Our next interview is with Gold Coast local Josh Bystrom. With covers and features in Surfing Life mag, Australian Geographic, Surfline, Swellnet and Surfing World (just to name a few) - this dude is a real talent. We asked the man himself some questions about these recent covers as a career highlight, travel and of course the recent Cyclone Uesi Swell on the Goldy. Enjoy some images featuring icons Kelly and Joel Parko.
Hey Josh! Pleasure to be asking you a few questions, so thanks for your time man. Let’s get stuck into it shall we – tell us a little bit of background about yourself.
Hey guys, so where to start? My names Josh Bystrom and I grew up on the Gold Coast.
Shooting from the water is what I love the most and it really just gives you a different perspective than land.
The reason I shoot and continue to shoot is those fleeting moments when everything comes together and you manage to get an image you can really stand behind. They’re very few and far between, but when they happen I haven’t been able to find that feeling anywhere else.
I shoot with Canon, mum is a local High School photography teacher and the school has a deal with them, so growing up with bodies and lenses around the house it was a real no-brainer for me!
What’s it like living on the Goldy?
It’s great, the weather is unreal, there’s an awesome beach and coffee culture and I really feel that over the past few years, people are really starting to see the value in the place.
How did you find the recent Cyclone Uesi swell?
It’s always great to get a cyclone. This one was moving a little faster than past years, so the swell window was much smaller. The cyclone also produced a lot of (much needed) rain in the build up. The negative to that was the imagery that came out of it didn’t have that classic perfect crystal clear Kirra look that we’ve all drooled over from past swells. That means a lot of editing and many shots in black and white.
It definitely did have its moments though. There was probably three hours on the Friday morning where Kirra was just hitting the bank perfectly, if you were able to jag a bomb, make the drop and set your line you would have had a really good time (if you didn’t, get faded of course! Haha there was a lot of that going on).
Did you fit a surf in-between all the shoots?
Oh for sure, I still surf a fair bit around home but generally when it’s smaller, when it gets good I’ve gotta be shooting. Exception being when its raining and the lights bad, or the resort guests are surfed out!
What’s the vibe like on the Goldy during this time?
I think the Goldy really has a vibe when swells on the way, the social media and forecast machines start churning and once it arrives whether you’re into surfing or not people are just drawn to the ocean to watch what’s going on out there. Kirra is a pretty good amphitheatre for that.
I’ve noticed you’ve had a few recent covers in Surfing Life mag. Firstly congrats, and how did they all come about?
Thanks so much! So they’ve both come off the back of working with the SL crew. One was during an event they ran called the Bersih Puntorama in Coffs Harbour, the other in the Mentawai shooting with tour legend Mick Lowe and his son, Sam.
How stoked were you? Is this one of your career highlights?
Oh for sure, without a doubt. I’m so humbled and grateful for SL to have shown interest in my work and what I’m doing. Very unexpected but it’s great to have something that’s tangible and will have a timespan longer than your social media feed. Long live print!
Where else has your camera taken you? Travel-wise.
In the past year I was able to shoot 3 Car Rallies around the Aussie desert. I also spent a few weeks shooting in Fiji, Indo (Ments), America and Mexico.
Fave place you’ve travelled?
Some of my favourite recent travel which completely took me by surprise was visiting some pretty far flung regions around Australia on the car rallies.
Prior to doing them all of my trips revolved around the ocean so for me the change of scenery from sand to dirt was just an unreal experience. A few places that really stand out and give you a scale of Australia’s vastness is Cameron Corner, a border town approximately 1500km inland from Coolangatta where QLD, NSW and SA meet and Middleton, home to two publicans and Australia’s most remote pub, 150km from the nearest town, and yes the beer is cold!
Hard to go past a good Beef Rendang in Pedang (Indo). It originated from there and they just nail it every time. Apart from that, Poke’ or any type of fresh sashimi!
I really like Young Henrys. The fellas who are involved are all legends and it’s great to see them getting behind surfing and supporting local surf events. Give their Newtowner a go!