Ray Collins - Pictures, Art, Photography Ray Collins

Ray Collins

Background Information about Ray Collins


The sublime waves in Ray Collins’ photographs appear like towering mountain ranges rising up from the sea. Collins seems to freeze the water, capturing waves in the instant just before their imminent break, thus creating a unique interplay between shapes and contrasts. He sits or lies on his surfboard in wait of the perfect moment of rushing water.

Through immediate proximity to the subject, the Australian photographer creates a form of abstraction that leads us to forget that these are pictures of ocean waves. Although the water is clearly recognizable, the waves form portraits of themselves. Shafts of light shimmer in countless nuances, bordering the wave, flooding it with glistening light, or piercing it.

Ray Collins turned his passion into a profession. After getting his start in surf photography, he began to focus more and more on photographing the waves themselves. Collins quickly became an internationally in-demand photographer. His works have an unusual tension because they leave everything unresolved, capturing the second right before the tumultuous crash and spray. Collins says he is fascinated by “the moment before the moment, the anticipation.”

NFT in a Box

For a surfer, the infinite amplification of a long dreamlike wave is essentially a never-ending wave – the kind created by Ray Collins. Sarting with a photograph of a wave, we see an enormous ocean wave just as it is breaking. We expect to see it collapse in a sea of foam, but it never happens. The perfect wave inexorably pulls new energy from deeper regions of turbulence, rising in height, but it does not break. In this way, a photographically frozen moment becomes an endless approximation of the perfect high point and, by extension, a simple yet absolutely perfect meditation on the idea of endlessly stretched time. A second dynamic photograph works with a variation on this idea, transposing it into the vertical dimension. Where the first wave revolved around an imaginary centre, the second one rises vertically, as if drawn up by a heavenly vortex. Here, too, the moment of dramatic collapse is cancelled and transformed into a never-ending ascent towards maximum potential energy at the height of a curve. 

Stephan Reisner


Ray Collins is self-taught and rose to international renown in the span of just a few years. His award-winning photographs have been featured in National Geographic and Vogue as well as advertising campaigns for Apple, Nikon, and Red Bull. He has also published his seascapes in two volumes, and in 2017 he released the book Water & Light. In May of 2018, Ray Collins is the main exhibitor at the environmental photography festival Umweltfotofestival in Zingst, Germany.