The quiet demeanor of Oahu based photographer Brenden Donahue is all for good reason. Through his soft-spoken personality, you can tell his mind is taking in his surroundings like a sponge in water dialing in his next shot.
I first met Brenden while working at Freesurf Magazine on the North Shore of Hawaii. He was trying for intern position and made the team of shooters for the winter season. It was a fast-paced environment right in the middle of the Triple Crown season and all the worlds best surfers were in our backyard, with some of the best conditions on the planet during that time.
Through his awesome work-ethic, Brenden left the publication focusing on refining his style. Through this short period, Brenden's work has grown immensely with his creative approach using 35mm film in surf photography, his own style has a tone all on its own.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Brenden Donahue, I was Born on Oʻahu and raised in Denver, Colorado. I moved back to Oʻahu about 9 year ago. Currently have a full time job and doing photography on the side but I'm hope to be full freelance soon.
What got into shooting, why, and who do you look up to for inspo?
I've been into art my whole life but really didn't start taking photography seriously until my freshman year of college. I find a lot of inspo from my friends who are artists as well. It drives me to keep pushing myself to follow my dreams.
What gear are you currently using? Do you like to shoot film? What type of film stock and why?
I mostly shoot with film. I have a digital camera as well that I use from time to time; a Canon Mark III for. I use a mixture of film cameras that range from the Canon f2, Nikonos, Nikon N90s, few super 8 cameras, etc. (too many to list! ) Three films I have been using a lot are Ektar 100, Tmax 100, and ilford HPp5+ I prefer tmax 100 for fine grain when shooting lifestyle work. I've always stuck with Ilford HP5+ for water shots. Sort of a sucker for grain when it comes to shooting in the water.
How would you describe your style of shooting?
There is a sense of stillness and tranquility that comes through a lot of my work and my hope is that people can feel that as well.
What and who are your favorite subjects?
What I love the most is having such talented friends in so many different areas that I don't have to look far when it comes to shooting people and it makes it even more exciting when I get to share the photos with them. It's always great to connect with new people as well!
Why do you take photos?
The entire process of shooting ﬁlm has grown on me immensely; I love the idea of being restricted to 36 photos at a time. I love slowing down the process of shooting film and developing it myself at home. It gives me a space to express what I see on a day-by-day basis.
What do you hope to accomplish in photography?
At the end of the day doing something I love and following my passion is what always draws me back to photography. It's an endless grind when it comes to trying to find work but I wouldn't change it for the world. it is my hope that the photos I take invites each individual to interpret and experience their own feelings through each photograph.