John Ogden is a creative photographer, filmmaker, writer, and publisher based in Avalon, Sydney. Ogden’s career began as a photojournalist in Southeast Asia during the last days of the Vietnam War, later extending his practice to cinematography in multiple genres of filmmaking. An accredited member of the ACS, over the last four decades he has worked on drama, documentaries, commercials and music videos on every continent. After losing his right eye in a surfing accident in 1998, Ogden established Cyclops Press, an independent publishing company specialising in books with an emphasis on reconciliation, Australian stories and, currently, a series on surfing. He is the author of nine books and will be holed away in a writers residency in Ireland this coming winter developing a new novel.
His first book, Australienation (1999), featured his own black and white humanist photography and addressed the reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and the various tribes and many races that subsequently settled in this Great Southern Land. An equally emotive record of the first Australians, Portraits from a Land Without People, published in 2009, is now acknowledged as the most comprehensive pictorial history to document Aboriginal culture yet produced. The companion books Saltwater People of the Broken Bays (2011) and Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore (2012) celebrate the rich history of Sydney’s beaches. Slightly Dangerous – The Cyclops Cypher (2013) gives an insight into the influences and inspirations behind Ogden’s work. In 2019 Ogden released the first two volumes of fiction: the Shibboleth trilogy, Woke and Will.
In November 2020 Ogden released the non-fiction book Whitewash – The Lost Story of an African Australian, a social history through biography. It is not just the story of one man, but an essay on race and identity, viewed through the lens of slavery and colonialism. In 2021 he released Waterproof – Australian Surf Photography Since 1856, and in the same year edited and published Stephen Cooney’s memoir Unearthed. Ogden is currently in post production for the book Grajagan – Fortune Favours the Brave.