My name is Matthew Burtwell, I’m 26 years old and from Cornwall, England. I’ve grown up in the South West on the Lizard Peninsula and living on the coast my whole life I have naturally developed an interest and passion for the ocean from a young age. Swimming turned to snorkeling and now I’m an active scuba diver and love spending my spare time in the sea. I studied Marine Science at Falmouth University and since leaving my main interest has been in photography, particularly from the air. Two years ago I started Aerial Cornwall, focusing on photography and filming around the coast of Cornwall and producing a new perspective of a very photogenic county.
How did you get into surf photography? I’ve always enjoyed watching surf whether it’s an empty wave or a surfer. After I started to fly drones I thought what better way to document surfing than to take to the sky. It’s a unique angle and surf looks amazing from above. I film a lot around the coast of Cornwall and filming surf is definitely my favourite thing to do.
Where’s your favourite place to shoot? It’s hard to say as Cornwall changes so much along each coast. But if I had to choose then it would be the golden sandy beaches along the north coast. Watergate Bay, Crantock, Fistral. But I also love the hidden coves and ruggedness in the far west. Porthcurno is a place that really stands out with its clear water and huge rock formations along the cliffs; it’s an epic place!
Which is your favourite photograph you’ve ever taken? So far my favourite photograph is of Porthleven. It was a big winter swell, clean waves and light offshore winds. The wind is always a struggle to get right for flying so this was as good as it gets, everything came into place. I can’t wait for more big days like this.
Favourite surfer to shoot? I would say Alan Stokes; he’s quick, agile and puts on a great show! His aerials and turns look great from the air, and he’s almost too quick for the drone… almost. He’s a super chilled guy and very knowledgeable about what he’s riding to make sure he’s got the right tool for the job. Alan surfs all year round at home here in Cornwall and heads abroad a lot too. I hope to work with him again soon.