- Women in Surf: Creating Content for Social Media
The evolution of image consumption is one of the most remarkable changes in photography. From being a medium reserved for the elite and the glamorous, to now, a screen, a thumb, and a double tap for appreciation.
But in this content rich ecosystem with 24/7 demand for images, it’s only fitting our five Women in Surf discuss the role social media has played in helping – and hindering – their careers.
While having a network of fans at your fingers tips is unprecedented engagement and influence for athletes, Brooke identifies it’s not just the athlete who’s liberated in this new environment.
“The athlete has been empowered to have this connection to an audience, but we’ve also been empowered to see how they’re connecting with an audience,” says Brooke. “As a sponsor of athletes, we can see the number of people you have following you, the number of likes, the engagement, how popular someone is.”
Macy Callaghan reviewing an image of herself in the surf
But Brooke remains adamant it’s not the only deciding factor.
“We sponsor athletes on how they perform, the person they are, and as long as their social channels are a reflection of them as a person then it’s always going to feel natural and connected to the sponsor.”
Belinda Baggs and Macy Callaghan reviewing content
For Sally, managing the output of content is no different to managing her body for competition or training. It’s a facet of the professional athlete world which needs time, care, consideration and endless improvement.
“It’s so emotive and powerful to create one image,” she says, “but it’s hard to continually replicate it and keep up with the speed and demand. Sometimes it’s gone in three seconds, even though it takes days to create.”
“I feel like I sometimes struggle to keep posting things that my sponsors want to see,” adds Macy. “I’m a surfer, I just want to go surfing, I just want to be myself… I still love Instagram so it works both ways.”
Macy Callaghan at Bells Beach, Torquay
For all the great things social media has done for being connected, with so much attention unfortunately comes scrutiny. Sally, Brooke, Belinda and Fran have had social media grow into their lives. For Macy, she’s never known life without a news feed and what does that do the development of one’s image?
“Recently after I’ve had a couple of good results and I’ve been putting myself out onto social media, and you get weird guys and there’s some hurtful things that can be put out there on social media.”
“I know there’s the good people there, my sponsors, my family, my friends and those other people aren’t a part of my life. I’m just here doing what I’m doing and I love it, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Fran Miller taking photos of Macy Callaghan at Torquay.
Through wiser eyes, social media need be nothing more than an extension of yourself. “Throughout my Instagram, I always prefer to talk to people as myself, and not through the eyes of my sponsor or what I think they would want to hear,” says Belinda.
“There’s definitely an expectation of what the fan wants to seem, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it to them,” says Brooke.
Not everyone is going to like you in the world. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea,” says Sally. “I feel like it’s your voice and no one can really talk like you. Even the way they might edit the photo, I like the whole process and it’s a proud feeling to put out a moment that’s mine.”
Watch the final film in our series - where we discuss what's next for the sport.
Image of Belinda Baggs getting ready for a surf at Bells Beach
Learn more about the making of the new EOS R system, how it will unlock a new level of optical excellence and expand the range of shooting even further.
Over two decades, the award-winning Canon Master Stephen Dupont has been a champion for the people of fragile and marginalised cultures through his hauntingly beautiful and intimate photographs of humanity.
Underwater photographer and Tales by Light explorer Eric Cheng is spell-bound by the majesty of the sea. Read his story here.
Jonathan and Angela Scott are multi-award-winning wildlife photographers and conservationists who call Kenya home.
Behind every powerful image, is a powerful story. In this new three-part documentary series, go behind the lens with Angela and Johnathan Scott from Big Cat Diary, underwater photographer and publisher of WetPixel Eric Cheng, and war photographer Stephen Dupont.
Uniting exploration, photography and the natural world, Tales by Light offers a rare glimpse into the eyes and minds of some of Australia and the world’s best photographic storytellers.
Tales by Light season one storyteller Peter Eastway reveals the art of simplicity in photography as he shoots in the great white wilderness of Antarctica.
Art Wolfe reveals why the fierce eyes of his subjects are the most powerful element in connecting with his audience in Tales by Light season one.
In Tales by Light season one, Krystle Wright captures a balance of action and nature as she takes on skylining above a canyon.
In Tales by Light season one, Richard I'Anson photographs the spectacular Bhutanese fire blessing ceremony.
Tales by Light season one storyteller Darren Jew captures an ethereal image that tells how death and destruction breathed new life into a world along the ocean floor.