In the latest Photographer Spotlight, Flylords caught up with David Anderson. He is a recently retired rock & roll and celebrity photographer who now takes his cameras and ringing ears on fly-fishing journeys through the small trout streams of Australia and New Zealand. Check out the interview below. 

Portrait: By Andrew Bell.

Flylords: Who is David Anderson?
David: I was born in Australia in 1963 and moved with my family to Boston in 1965 when my father got a scholarship to Harvard. We then moved on to Champaign, Illinois where he worked at the University. I returned to Australia in 1984 on a 6 week holiday to meet long lost relatives and somehow never found my way back.

Flylords: Do you remember the first time you picked up a fly rod?

David: My first serious fly fishing experiences were on one of my dad’s summer field trips to Wyoming in 1975 when one of the other professors loaned me a rod and reel, and showed me the basics of fly fishing for trout on the Wind River.

Flylords: How about the first time you picked up a camera?
David: I bought my first camera, a Canon F1n, in 1985 and starting shooting friends bands soon after, though it’s worth mentioning that both my parents were fairly handy with a camera and there was always one around the house growing up.
Flylords: Tell me about the first photo you had published.
David: I can’t remember the exact first shot, but it would have been a black and white in a free Sydney street press magazine called ‘On The Street’. They paid me a little beer money to shoot local gigs for their review section in 1986 or 87.
Flylords: Do you have a favorite photo you have taken?

David: My first photos of Pink from 2000 remain among my very favorites. She was just starting to get famous then and spent a full day in my studio.

Flylords: Tell us a little about some of the celebrities you have had the pleasure of shooting.

David: Some great moments include a brief shoot with the Queen, early in my career, touring Australia and South Africa with the Rolling Stones on the Voodoo Lounge tour and spending 14 hours with an army of assistants doing a 2-minute shoot with U2. Both Robert Plant and Meatloaf have yanked a camera from my hand during a shoot and taken my photo.

Small stream fly fishing photography by David Anderson
Flylords: Tell us a little about Twigwater.

David: Starting up my blog almost three years ago helped me through a late mid-life (such a thing?) slump and has given me a new and very positive direction in photography and life in general. The focus is primarily small stream fly fishing with 2-4 weight rods with lots of gear reviews and plenty of pictures.

Small stream fly fishing photography by David Anderson
Flylords: What is your ideal camera setup for shooting fly fishing?
David: I use Fuji XT2’s now as they’re very light compared to the big DSLR’s, have great electronic viewfinders and awesome mechanical controls. Also, the prime lenses like the 16, 35, 56 and 90 are brilliant.
Flylords: Tell us about your book.
David: My book – Fly Fishing, Places to Fish in Australia and New Zealand – highlights my favorite small streams and the light gear I use to fish them. It’s very much about the photos, and I hope tells the story without reading a word.
Small stream fly fishing photography by David Anderson

Flylords: Would you rather catch the trophy fish, or shoot a photo of the trophy fish?

David: I’m much more focused on photographing fly fishing these days than fishing myself. Occasionally I’ll sneak out on my own to review a rod or other gear for the blog of course, but photography is always the main game.


Flylords: Do you have any advice for an aspiring photographer?
David: Learn the basics well and be super critical of the technical quality and content quality of your work. It’s the best driver to continually improve.
Flylords: Do you think your kids will follow in your footsteps?
David: My oldest son Edward (19) is an English Scholar, a great writer who edits most of my work. He’s taught me a lot since I started writing a few years ago. My middle son Xavier (12) and daughter Audrey (8) both love fly fishing and both are handy with a camera so you never know.


Flylords: Has social media made a positive impact on your career?
David: I love pulling out my phone and surfing through everyone’s awesome fly fishing photography on my Instagram feed and interacting with people from all over the world on my Facebook page, and those of friends – it’s a good motivator, very lifting and a great tonic for the troubles of the world.

Flylords: Bucket list destination?
David: That lake in Argentina with the massive rainbows and epic winds.
Probably because it’s the complete opposite of the small stream fishing I love so much.

Flylords: Can you recommend a good book and a good drink to our readers?
David: My favorite book is ‘Trout Magic’ by Robert Traver it perfectly describes trout fishing with a fly in the then remote waters of Upper Michigan in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Drink? Only beer for me and nothing weird, fussy or made by hipsters. Simple wins the race.

Flylords: Whats next?
David: I’m shooting a lot of videos right now and would like to expand my shooting into short fly fishing films, but writing another book is currently taking up most of my free time.
You can check out David’s book here, and be sure to follow him on Instagram @twigwater!

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