Saltwater & Light
This installment of Saltwater & Light features Southern California-based photographer, Luki O’Keefe. With a stellar crew of surfers around her home base of San Onofre, Luki produces timeless images that hearken back to a bygone era of carefree beach days spent among close friends. Luki’s imagery has helped define the look of the amazing brand, Seea, and she also jumps in front of the lens as a photo subject as well. When you’re done looking through the photos below, head on over to Luki’s Instagram where you’ll be clicking “like” over and over again.
JettyGirl: What was your first camera and how did it come into your possession?
Luki O’Keefe: My first camera was my mom’s Canon Rebel which I never let go of for years until it broke and I got a Canon 60d as a high school graduation present. I gave that camera to my mom so we’re even.
Do you have a favorite lens that never leaves your camera bag?
I’ve been using my 24-105mm lens the most but I don’t go anywhere without my 50mm.
What is your favorite type of subject matter and what drew you to it?
I started shooting while surfing and traveling with Seea because there are so many unique moments in women’s surfing that look beautiful in a photograph. I also get a huge kick at shooting my friends and showing them how rad they are so my favorite subject matter is probably just awesome people doing awesome things. But I’m always keeping my eye out for something meaningful to shoot. I’d love to expose things that really need to be seen by the world.
Much of your imagery celebrates surfers and surf culture either specific to the San Onofre area or influenced by it. What makes Sano and its surfers so special?
Sano is my home. I grew up surfing there with my family and it’s still my go-to spot. There are not many places where you can park right on a beach full of different waves, lose cellphone service, and hide from the chaos of town behind the cliffs. I’ve also met most of the wonderful people in my life there because it just attracts cool humans. My older photos are mostly from Sano because that’s just where I always was but lately I’ve been trying to branch out and see as much as I can outside of this little bubble.
If you could travel back in time to shoot for a few days in any decade in surf history, which would you choose and why?
It would be cool to visit every generation of surfing and snag a few shots of each but if I really have to choose I would want to shoot the very first surfer. Even if it was a caveman (or woman) body surfing. The first wave ever ridden by a human would be a very epic event to document.
Do you get the chance to surf much yourself? Any upcoming travel plans?
Yes! I surf a lot—as much as I can and the girls I shoot surfing will always let me take a few waves on their board. I think my next trip will be to Costa Rica in November with Seea.
Do you have an all-time favorite surf or lifestyle shoot?
No, not really because there are so many fun ones. I just enjoy any shoot that feels like a good time. I like to shoot real moments where everyone is glowing and enjoying life. It makes my job really easy.
If you were stuck on an island with one book, one album, and one meal, what would they be?
I would take an informative book written about the island I’m stuck on, “40 Licks” by the Rolling Stones because it has 40 songs including a few of my favorites so I think it would take a lot longer to get sick of than a normal album, and a poki bowl.
Mele Saili – © Luki O’Keefe
Makala Smith – © Luki O’Keefe
Makala Smith & Karina Rozunko – © Luki O’Keefe
Nathan Adams & Emily Sanders – © Luki O’Keefe
Hallie Rohr – © Luki O’Keefe
Makala Smith, Hallie Rohr, Taylor Nelson & Rosie Jaffurs – © Luki O’Keefe
Lola Mignot – © Luki O’Keefe
Christian Wach – © Luki O’Keefe
Karina Rozunko – © Luki O’Keefe
Nathan Strom – © Luki O’Keefe