Mitch 'Waxbeard' LaFleur

  Born in Florida, living in New Jersey, I am a surf photographer with a coffee habit. Capturing the surfing lifestyle is how I spend my days with my nights spent working as a registered nurse in the emergency department. Growing up on and photographing along the East Coast there are plenty of days when the waves aren't firing and so my style has evolved into a more artistic representation of the surfing lifestyle.

In using a more artistic approach, you'll notice that many of my photo's are black & white, abstract feeling, or have unique angles and lighting. I prefer to be shooting from the water, which I believe creates a connection with the viewer that many photo's from land just can't accomplish. And yes, it is VERY cold swimming around in the 38 degree water during a New Jersey winter.  

When the waves go flat I can be found exploring the inter-coastal waterway's on my stand up paddleboard, perfecting the peanut butter to jelly ratio of my infamous triple decker PB&J sandwich, and riding my beach cruiser on the boardwalk at sunrise. I am lucky to have a beautiful & supportive wife, Jamie, who is a talented portrait photographer (check her out at Jamie LaFleur Photography) and two labradoodle dogs, Sadie & Oakley. 

 

How did you get into surf photography? I began shooting surf photography in college on an unofficial basis. My days were spent as an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard so I was on the beach constantly and when talking to surfers I would always hear the same thing: “I just got the best wave of my life and there was nobody here to get the shot”. Thus, I figured, I could be the guy to get the shot. So for years I sort of did the photography thing as a hobby, and it wasn’t until I met my amazing photographer wife, Jamie, that I began taking my passion for surf photography more serious. 

Where’s your favorite place to shoot? Although I haven’t traveled extensively due to my academic endeavors, my favorite place would have to be Oahu, Hawaii. The brilliant colors and unique ocean environment provides endless fodder for photography. My second favorite place to shoot is my home state, New Jersey. There are a bunch of great breaks, most of which start firing during the fall and winter months. Although cold and with less of the natural beauty, the breaks are less crowded and most of the time it’s just a group of friends trading waves and getting shots.   

Which is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken? My favorite photo was of a friend Sean Taylor as he was paddling back out into the lineup. I remember him stopping to talk for a few seconds about the wave he just caught, and as he began to paddle I snapped a photo. The water flow off his gloved hand made for the perfect artistic visual of fluid motion.

Favorite surfer to shoot? My favorite surfer to shoot is a local guy by the name of Kevin Dewald @surfer_dewald. He is a performance longboarder with endless amounts of stoke. 

A past Surf trip? One of my favorite surf trips was to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire when I was in college. It was early October and we heard the waves would be firing, so we packed the truck and headed north. The reports were spot on and the waves were head high, long period, and peeling. There were only about 10 guys out -because the water was already down in the 50’s- and we just traded waves all day. 

Website: www.Waxbeardimages.com         Instagram: @waxbeardimages