When Brian Bielmann first decided he wanted to be a surf photographer, he had one problem: He couldn’t stop surfing long enough to snap any pictures. His opportunity to jumpstart what would become a wildly successful photography career came only after a serious surf accident, when Bielmann sliced his head open on a reef and was required by his doctors to stay out of the water for 30 days.
This is just one of many stories that Bielmann shared in his talk at TEDx Honolulu on Oct. 13.
Bielmann is dynamic, funny and charming on stage as he talks about how much he loves the sport, what it’s like to photograph surfers in the water, his work with Operation Smile and his relationship with three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons, who died unexpectedly in 2010.
Even if you’re not a surfer, you can still get excited by Bielmann’s amazing photos (including one lit by flares attached to the back of a surfer’s board) and his descriptions.
“Just imagine you’re underwater and surfboard fins are whizzing by your head or you’re watching a wave pass you and it’s detonating on the reef, just exploding,” he says. “Or even surfers wiping out and they’re just flying through clouds of massive energy and it’s all just fingertips away from me.”
Bielmann ends the talk with a universal message.
"Here's my challenge to you guys," he says. "Find something you're passionate about, find something you love and jump in. Don't just watch change happen, be part of change. Be inspired. Smile. And pass it on."