Tony Roberts

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About

Tony Roberts, or “TR” as he is known in the surf community, was one of the first surf photographers to utilize the fisheye lens to focus on above the lip manuevers, using inspiration from skateboard photography to bring close-up action shots to magazines and videos in the 80′s and 90′s – coinciding perfectly with that era’s turn towards aerials and big, powerful maneuvers.  Known almost equally as well as an extremely fluid, strong surfer, TR has used his experience shredding in the water to better dictate shoots and really execute choreographed surfing.  As Tony says, it takes “a rare work ethic” to stay out of the water and shoot photos when the waves are pumping, but the process produces better images thanks to the absolute understanding between subject and photographer.  TR has done stints at both Surfing and Transworld Surfing magazines, but left the US surf industry to surf and shoot full time in Centro America, where he now shoots for Quiksilver Latin America, surfs and skates everyday, and tends to his daughter Xia.  as well as shooting tourist surfers of all levels up and down Central America. “The last few years I have worked the beach at Playa Colorado, Nicaragua, shooting traveling surfers. They are so appreciative compared to pros and it is very satisfying for me to shoot the best photos or footage of someone’s life!" (schedule your shoot with TR:
tr@tonyrobertsphoto.com)
-Ryan Dunfee

How did you get started as a surf photographer, or a photographer in general?

TR Productions started by making super 8 movies and shooting photos of my friends surfing and skating when I was a little kid. I would hold slide show events in local grange halls with projectors, a fat home made sound system with wooden speakers, and narrate live while mixing on the fly. By the time I left high school I already had my career! Then it was on to conquer the world!
How did you get the idea to bring the fish-eye lens to the water?
I would study J Grant Brittian’s skate images in Trans World Skateboarding magazine in the mid 80′s and work with the surfers to attain the same angles and technical perfection in the water. It had never been done so it was gratifying to accomplish what we did and then see the results in Surfing magazine, and then see a lot of other photographers and surfers trying to do what we did.