We all seem to love a good Bondi beach ‘gram, and that’s largely thanks to Eugene Tan (AKA Uge) and his lust-worthy surf porn blog, Aquabumps. Since 1999, Uge has been capturing beachscapes for your #deskescape.
Aquabumps may have started as a simple outlet for his love of surfing and photography, but it has now swelled enough to warrant two gorgeous photography books and a full time gallery.
Despite his frequent jet-setting to the sands of Hawaii, Tahiti and the Maldives, we chat to Uge about where his home, heart and brunch loyalties really lie—Bondi.
Aquabumps may have started out being just for your friends, but when did you realise it was going to get big?
Ha, I still don’t think of us as big… but I thought I might be onto something when I took the chance to open my first gallery in North Bondi and sold a few artworks on the first day. I bought a carton of beer and drank it out the front of the shop with my mates to celebrate. Aquabumps has grown very organically and I’m super involved—but small means a lot of hard work. We’re still growing and I’m still learning and I still love taking photos after 16 years, so that’s the main thing.
Bondi has got to be one of the most photographed beaches in Sydney. How do you continue staying creative after so many years of shooting?
There’s always a new angle to capture at Bondi—and the morning light is so warm and rich it’s hard to take a bad photo. I was one of the first photographers to capture Bondi from above in a helicopter and I must admit it’s still one of my favourite angles. I’m very passionate about where I live, so with that comes reinvention and creativity. I’ll be riding around with my family and I’ll see a new angle and think, I’ll get that tomorrow morning. I try to give my audience the best everyday, it might be the eastern beaches, it might be North… I never just point and shoot though, most mornings are planned the night prior.
What do you love most about living in Bondi?
We’re 15 minutes from the city and we’re 2 minutes from the beach. It’s busy, but Bondi has changed so much in the past 20 years and offers everything a young family needs. It’s a mixing pot of creative people and community.
Describe Bondi in three words.
Village, coastal, alive.
What's your go-to brunch in Bondi?
And favourite coffee spot?
Can’t tell you—it’s too busy as it is.
Where would you go for a celebratory drink after getting a particularly amazing shot, and what would it be?
Corona—Bondi Tony’s Burger joint.
If someone were lucky enough to be exploring Bondi with you, what hidden gem would you take them to?
The rocks at North Bondi in the warm afternoon light.
When you're looking to impress, where would go for dinner?
Keeping it low key, what’s your favourite take out joint?
Where do you go to unwind?
My home with my family or up the coast.
Finally, what’s on the horizon for Aquabumps?
- We’ve just launched an eyewear collab with Bailey Nelson in London of which is to roll out here Summer 2015.
- We’re doing more and more pop up exhibitions locally—the next to launch at Moore Park Super Centre outside Orson and Blake in September.
- A trip to Italy to capture the Amalfi coast from a bird—keep an eye out for those pictures on the blog.
- A space at the international airport—this is huge for Aquabumps. As a part of this, a new product line designed especially for the traveller.
- A new website—we’re coming with something bigger, better and more beautiful.
- A new book—actually, make that books.
- Winter trips to New Zealand—I love that place and giving our audience fresh new content to keep ‘em coming back.
- More daily goodness at sunrise—I’m training up my two boys to take over Aquabumps, so you might see my floating around with them in tow early mornings.
For more Aquabumps goodness, make sure you like them on Facebook.
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Image credit: Aquabumps