Mal Sutherland

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Mal Sutherland Photographer

One of the pioneers of surf photography on the Gold Coast, Mal grew up at Kirra and was drawn to the beach from the age of four.

He bought his first camera at an auction held at Jazzland dance hall in 1959 to shoot family photos and his surfing mates. Disappointed with the results (the surfers were just distant specks) he upgraded to a Pentax camera with 135 mm lens, and later a 400 mm lens. By 1962, Mal’s striking images of the emerging Coolangatta surf scene were attracting attention and he was asked to be Queensland correspondent and photographer for Jack Eden’s newly launched Surfabout magazine, and later contributed to Bob Evans’ Surfing World. For many years Mal’s photos and negatives of the early ‘60s sat unseen in a bottom drawer, until he was asked in the mid ‘90s to display a couple in Retro Groove surf shop. Since then, Mal has held exhibitions at the Gold Coast Gallery, Noosa Regional Gallery, Bribie Island Museum, Noosa Tourist Information Centre, Surfers Paradise Alliance Exhibition, Yamba exhibition, Coolangatta Community Centre and What’s up Sunshine at the Noosa Gallery. He was also founding chairman of the Surfworld Museum in Currumbin. Mal still uses his camera almost daily and he has embraced the digital era with enthusiasm.