Wave Hunter Profile
Eugene Tan: we deviate from our Design Hunter™ Profile series to bring you one of our most inspiring people
Eugene Tan is the founder of Aquabumps, a regular email newsletter of photography and photographic business based in Bondi. Each day Eugene sends tantalising shots of one of the world’s most famous beaches, making thousands of people very very envious!
Where did the Aquabumps newsletter idea come from?
The idea came from joining 3 of my passions… surfing… photography… and the web (my job at the time).
It was a simple idea that evolved in the late nineties. Blogging and digital photography was still in its infancy… so taking images and posting them to an audience was a new thing.
I wanted it to be easy for my readers to look at the photos so emailing them seemed like the most practical method…a 30 second break in their busy working day – as at the time, I too was a beach-surf starved cubicle dweller.
This has to be most people’s dream job – would you agree, are you living the dream?
Yes, this is a dream job. I am living the dream. I shoot want I want to shoot, spending loads of time down the beach, travel to exotic places and work with very interesting people. It did take 11 years to work out well, and there were plenty of late nights along the way – so it’s not all gravy.
Bondi has an interesting culture, what’s your take on it?
Bondi is an interesting place. A concoction of so many varied people. Artists, models, wanna-be actors, designers, drunks, they are all here. There’s always something different to photograph… so much happens here.
Do you have a favourite photo?
My favourite image is Lone Swimmer. It’s shot from a helicopter as a girl swims out far on a busy day down at North Bondi.
I love this image as the colours are amazing. No one believes its actually Bondi, a beach 8 kilometres away from a large city centre.
It’s always a delight getting your emails – what response have you had from subscribers?
Every day I get an email from a happy subscriber – that makes it all the worthwhile.
Just brightening someone’s day with 5 photographs is the most positive thing a photographer can do – make people happy. I get lots of comments and feedback… and read every single one.
I’ve had emails from Jon, who works on an offshore oil rig platform near South Africa… he reckons I am his eyes to the real world. Then there is an Aussie expat stuck in Poland, who is homesick – badly… they write often.
Then there’s the grandma in the states, who has grandchildren living in Bondi; she thinks my emails keep her connected to her family and she can see what her grand kids see…
On those early mornings, what’s the world like?
The morning is the best time of day. No phones, no horns, no emails… just raw, warm flattering light with positive people up doing their morning rituals. I get up at sunrise mostly.
In summer it’s hard as that’s around 5am… in winter I can sleep to 6:30am. I am not a born ‘morning person’ but now I’m addicted to the morning. If I don’t wake up and go to the beach, I feel out of sorts. You should see when I wake up in Singapore – not pretty.
Let’s pretend for a moment that digital doesn’t exist… If you only had one shot left on your last roll of film, what photo would you take?
I would shoot a picture of my wife Debbie…who is normally standing next to me when I shoot most of my images. She loves the ocean as well, and I’d shoot a shot of her punching through the shore break at Waimea, Hawaii…in the clear water.
Eugene has a book that comes out in mid-November – a big A3 coffee table book called “A Day at Bondi”. Keep and eye out for it. He’s also lunching a line of boardshorts with Speedo with plans to open more galleries and put on a few shows.
Big things to come from this Wave Hunter, just you wait and see.