Andy Bokanev

You meet all sorts of individuals on the internet. Artists, authors, entrepreneurs, overly opinionated passive-aggressive people and a lot of idiots. There are, however, a few exceptional souls. My dear friend Linhbergh, or Slurpee connoisseur, Camden Thrasher, for example. And then you meet somebody like Andy Bokanev. An NYC transplant that swallowed the PNW pill whole, Andy has the attention span of a twelve year old; interested in everything from mountain climbing and canoeing, to craft beer, weird cabins, surfing and stuff made in Seattle.

As a result, Andy has an eclectic collection of film and photos featured on his blog. To be honest, though, I don't know what he does - you know, for a living. But forget that filler. What I do know is that Bokanev spends his Saturdays and Sundays exploring the outskirts of our state, taking fantastic photos and finding some of my favorite music. So with that being said, I sat down and asked, er, emailed him a handful of questions, trying to better understand his inspirations and ideals. Follow the link and take a look at his answers.

When did you start surfing?

I am a relative newcomer to this whole surfing thing. I did not really get into it until I moved to the PNW from NYC about 6 years ago.

Tell us about your first time...

I headed out to Cannon Beach a little while back on what turned out to be a ridiculously sunny and unseasonably warm spring day. I had no idea what I was doing, but the spot was basically empty so I was not in anybody's way. After catching a few waves, inhaling a shit-ton of salt water, getting ridiculously exhausted and scoring a ridiculously epic neck-up sunburn, I popped my surfing cherry.

What makes surfing in the Northwest so unique?

It's special to me because this is where I learned. I dig the rough environment, the cold water, the awesome scenery and the relative lack of crowds. Although after surfing on Kauai a few months back, I have to say it's awesome to not have to wear a wetsuit sometimes.

How did you get into photography?

I have always been fascinated with photography but did not really get into it until moving to Seattle. I think the surrounding environment with its snow-capped peaks and lakes and of course ocean, played the tipping point. I started out shooting landscape photos and started getting some love and encouragement from folks on flickr and elsewhere. That first year I submitted a photo I have taken on the Oregon Coast to a Smithsonian photo contest and wound up being a Top 10 finalist out of 60,000 entries. I was obviously pretty stoked. I have expanded my repertoire a bit since then, but will always be inspired by the hills and waves that attracted me to photography in the first place.

Where do you find inspiration?

The biggest source of inspiration is spending time with people who are passionate about what they do. Whether that's surfing or shaping boards or making shirts or distilling delicious brown liquor, I feel like I've been lucky to meet a lot of folks who are very passionate about their craft. It is one of my goals to capture their passions and tell their stories through photos, videos and writing.

Tell us something we don't know...

I am tone-deaf, but I kill at Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself." No joke.

Other than the ocean, what interests you?

Definitely mountains. Just like the ocean, the hills remind you how tiny of a speck you really are. I am also quite fond of tacos.

What have you been listening to lately?

Lots of stuff. Everything from random local garage rock bands to 11-piece afropop groups to folk to hair metal to electronic. So far this year, my favorite albums are from Phosphorescent, Pickwick, Wavves, Thee Oh Seas and Mystical Weapons. I have serious ADD when it comes to music.

You take pretty pictures. What kind of equipment is required?

Nothing is required besides some sort of inspiration. I like to use film a lot, but have a tendency to have rolls pile up and then develop them all at once, sometimes a few months after a shoot. That adds a bit of nostalgia and "oh yea, we just did that" kind of feeling. I use a variety of film camera, both 35mm and medium format, but prefer Portra 400 and Ektar 100 film. I use digital for a bunch of work as well. Plus, there is always the iPhone, because a dude's gotta 'gram.

What's next for Bokanev?

More photos, more videos, more stories to tell. I have a few short docs that I am currently thinking about and I am working on several music videos for local Seattle musicians that should start coming out in next the few months. I have been trying to keep my photo stream fairly regularly updated on my Tumblr and have started a new blog. Other than that, me and my wife are expecting a baby girl in July, so that will take us on a whole new adventure. We are stoked.

Click here to learn more about Andy Bokanev.