Capturing the Essence of the Sea: Interview with Mike Lacey

Capturing the Essence of the Sea: Interview with Mike Lacey

The sea has always held a captivating allure for many people around the world. Its vastness, beauty, and ever-changing nature have inspired artists, explorers, and dreamers alike. For Mike Lacey, the owner of the renowned Waves Gallery in Porthleven, the connection to the sea runs even deeper, through his profound relationship with the ocean, and his passion for inspiring children to embrace the wonders of the sea.


Tell us more about Waves Gallery and what inspired it's creation? 

Waves Gallery is a creative sanctuary showcasing my best work spanning over a decade. Located on Harbour Road in picturesque Porthleven, the gallery features my photography capturing the essence of Cornwall's coastal beauty.

From the breathtaking vistas of Praa Sands and Kynance Cove to the intimate moments on Porthleven's reefs and cliffs, each image tells a unique story. In addition to photography, we offer splash backs that infuse a touch of Cornwall's ocean life into kitchens and bathrooms.

What was your journey to becoming a surf photographer?

I was always drawn to the wave and beauty in Porthleven and just capturing moments in the chaos kept me coming back for more. No day is the same so what grew from my passion and after sharing the images with more and more people I could see there was an opportunity for this to actually become my career. I'm so glad I followed the calling.

Childhood memories often shape our passions. What is your fondest beach memory? 

Skim boarding in Scarborough was a good one and I remember skating at a skatepark in south shields with my brother which had sand all over it and the smell of the sea was amazing, and right next to the park there were some surfers on a really good swell and I remember watching them for ages and couldn't stop thinking about surfing after that.  

Your dedication to fostering a positive and adventurous environment for your children is commendable. How has your own upbringing influenced this approach?

We grew up in Windermere with very little material things, but we were surrounded by the most amazing countryside and my mum always made us believe we can be whatever we want to be. Once we started skateboarding this was the biggest life lesson. If you wanted to get a trick you had to go through a battle, physically and mentally to get it. It was so honest. I became addicted to this process of setting a goal and battling it out until I got it. 

Even in business now I still use what skateboarding taught me. I really feel the more our kids do anything like skateboarding, surfing or gymnastics the tougher they become mentally and will have so many more doors open up in the future. I want my kids to have good access to boards.

What do you believe is the greatest benefit of raising children by the sea?

Beach days with my kids are pure magic. The freedom they experience, coupled with the boundless creativity sparked by the sand, is unparalleled. Moreover, learning about water safety organically through beach outings instills valuable life skills from an early age.


Have your children influenced any of your photography work? 

I wanted to get a shot for when they were born and I managed to capture this heart shape in a wave the day before Coral was born which was pretty mind blowing. I think having kids makes me work harder and I can't wait to get them in the water taking photos. 

How does your work at Waves Gallery positively impact children today?

Witnessing their curiosity and enthusiasm as they explore the gallery fills me with immense joy and reinforces the importance of fostering a love for the sea from a young age.

We had a little girl in the gallery the other day who had the 'Coral & The Cornish Heart' book in her hand and was matching the images up in the book to what's in the gallery, she was really keen to meet Coral too. 


In sharing his journey from passion to profession, Mike Lacey embodies the timeless allure of the sea. Through Waves Gallery, he not only captures the essence of Cornwall's coastal beauty but also inspires future generations to forge their own connection with the ocean. 

Visit his Waves Gallery here