“One Shot” The documentary – Russell Ord Surf photographer

Russell Ord an internationally renowned surf photographer has built a reputation based on his ability to capture surfers in ‘waves of consequence’ from angles rarely experienced from the water. This new surf documentary film follows Ord and his goal to capture that “One Shot” which defines him and his work.

As a fulltime fireman, Russell is comfortable with risk and death, and as an ex-rugby league professional he understands preparation and mindset, but having relocated his family years ago in pursuit of freedom and isolation, his decisions significantly affect not only himself but his wife and 3 children.

The Ord family

Russell living in the country town of Margaret River, is increasingly called on for international trips with professional surfers. He finds himself at Mavericks, a gigantic wave in California, where he saves the life of Jacob Trette. With world wide coverage, Russell finds himself at home, back in the swing of fulltime work, building his photographic business and supporting his family. With the monotony of everydaylife, a dissatisfaction with his photography work grows. He longs for a shot he can look back on and remember for the skill, risk and position he had to be in to capture it. Awakening to his new purpose, his wife Catherine instigates a family trip to California so that Jacob Trette and his family, can thank Russell directly. Russell realises even more the fragility and brevity of life.

Jacob Trette Rescue Mavericks

Seeking assistance from Joe, an experienced free diver, Russell prepares himself for the challenge. Breath-hold sessions, meditation, and rigorous training pushes Ord to his limits and the drive for his ‘one’ shot begins to take over his life. Waiting for swells, disappearing for
days, shark attacks a very real possibility, until finally he thinks he has it. But when he checks…the shot is out of focus. He is devastated. He will have to wait another year before he gets the opportunity again.

Chris Ross – The right

Directors statement: Darren McCagh

‘One Shot’- An Image and an Attitude is a stylised/observational documentary filmed over 3 years about a man taking a chance to follow his dreams and live a life without regrets.

I was inspired to make this film after a very open conversation with Russell at his house one day. The frustration with the surf industry, his own photography work and the underlying guilt of not being present for his 3 children was at a point where he could no longer ignore the way he was feeling. He needed to make a change. He needed to find new purpose. He needed to justify the reason for doing what he was doing. The idea for seeking that ‘One Shot’ was born and became a metaphor for the way he wanted to live his life. A seemingly selfish act perhaps, but as I soon found out, the idea did not come from selfish ambition. It is far more important for a family to see their husband and father aspire to achieve, than sit back and take the safe option of a steady income and risk-free life, dominated by words like safety and security.

Ord and McCagh

He knows that one day they will understand that his actions and time away from home was not just for himself, but rather served as a purpose to inspire them to do the same without the fear of failure. I think this is one of the most valuable lessons that anyone can teach their children, and Ord does this the only way he knows how. By example…

Through Russell’s story I hope to demonstrate the effects of what happens when a person makes a definite decision that is true to their nature and the impact it has on those who love and surround him. I also see this as an opportunity to educate the public as to what actually goes into getting such a photograph, to spare a thought for the effort and risk that is involved, and potentially change the way they view such images in the future. To reach the pinnacle of your field requires great determination, hard work, huge risks, and often for very little monetary reward. This documentary aims to expose the challenges that are faced, the fears that are overcome, and the deep seeded desire by many to have ‘their moment’.

Mark Matthews

I think we all need to hear these stories to inspire us to achieve, to find out what we’re made of, to get a very personal inside view of what drives people like Russell, to do the things they do.

You only get one shot at life…you have to live it as best you can.

Director Darren McCagh

WATCH, RENT, BUY “One Shot” the documentary here on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/oneshotdoco

One Shot poster

Leave a Reply