PHOTOGRAPHER #15: BEN BLOOM
RAGLAN, NEW ZEALAND
37.8232° S, 174.8906° E
1. Please give us a quick introduction to yourself.
I’m a (mostly film) Photographer and Creative Director originally from San Francisco. Outside of my work, I spend most of my time surfing, throwing clay, and cooking.
2. Were you visiting the place/country or do you live there?
I came to New Zealand in March on a three-week surf trip. Two weeks in, the country went into lockdown and my flight home was canceled. I ended up spending a few months here before the airlines opened back up and fell in love with the country. By the time I was able to fly home, I decided to stay and settle down in Raglan (a small surf town on the west coast of the island). The more time I spend here, the more I realize how special this place is.
3. What can you tell us about the people in the shoot?
I’ve been fortunate to land in a community that was nothing but welcoming. The models I used are friends I’ve made since being here, all of which are incredibly unique and talented individuals – a mix of surfboard shapers, photographers and writers.
4. Where did you do the shooting? Why did you choose this area?
I shot everything here in Raglan, it felt appropriate to document the area that I’ve called home for the last year and it seems like a culturally and aesthetically authentic representation of New Zealand.
5. What are your favorite spots in this location?
Besides the world-class surf, the whole area is set within an incredibly beautiful coastline. The west coast of the island tends to be more raw and exposed, with sprawling cliffs and towering mountains that run straight into the sea. The town is small but it boasts a solid scene, from music to food to coffee. Raglan Roast is a killer coffee spot in town, Ulo’s is an awesome Japanese restaurant and vintage store and record shop where I eat most of my meals and get all my records. The YOT club is a quintessential venue that has a wild mix of live music every week.
6. What photographer/artist influences your photography?
I’ve been really into Iris Humm’s work recently. She seems to make everyday life look incredibly surreal and dreamlike. Mark Mahaney is also a big favorite. And Daniel Shea has always been a huge inspiration to me.
7. Famous last words – what would you like to share?
It’s been a crazy year and I’m really stoked to be included in a cool project like this. These are the little things that keep the creative community going when everything else seems to be going to shit. I heard a saying here that’s resonated with me pretty deeply and feels quite relevant to the year we just had so I’ll leave you with that:
“I walk backward into the future with my eyes fixed on my past”