Mike O’Meally, who features and covers in our upcoming Issue #8, is one of the speakers at Carbon festival this weekend.
A must not miss! Quickly grab your ticket here. 

Carbon Festival, is a brilliant creative conference featuring remarkable & insightful speakers. With a truly brilliant line-up, the multitude of speakers cross disciplines of photography, design, street wear & music.

Inspiration is everything. From those that influence & motivate us to break boundaries & revolutionise.
Mike is certainly one of those guys. Australian-born and now LA-based, and a skater himself, Mike started shooting friends and soon began editing and freelancing for skate magazines. Photographing the top Australian skaters, and gaining attention for his intuitive and genuine approach. 

 Now, as Senior Photographer of Transworld, he’s more often travelling and continuing to produce remarkable images. We caught up with Mike on his inspirations, trusting your instincts and Australia producing some of the worlds top skaters. Dont’ miss him at CARBON Festival 2014 this weekend.

Here we chat inspirations, and challenges in his in-the-moment photography…

Photographed by Steve Lee
Location: Los Angeles

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How did you start your day today?

I woke up at 6.15, wrote something down on a hotel notepad beside the bed and had a stretch, then got on the computer 

What camera do you always make sure you have on you, to capture any moment?

 I do not always have a camera on me, but when I do I use Nikon.

Tell us about CARBON so far…

Yes, this is my first time at Carbon, but all the speakers we great on Saturday, I particularly liked Patrick Martinez and Brent Rollins. Other than that, I find influences and inspirations in photo books, newspapers, magazines… everywhere really.

How important is educating / communicating to the next generation?

 I think it’s as important as anyone cares to make it. You get out what you put in, and perhaps the students is often the best teacher, so I always try to “pay it forward”. 

How do you stay challenged when mixing it up with photography and perspective?

I like to collect photo books, go to shows, collect magazines – obviously now you can see everything on the internet which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. I try to find inspiration and ideas in the work I like of the masters. But the best way to challenge yourself is to keep going and try new things. Be it a new subject, a new location, some new gear, or any number of things, staying challenged is often the challenge in itself.

Is there anyone that’s been a big inspiration for you? Photography-wise, or someone influential for you?

There are many. Skate photographers from the late 80′s and early 90′s: Daniel Harold Sturt, Gabe Morford, Tobin Yelland, Spike Jonez, Grant Brittain. Those guys were and still are THE inspiration. Many others too. Photographers outside of the skate world, Dianne Arbus, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, HCB, James Nachtwey, Don McCullin, Eugene Richards, Robert Frank, so many….

Now based in LA, how has this influenced your lifestyle & photography – compared to Australia?

Well certainly a lot more driving! I don’t know if it’s influenced my lifestyle so much as – it’s just different in some ways. I don’t go to the beach as much in LA unfortunately, but obviously the Mexican food is unbeatable here. As far as my photography, I tend to shoot a lot more natural light, as the light here is so omnipresent, but I think where you live is just that. I try to travel as much as possible, so I don’t think living here is too influential on that, but who knows? Maybe I am just too close and I can’t see it. Either way, LA is a very decent place to live – as well as shoot, so I am happy in both places.  Australia is my island home, it’s waiting for me…

Thank you Mike!

Read the full interview, coming up in Champ Issue #8…!

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