Edden Ram, 32, is an extreme sports photographer and adventure videographer who travels all over the world filming people (including himself) dangling off cliffs and snowboarding down mountains, surfing waves and diving under the sea.
Based in Israel — which he calls “the hub to the world” — Ram tells ISRAEL21c that he uses his camera as “an excuse to experience the world.”
Ram began shooting photographs of surfers in Israel just for fun in 2014. At the time, there weren’t a lot of surf photographers. He bought special housing to protect his camera in water, even though “it was expensive and I had no idea how I’d make back the money.”
After asking several sponsored Israeli surfers if he could photograph them, only one, Omri Hazor, who has since become a very good friend, agreed. Once he posted his photos in social media, Ram started getting requests from Hazor’s sponsors and then from other companies.
“My camera is my vessel to experience the world and to allow me access to incredible experiences, places and people.”
The same thing happened when he started making videos using GoPro.
“At first, I didn’t know what I was doing,” he admitted.
But he kept at it and soon was making action videos for Israeli companies like Ski Deal as well as international companies such as Billabong, Lufthansa and even GoPro, the very company that made the initial tool of his trade.
A breakthrough moment
Born in California to Israeli parents, Ram became interested in photography when he took a course in high school. After graduating, he traveled around New Zealand on his own, learning what it was like to meet people and also to be alone.
He moved to Israel at 19 and joined the army. After his service, he studied communications at IDC-Herzliya (now Reichman University), all the while honing his photography craft.
In a talk for the Israeli Photography Convention in 2018, Ram shared an important experience that was, for him, a breakthrough moment.
He was filming surfers in Honolua Bay, Hawaii. The waves that day were two times larger than usual for the area and “far larger than waves I’d ever experienced.”
To shoot the surfers, Ram had to get into the water and stay right where the waves broke. Suddenly, he was swept underneath the water and his camera, which was attached to a leash, kept banging on his leg so he couldn’t swim.
Ram was trapped.
“Luckily I hit my feet onto the reef and came up for what felt like my last breath,” Ram recounted. One of his surfer friends also got caught in the same waves and his surfboard was cracked in two pieces.
At first, Ram was ready to call it quits. But he decided to go back into the water to take photographs.
“I knew that if I didn’t go back in, I’d give in to fear,” Ram said. He stayed in the water until sunset.
Unearthly earth shots
Ram’s pictures of natural wonders are vibrant and colorful, almost unearthly.
“I didn’t even know I had a style until one of my friends recognized my photo before he saw my name on it,” Ram said. “It comes from thousands of clicks. My style came to me naturally.”
“My whole approach to photography is very different from the classical sense,” Ram said.
“For me, the art has always been secondary. My camera is my vessel to experience what the world has to offer and to allow me access to incredible experiences, places and people. I love the art aspect, but my main drive has always been my personal development.”
His 23,500 Instagram followers see only the fun part of his photos and videos, he said. In addition to hours he spends in an editing room, he also endures difficult moments in real time.
While shooting a commercial on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, Ram got a terrible virus.
“It was two of the toughest days of my life,” Ram said. “I was up at 4,000 meters and I couldn’t move. But I made it up to the summit.”
Like a nomad
Today, he lives a “bit like a nomad.” He said companies call him “and don’t always tell me where I’m going,” whether it’s to Indonesia or Iceland. He has traveled to more than 60 countries on six continents.
Although Israel is a very small country, Ram said, “we really have a lot here, which is surprising,” from rock-climbing to slack-lining, kite surfing, wind-surfing, sea-surfing and motor sports. He has traveled all over the country, from Mount Hermon, where he has snowboarded often, to wakeboarding in the Sea of Galilee and all along the Mediterranean coast.
Ram has spent time working in the desert, which he calls his favorite place. He wants to stay in the country because of the quality of life.
“People are spontaneous and always up for adventures,” he said.
He encourages people who want to get into photography or another field — and make money doing what they love — to “niche it down.”
“Find something small that you like and build a name for yourself as fast as possible,” Ram said. He started out as a “big fish in a small pond,” and now, he said, he keeps pushing himself forward.
Ram likes to “inspire people to go out and do things.” One of his Instagram followers in France recently messaged him to say that because of Ram’s inspiration, he quit his job and wants to pursue what he really loves.
“I don’t want to waste a single moment of my life,” Ram said. “I don’t want to get to my 80s and say, ‘Oh, it’s too bad I didn’t live more.”