maybe just one more day of filming at the right place at the right time and I’ll be able to put that clip out!
Are there any photographers or other people out there that inspire your work?
I would say that all my work is from being inspired by other photographers, or it’s a fluke! In New Zealand, for photos, I would say Richard Hodder AKA InTheDrink. I’ve been following his work closely since I was in high school. He has an incredible eye. PhotoCPI, from Piha, has also been a really good mentor for me and has also inspired my work. For film, Kai Neville and Riley Blakeway – everything they produce is impeccable and always pushes up a few notches what is to be expected.
What’s next for Billy in 2017?
In May I’ll be moving over to Australia with a few of my buddies, It will be a really cool adventure. I’m hoping to network and meet some new people, and have a good crack at breaking into the film side of the surf industry. I’ve still got heaps to learn to get on par with the guys that are doing it at the moment but hopefully it will be a nudge in the right direction.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
This summer I moved back to Raglan and have been working in the Raglan Surf Emporium. It’s been heaps of fun working in the shop and I’ve had heaps of time for surfing and even doing a bit of shooting. It’s been really good!
How could Raglan be improved for its youth?
That’s a pretty tough question. We have it pretty good in Raglan – there are heaps of opportunities out there for us if we choose to take them. It’s a hell setup!
The country you would most like to visit?
I really, really, really want to travel the California coast. I’d love to buy a van and scope it out top to bottom and maybe even cross over into Mexico!
Best book you’ve ever read?
Oh, man, I don’t really read books. Is that bad?
Stab, Monster Children & What Youth
In 10 years I see myself
… Finally growing my first moustache – ha-ha. Nah, I’d like to have my own production company, still be involved in surf and be based out of Raglan. That would be a good combo!