Soul People – Jamie Mitchell

We’re under no illusion how lucky we are to get to work with such brilliantly talented photographers at our various homes around the world.  Jamie Mitchell is with us as our resident photographer in Kerala right now, where he spends his time hanging out with the beach dogs, photographing fishermen (and the occasional surfer), and eating Oreos… 

Where is home for you? 

I was born and raised in Newquay, Cornwall. Brighton was my home for a few years when I was studying for my degree and I miss the place dearly but I found my way back home pretty quickly, it’s a hard place to beat Newquay… But for the last 10 years I’ve never been in one spot for longer than 6 months, so I’m good at settling quickly into new environments.

How did you get into photography?

Tough one… Growing up I loved making little skate videos with my friends but I never took them seriously, it wasn’t until university that I really fell in love with the art form. I studied illustration but by my final year I spent a lot of time in the photography department, sponging as much information as possible. I moved back home and found a marketing / product photography job at my local surf shop where I could develop my skills. I was completely self funded, whenever I got paid, the money went right back into buying new gear which has been massively beneficial in being able to take my job abroad, although it’s left me with an empty bank account.


What does a typical day at work at Soul & Surf look like?

Ready?..

  • 5:55 – Wake up
    6:00 – Wake up again, stretch my legs, assess the weather and pack my gear accordingly.
    6:20 – Get on my bike, put on a tune.
  • 6:25 – Welcome the guests over a couple cups of coffee and bananas. It’s vital to know the people you’re shooting – what are their names, who’s confident and who’s a bit camera shy… 
  • 6:45 – Back on the bike, load up the tunes, race the tuk tuks to the beach.
    7:15 – Park up, warm up.
  • 7:30 – While the beginner guests have their introduction it’s a good opportunity to get out back with the more skilled surfers and local rippers and get some tasty barrel shots. 
  • 8:00 – All the guests are now surfing, spread out get all the angles. 
  • 9:00 – If I’ve got the shots, catch a few waves.
    9:30 – Head home, freshen up, clean camera gear.
    10:45 – Breakfast and socialise with the guests.
  • 12:00 – Edit.
  • 2:00 – Lunchtime. 
  • 2:30 – Bonus shots – lifestyle around the garden, portraits of staff, little extras. 
  • 5:30 – Get some sunset shots if possible, if not, attend the evening yin yoga class to really wind down for the day. 
  • 7:00 – More food.
  • 9:00 – Late night editing, YouTube tutorials on new techniques and Oreos

So yeah… Eat, Sleep, Clean, Drive, Shoot, Drive, Clean, Socialise, Edit, Organise, Socialise… Repeat!  

Best and worst things about shooting somewhere like Kerala?

Worst – Humidity. Everything is slightly damp which makes setting up the waterproof housing a real challenge. Shallow waves and heavy breaks mean eating a lot of sand. Sand… It goes everywhere!

Best – Kerala is the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived. The morning light and the general colours of the surroundings are gorgeous, the surf is awesome and the lineup is empty. Also beach dogs and banana balls…

What / who inspires you: 

I never want someone to say “You could have worked harder.” Personal development is my main inspiration, I constantly strive to be better at what I do. I believe inspiration comes subconsciously in dribs and drabs from what you surround yourself with…I grew up with my dads rock n’ roll, and then found my own love for british hip-hop in Brighton (not to be confused with grime…just saying). I grew up skating and surfing so surf-town culture was a pretty big influence. Films are pretty big for me as well, cult classics like Lords of Dogtown and Point Break are at the top of my list. 

What does Soul mean to you? 

For me, Soul defines any moment when I’m present. It could be looking through the lens of my film camera, paddling out for a surf, sitting in the impact zone waiting for the shot of the day, driving around Kerala on my bike with some tunes on… Clarity derived from exertion, those moments where you achieve complete mental and physical synchronicity. Where nothing is more important than the moment and activity in-front of you. 

All images: Jamie Mitchell Photography

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Guest Reviews

I had a great time surfing in the Andaman Islands. This was all due to the perfect combination of the idyliic location of these remote and beautiful islands, empty breaks, a fun group of fellow surfers and the untiring crew from Soul & Surf.

Calin Duke