Behind The Lens with Josh Bystrom

Published on 06/11/2020

Introducing our new segment ‘Behind The Lens’ – where we sit down with some of Queensland’s best surfing photographers and they talk us through some of their favourite images. We were lucky enough to catch up with Currumbin local Josh Bystrom as our first guest. Josh has taken photos all across the globe in some of the worlds best breaks. Check out his favourite shots below!

Introducing Josh Bystrom

Surfing Queensland: Tell us about yourself Josh.

Josh Bystrom: My names Josh Bystrom and I’m a Gold Coast based photographer. Taking shots 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, even surfing!

SQ: So, what got you into photography?

JB: Both of my parents initially, my dad made surf films for 20 years growing up and mum is a local High School photography teacher.

SQ: Where is your favourite place to shoot?

JB: Can I pick two?! It’d have to be Cloudbreak (Fiji) and Kirra. It’s hard to top the energy of cloudy when it’s really doing it’s thing, Kirra on the other hand just holds so much sentimental value to me. Following the charts and knowing I’m going to be home for a good swell is just the best feeling ever.

SQ: Who would be your favourite surfers to shoot & why?

JB: Kelly, Mick and Joel would have to be my favourites. Kelly purely because he’ll show up at the most random times and blow up. Mick and Joel because when Snapper through Kirra is on there’s simply no one better.

SQ: What camera do you usually shoot with?

JB: Mums got a deal with Canon at her local high school where she teaches so I kind of just always had Canon camera bodies and lenses laying around the house to use so it was a real no brainer for me!

SQ: Where can we follow your work?

JB: You can visit my Instagram @joshbystrom or alternatively or FB @joshbystromphotography

SQ: Ok, now for the countdown; Can you talk us through your top 5 favourite surfing images?

This is my favourite image of all time. I was shooting the guests for Namotu Island Resort on a day we were predicted to get a big swell. The swell was about half a day late and finally arrived alongside a salty faced grinning Kelly Slater. That afternoon was one for the books with some of the best conditions and waves ridden I’ve ever seen. Standouts included Kelly, Dane Gudauskas and the Gold Coasts Jarrod White.

This shot was taken at Kirra during Cyclone Gita. Gita was unreal because it brought a solid swell with light westerly winds which is almost unheard of. This particular sequence you could’ve chosen any of the 20 shots, It was just such a perfect well ridden wave by Parko. I remember shooting it from the water and just going ‘please please please be sharp’. Lucky for me it was!

This ones my best selling image. It was taken during the Quiksilver Pro Snapper Rocks window during a pre comp warmup. The image features Gabriel Medina and Jeremy Flores alongside a young grom jumping off the rocks. I just really thought it was cool seeing a young fella lead the way, probably hoping he timed it right in front of his heroes!

This shot was taken during Cyclone Uesi. Uesi had a ton of rain accompany it which caused all the creeks and ocean to fill up with debris. It was actually pretty hard to shoot that morning as the water and sky were the same colour causing a lot of glare. A set came through and this was the first one, I just remember it getting through the whole pack up the point completely unridden. A scarcity nowadays. Sometimes it’s nice to just stop and appreciate those kind of moments as the people in the frame are doing.  

This shot will always have sentimental value as it was my first ever cover shot. SurfingLife Mag invited me on my first trip with them to shoot their annual event, the Bersih Puntorama. I was out in the water shooting and reef clicked on this section so perfectly and the light, spray and composition all just came together. I remember holding onto my housing shooting until the last minute and copping that wave to the head but in the end it was all worth it!

SQ: Thanks so much for sharing Josh, some truly amazing photos there!

JB: No worries guys. Looking forward to some exciting summer swell!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of ‘Behind The Lens’ – we will continue to bring you incredible surfing photos and insights from Queensland’s finest surfing photographers!


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