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WATCH: Artisans Episode Three – Nathan Oldfield

Nathan Oldfield hasn’t stopped gazing at the ocean since he first set eyes on it as a boy.

After spending his early childhood in the Blue Mountains, his family’s decision to move to the Central Coast in pursuit of new beginnings set the course for an award-winning filmmaking career that has spanned two decades. Growing up watching his dad and uncles shape and surf their own boards, Oldfield was spellbound by their backyard quests and immediately knew he was destined to be a surfer. It wasn’t long before Nathan was on the same DIY trajectory, shaping boards and fixing dings. Always a keen observer of his environment, Nathan soon picked up a camera and elected to look at subjects from the frame of a viewfinder. He cultivated a natural talent for composition; playing with light, texture, and shapes that rose in front of his lens.

Having grown up watching ‘The Endless Summer’ on loop and looking at the world with a photographer’s eye, the dedicated surfer began to dream of creating surf films of his own. He would put it off for years, unable to grapple with the reality of standing on the beach with a camera when the waves were good, missing out on riding waves of his own. However, after travelling overseas with his wife and completing a teaching degree, Oldfield was ready to pursue his cinematic passion and help pay the bills with moving pictures. The dedicated husband and father of three would film his subjects before work, teach during the day, and edit his projects at night, pouring his heart and soul into every production. His hard work would pay off. The self-taught filmmaker has seen his movies take out top honours at surf film festivals in Sydney, Cologne, San Diego, Florida, Berlin, Lisbon, and London.

Nathan’s award winning credits include ‘The Church of the Open Sky’, ‘Seaworthy’, and ‘The Heart & The Sea’. When Oldfield moved the family to the Northern Rivers a decade ago the decision delivered immeasurable returns. The wave-rich, North Coast playground boasts an eclectic mix of wave riders and Oldfield counts many of them as close friends. Whether he’s pointing his lens at the silhouette of Dave Rastovich redlining a tube not far from home or documenting twin fin experimentalist Torren Martyn soul arching into a bottom turn, or simply capturing the region’s natural wonders as a backdrop, there’s never a shortage of optical treats in his backyard. What’s exceptional about Oldfield’s work is his ability to weave a kind of visual poem through his rapturous composition, telling stories in less concrete and more abstract ways, leaving the viewer feeling the effects long after the credits have rolled. He is forever falling in love with the beauty of his everyday surroundings, looking at the next swell forecast and brimming with excitement as he passes on the stoke of surfing to his son and many other surfers around the world.

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