Behind the Lens—Eden Pogonoski

When talking about photography (especially when it comes to surfing), I have always wondered why images that showcase surfers and the ocean are so captivating. With thousands and thousands of newcomers in the surf photography world, it can be quite overwhelming to achieve a level of quality and uniqueness that brings something new to the industry.

When I first discovered Eden Pogonoski, an 18-year-old originally from Thirroul on the south coast of New South Wales, I was automatically drawn to his work. Was it unique? Oh yes, it was. But not only that—his images were a reflection of his passion and his hard work, showcasing his commitment to the ocean in a manner that bring you into the action with him. As he says it so well, “I want to give people who don’t necessarily live close to the ocean the opportunity to feel like they are in the midst of the action. It is such a beautiful thing and I think everyone should get the chance to view it like I do.” 

After he began bodyboarding in 2011, Eden quickly discovered a passion for photography when he bought his first GoPro in 2012. After a few sessions in the water, he bought his first DSLR. Of course, it’s no surprise that one will make mistakes when purchasing something for the very first time and Eden quickly understood that. “My 13-year-old self did very little research on what I was buying and later found that there was no water housing suited for my camera other than some plastic bag from eBay,” explained Eden, disappointed. After a year of shooting on land, Eden bought a Canon 7D and an Aquatech housing to shoot local surfers.

I am not sure what you were up to at 13, but I definitely wasn’t in the ocean, braving the waves to live off my passion. In 2015, Eden moved to London, UK, which played a huge part in his journey as a photographer and allowed him to refine his style. “Surfing was pretty much the only thing I shot before I moved to London, so living far away from the ocean gave me the opportunity to learn about the different types of photography,” added Eden. Of course, adjusting himself to the city after living his whole life next to the beach wasn’t easy, but the experience shaped him into the photographer he is today.

I go through stages with my photography. Sometimes I’m into bright blue skies and crystal-clear waters, and other times I like dark and stormy conditions. You can normally tell what I’m liking at that time by looking at my Instagram feed. 

Since his return to Australia, Eden has been enjoying a peaceful pace of life, working at Aquatech Image Solutions and shooting every morning. To stand out in a crowd of surf photographers isn’t an easy task, and one of the biggest challenges Eden encounters daily is to get the shot that differs from everyone else. Luckily for him, his photographs always bring something new. When asked what kind of preparation taking shots like his requires, his answer was quite simple: “I try to go with the flow mostly. Sometimes I’ll have a look at the conditions and have a shot in my mind that I will want to get - like the front on angles. I’ve been shooting that a bit recently. It’s pretty difficult to get a shot from that angle without taking a beating but it seems worth it if I get something that I’m happy with.” 

Inspired by photographers around his area as well as people like Woody Gooch, Chris Grundy, Morgan Maassen, and Corey Wilson, we can instantly see that Eden is pursuing way more than the typical surf shots. What else can we say except that it’s working exceptionally well so far? His unique approach to surf photography, and photography in general, allows us to become part of the moment with him.

Even if Eden isn’t relying too much on photography as a potential full-time career, but still hoping to do so, he is dreaming of becoming a staff photographer for a magazine or to eventually follow the WSL on tour. Until then, his current goal is to surf as much as he can, to travel more, and to keep taking photographs while refining his style. The moment we discovered his work, we instantly knew that he has a bright future ahead. His shots are unique, captivating, and extremely beautiful. They showcase what’s really going on in the ocean with perfection. Every new shot is a joy for our eyes and we already can’t wait to see what’s next.

Why have you decided to become involved with Nouvelle Vague?
I was very drawn towards the stuff they were sharing on their website and socials. I get a lot of inspiration for my work from their content. They were also the first and only magazine to contact me about my work which was very flattering.

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This interview is part of our series “The Annual 2017,” a series of articles that present each contributor of our first print issue through an interview. 

Grab a copy to see Eden’s work in the magazine!


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