Feature in The Design Files


Australian Beach Culture Laid Bare


Powerful yet fragile, the ocean is many things for many different Australians.

Photojournalist Paul Blackmore contemplates our ‘almost spiritual reliance’ on the water in his captivating new book, Heat.

In-between daily swims, the Sydney-based lensman spoke about this passion project, which has been four years, and a lot of underwater hours, in the making!

3rd July, 2019

The titular photography, ‘Heat’ From Paul Blackmore’s new series. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

The series was captured over four years from Bondi to Clovelly. Pictured here ‘Bondi’. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

‘Bondi lovers’ and ‘Flat Rock Bondi’. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

‘Icebergs Bondi’. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

‘Heat’ explores Australia’s cultural and spiritual reliance on our beaches and how the ocean connects us to ourselves, one another and our shared environment. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

‘I love shooting in and under the water – the way you have to be in sync with the rhythm of the ocean,’ tells Paul. Pictured here ‘Heat’. Photo – Paul Blackmore.

Elle MurrellWednesday 3rd July 2019

‘It was the feeling of going into the ocean and experiencing its redemptive power that inspired me to start this project’ – Paul Blackmore.

‘Australians have an almost spiritual reliance on the beach and the ocean,’ begins Paul Blackmore. ‘In a way, it is where we see our culture laid bare. We get to see a cosmopolitan confidence, a mingling of cultures and peoples from all backgrounds, a parade of vitality and harmony that creates a unique flavour.’

Over the past 25 years, the photojournalist has set out to create visual narratives about contemporary social issues, by photographing real people and environments in candid situations. His latest series, Heat, highlights the important connection Australians have with the water, as well as the power, beauty and fragility of nature in the age of climate change.

Photographed from Bondi to Clovelly, Heat  ‘celebrates the intense beauty, the rhythms of the ocean, and the people who swim in it,’ details the avid ocean swimmer. ‘For me, the act of immersing myself into the enormity of the ocean is like a secular baptism; a cleansing of the mind and body. It was the feeling of going into the ocean and experiencing its redemptive power that inspired me to start this project.’

Much of the series was captured using waterproof housing and a ‘fairly simple’ set-up of two cameras and a couple of lenses, which allowed for shooting in the surf or underwater, yet maintaining the high quality of large-format cameras. Final editing and production took place in Paul’s shared studio, located in the beautiful old Marlborough Building in Surry Hills.

The Sydney native started out shooting with his Dad’s Nikon at aged 14. ‘Taking photos became the way I engaged with the world and became my way of communicating,’ he recalls. Before long, the family laundry was transformed into a darkroom and his bedroom walls were plastered with photos cut from Time and National Geographic. As a fresh Philosophy and Economics graduate, Paul took off on a formative solo roadtrip to Darwin through Queensland and Arnhem Land. Over five months, he spent his days photographing people on cattle stations and in remote communities. That series became Paul’s first book, the widely-published Australians: Response to the Land. ‘Most importantly It gave me the sense that I can do this; I have worked as a photographer for the last 25 years,’ he tells.

Subsequent passion projects like At Water’s Edge, and the recent Heat, have come to life alongside Paul’s commercial commissions, which have taken the photographer all over the world. He has worked with the likes of TimeLe MondeL’ExpressGood WeekendVogueMarie Claire and on advertising campaigns for Qantas, Telstra, Apple, Google, Westpac, and Woolworths.

‘The most exciting part of photography is that it allows you to explore worlds that you might not normally experience. Even though Heat was shot in my own backyard, it took me on an obsessive creative journey, where every time I photographed it felt new and fresh,’ says the Tamarama local. Paul is ecstatic to share this journey with others, for it’s also one that aligns with his entire approach to his profession: ‘create from the heart, make it personal, and never stop experimenting’.

Turning through Heat is a profound reminder of how the ocean is intertwined with life in Australia – connecting us to ourselves, one another, and our unique environment.

See more of Paul Blackmore’s work on his website Paulblackmore.com or by following on Instagram @paulblackmorephoto (his next project will take him to Beirut, Lebanon). ‘Heat’ is available to purchase here, and works from the series GOMA’s blockbuster exhibition ‘Water‘ later this year.

New Work - Telstra Prepaid - The Monkeys

Thrilled to work on this brilliant campaign for Telstra by The Monkeys.

Creative Agency: The Monkeys
Group CCO & Co-Founder: Scott Nowell
Creative Director: Jo Sellars
Senior Copywriter: Barnaby Packham
Art Director: Danny Pattison
Business Strategy Director: Hugh Munro
Business Director: Toby Hussey
Account Director: Samar Karim
Senior Account Manager: Jack Stone
Senior Integrated Producer: Sally Lankshear Print

Producer Alex Watson

Red Door Productions Natalie Loveridge


Queensland Opera

Out now is a campaign we did for Queensland Opera’s 2019 programme.

Make Up by the super talented Sarah Laidlaw

Creative by Paul Clark and Belinda Rabe @ Alphabet Studios

Produced by Natalie Loveridge

Patrick Nolan Queensland Opera

Assistants Isaac Maclurcan and John Kung


Heat - Photo Review Magazine

A nice interview and article in the next edition of Photo Review about my upcoming book Heat that will be launched next May as part of the Head On Festival.

PR78 CVR 1018 HR.jpg
Heat Article.jpg

Heat at Chapter One

I will be showing a few works from the series Heat that I am currently working on. Thanks to Simone and Justin Drape for putting on the show. 

Paul invite-2.jpg

Head On

One of images from my current series 'Heat' is a finalist in the Head On Mobile Awards. Now showing at the festival hub at the Paddington Town Hall.


Qantas - Dreamliner

Nice to see out at the moment the campaign we shot for Qantas via The Monkeys in Seattle to promote the arrival of the Dreamliner


Telstra Library

Great to see some of the work appearing from a big project we undertook with the Monkeys to create a library for Telstra at the end of last year. Big thanks to the producers Natalie Loveridge and Penny Obrien from Red Door Productions and Sally Lankshear, Tanith Williamson and Katie Bassett from the Monkeys for pulling together such a complicated shoot with such grace and good humour. 

Art Directors  Jake Rusznyak and Michael Malherbe.

Hair and Make up Ray Morris and Sarah Laidlaw

Styling Janai Anselmi

Assistants Felipe Neves, Isaac Maclurcan, Peter Plozza and Glenn Pokorny. 

Retouching Cream




Black Eye Gallery 5 Year B'Day Show

Black Eye gallery is celebrating 5 years of showing photography in Sydney with a group show featuring some of the works that have been exhibited over that period. I happy to have one of my images from the series One showing. The show runs from Feb 13 - Feb 23. 

3/138 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst NSW 2010