YOU CAN’T TAKE THE BOY OUT OF THE WATER
Most people only score their dream job when their head hits the pillow at night. For photographer, magazine co-founder and devout surfer, Tom Batrouney, that dream has become a sure reality.
His latest project saw him living remotely in a jungle on Indonesia’s Telo Island for ten days, photographing a couple of Aussie surfers for a new label.
“We got dropped off in the middle of the ocean to do a photo shoot floating in the water on boards. When the boat dropped us off the depth finder said it was about 60 feet deep and looking down it was pitch black” he recalls.
“The surfers were freaking out and we were bobbing around in this black dark water for about an hour before the boat came back. I remembered when I got back in the boat I had fresh coral cuts on my feet from the day before and when I took my flippers off I saw they had been pissing out blood the whole time.”
Despite toying with death the hardest part of his work is deciding whether he wants to be in or out of the water, with his camera in hand.
“When I’m shooting surfing I really want to be surfing and when I’m surfing I really want to be shooting because I’m missing these little moments that I’m seeing. So in that way it frustrates me so much that it keeps me wanting to go back and get these moments all the time.”
Tom’s portfolio is diverse. He floats from photographing for leading Australian fashion labels including Wrangler and We Are Handsome, to capturing the big boy blue, with some of the biggest world surfers in tow.
“If I had to shoot one thing forever, I’d probably stop taking photos. Both of them just have so many challenges and they just get me so excited. I really need both and if I didn’t have one of them I don’t know what it would do to my images, but I think it would definitely sort of eat away at me.”
But capturing moments behind a lens is only part of Tom’s dream job. As a very natural evolution of his photography and as part of his drive and motivation to get his name and work out there, Tom co-founded Papersea Quartley Magazine. One might joke, what happens when a writer, photographer and graphic designer walk into a bar? They walk out with their own magazine to publish their own work.
“We just felt like we were at the point to be able to say our work was really good. We were really good at our crafts. But it was just getting the nod from other people to run our work” he says.
“We decided selfishly to start the magazine so that we could run our own work and then the obvious by product of that was that we could contact people right across the world that we knew were in the same position.”
“We knew we had the opportunity and we still do, to work with established creatives and to work with people that world doesn’t know exist and are really, really talented. We love the idea that PSQ can be a stepping stone for creatives to get their work out there.”
On butting heads with his fellow co-founders Tom says it’s a good thing and one that any person in any context, work or life can benefit from.
“Because we’re all from different backgrounds, I’ll do something which I think is amazing and the other two guys will cut me down and say it’s terrible. Quite often it is such a good conversation to have when you’re being creative. You can often get inside your own head and think you’re killing it, so it’s good to have people around you that are honest enough to tell you when you can do something better.”
Tom has also been enlisted as GOOD CMPNY’s resident photographer. We’ve been “fan-girling” over his work for a while now and are working with him to create our first campaign shoot being photographed this month.
“They’re putting a lot of trust in me to create a lot of the vibes with the shoots. I’m having a lot of input and that’s the thing that really excites me. It’s great when you turn up to a shoot and everything is structured and they want you to do a job” he says.
“But with the GOOD CMPNY guys it’s really a collaboration. They’re asking me to not only come up and shoot, but they’re also asking my opinion of models, on locations. So that’s a part that is super exiting and always makes me put in a bit of extra effort. You feel like you’re a huge part of it.”
Tom’s idea of being in good company is to be with his wife and close friends by the ocean (naturally).