Ever since we stumbled across cult photographer Eugene Tan’s aquatic images we have been slightly obsessed. To the untrained eye it could appear that the photographs have been doctored, they seem that bit too surreal in their detail, but rest assured they haven’t, just the result of some serious creative genius. Inspired by his passions – surfing and photography, Uge, (as he’s locally known) created Aquabumps to chronicle the coastal happenings in Bondi and beyond, capturing some of the most inspiring images we have ever clapped eyes on. Here we talk to Uge to find out about his beach life, loves and the time he witnessed a very unusual human pyramid…
Q. How would the people who know you best describe you?
A. Determined, committed, passionate. Probably most would say I’m fanatical.
Q. What is the biggest misconception about you?
A. That I swan around at the beach all day and that I don’t work very hard.
Q. What makes living in Bondi so special?
A. That you can live close to the beach and still be close to the city. There’s a real community in Bondi and everything is accessible, not to mention it’s a pretty beautiful place to live. Whenever I go overseas and come home I think how beautiful it is to live here it’s really like nowhere else in the world.
Q. What is it about Bondi that makes you want to photograph it every day?
A. The fact that every day is different: different light, different conditions and the unique and colourful people that make Bondi what it is.
Q. What is your ultimate NSW beach memory/moment?
A. Tamarama beach October 2009 where I proposed to the love of my life – my now wife Deb
Q. What is your happiest memory?
A. Watching my son being born on the14th April 2011 with my wife, midwives and our Doc.
Q. Who is the love of your life?
A. My wife and my son.
Q. Who are your real life heroes?
A. The photographer Massimo Vitali and pro-surfer Kelly Slater.
Q. You are stranded on a beach. Assuming you have the essentials (water, sunscreen etc) what THREE things would you take with you and why?
A. Surfboard – to surf. Camera – to take photos. Wife – to cook me dinner!
Q. Do you have any disastrous/hilarious beach anecdotes?
A. I shot a girl nude underwater at Tamarama once and she couldn’t swim, it was a little awkward trying to rescue her. Another time I hit my head shooting at Voodoo (along Sydney’s 4km stretch of coastline known as Cronulla) and got about 10 stitches in my head. Some say I’ve never been the same since.
Q. What is the ultimate beach-style sin?
A. I once saw 10 guys in a pyramid and a girl on top, all nude on Bondi Beach, when I went to do my daily report, they had been partying all night.
Q. Where are you when you’re not at the beach?
A. At my gallery – Aquabumps 151 Curlewis Street Bondi Beach