AL McGLASHAN SHOOTS IT LIKE IT IS
The mind’s eye captures the image: a fish of a lifetime during a thrilling leap set against the cobalt blue of a© AL McGLASHAN perfect sea. Capturing that moment of beauty - the hues, movement and textures - so vividly that one can almost taste the salt air, hear the drag, feel the adrenaline, is a gift that few possess. Australian photographer Al McGlashan is someone who does.
“I used to work in the corporate world wearing a suit and tie, but never enjoyed it. At the end of the day I wanted a job where I never worked a day in my life,” says McGlashan. His obsession with fishing would lead him in the right direction.
Growing up in New South Wales, Australia, McGlashan began fishing as a boy. “My old man was a hardcore hunter and fishermen and took me out in the field every single weekend. I had an instant love of the outdoors.” A practitioner of catch-and-release early on, he had good success on the fertile billfish grounds off Australia. “I started catching billfish, but no one believed us since we were letting them go, so I started taking photos. One of the magazine publishers saw my work and told me to string together a few words and if it made sense he would publish it. That was almost fifteen years ago,” says McGlashan. He decided to concentrate his prodigious energy into making his own way in an industry that was woefully underdeveloped Down Under, that of a fishing photojournalist.
© AL McGLASHAN Success did not happen overnight, but bringing his passion for fishing to bear on photography paid off. “Understanding the fish and reading its movements means I am always ready when the fish pops up. I’ve worked beside some normal photographers and at the day’s end all they had were splashes and they couldn’t believe all the great pics I had.” He says blue marlin are the most difficult billfish to shoot because they run half a mile before jumping, whereas blacks tend to jump near the boat. His best blue shots came when a 450-pound fish didn’t bother to run and just stayed at the boat and jumped continuously. “Sometimes you just have to be lucky!” says Al. © AL McGLASHAN
Ultimately, his ability to capture vivid images of angry black marlin on the Great Barrier Reef or blues in Fiji led to more doors being opened in the industry. “It was Glen Booth, editor of Modern Sportfishing (Australia’s biggest fishing magazine), who really helped me get off the ground,” he says. McGlashan has gone on to form McGlashan Media, integrating traditional photo media with print (he has published four fishing books) as well as videos, most notably his “StrikeZone” series of DVDs that he produces with his partner and cameraman Ron Croft. Technology has enabled McGlashan to expand his work globally while he remains happily entrenched in Australia along with his wife Rachel Salmon and sons Tom and Cooper. Still on the water for 200 days or so each year, McGlashan just completed outfitting a “serious” 21-foot gamefishing boat for work along Australia’s East Coast. After recently landing the largest-ever swordfish off of Sydney, McGlashan has been spending time breaking new ground, fishing deep (300 fathoms) territory and spreading the word. “My passion for fishing is like a drug and I simply can’t fish enough. However, these days I don’t need to actually wind the fish up. In fact I get more pleasure from capturing the action on camera.” © AL McGLASHAN © AL McGLASHAN