Dylan has managed to craft a career of endlessly traveling for his passions, made attainable by an unwavering commitment to push beyond comfort and complacency.
“When I’m on the road, I work hard,” he says. “You’re up before everyone else, you’re climbing faster than them, you’re getting in the water before them and you’re staying out later. But I can’t really complain. When I’m in another country, I’m still surfing. I’m still riding motorcycles.”
And yet, ceaseless wanderlust aside, the photographer also welcomes the opportunity to enjoy staying put—however briefly. “I can be gone for three months, then home for two days, and those two days bring me back to why I do what I do. It’s grounding. It’s centering. I can go out and surf, I can go out and ride bikes, I can skate, I can do whatever. I don’t have any interest in being on the road for ten years,” he says, “not without having a center.”
Dylan hits the road inland from the Ventura coast to the mountains surrounding Ojai
“Through surfing and through photography I’ve met so many amazing people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” enthuses Dylan. Taught to surf by his father, Dylan now photographs surfers as an extension of his own love for the sport. And the impressive waves at Surfer’s Point in California’s central coast of Ventura make for the perfect place to call home. In recent years, the area has become a thriving community for surfers and artists alike. “Even the surf boards that I surf and the motorcycle I ride, my friends help me build,” he adds of the spirit of togetherness he feels in the beachside county. Often called “the land of eternal spring” for its year-round sunshine, it’s a factor Dylan and his friends make the most of on his rare days not working. Starting with a 6am surf (his disciplined time to play catch-up with friends) and followed by a motorcycle ride inland to the secluded swim hole in the mountains surrounding Ojai, Dylan manages to pack the dream summer into a single day.
“To actually touch something, to feel it and hold it—that gives it value. It gives it a presence.”
Dylan has made a point of balancing the lightning-fast frenzy of social media with the more tangible practice of producing books and zines. It’s a pursuit, he believes, that will help promote the longevity of his work—and the stories it tells. “In this new age of photography, everything you shoot lives for two hours online and then it’s gone,” he says. “To actually touch something, to feel it and hold it—that gives it value. It gives it a presence. You create this connection with something when you can touch it. For all the work that you put into capturing these images and telling these stories—for it to be disposable and have such a short life span is really discouraging. [I’m] trying to find ways to give it a life…rather than living online for a day, or in a magazine for a month.”
In the future, he hopes to continue moving in meaningful ways. A recent humanitarian trip to Bhutan, during which he helped the nonprofit Waves for Water distribute water filters to a community in need, was especially influential. “Do what you love and help along the way,” he says, quoting the organization’s tagline. “That’s beautiful.”
On the road with friends, Dylan catches the light during the perfect Ventura day trip
Thank you, Dylan
for sharing your epic surf moments and camp fire downtime. We loved seeing you at work in Ventura. Find more from Dylan on his website and Instagram and see our other Visit California portraits with Stefan Schuster and the Parton brothers along with all our surfingfeatures shot in California and beyond.
This portrait is part of a collaboration between FvF and our friends at Visit California. FvF have always been drawn to the Californian lifestyle, shaped by the energetic coastline and endless summer days. The sun-drenched state is rich with vibrant personalities. Check out the full video with Dylan here. Flick through FvF’s many visits to California.