Marty Tullemans set the template for the eccentric, impoverished surf photographer, running on blind passion and a mad obsession with capturing magical, oceanic moments.
Marty photographed every significant Australian surfer from Michael Peterson to Mick Fanning, as well as a passing parade of underground rippers, particularly on the Gold Coast. In his mid-20s he moved from Brisbane to the Gold Coast in the hope of pursuing surf photography full-time. He scored a position with iconic surf magazine, Tracks, and formed a close friendship with mercurial surf star of the era, Michael Peterson. Some of the great moments of MP’s career were captured through Marty’s lens. Many of Marty’s images are still considered timeless classics to this day – the ultimate Kirra lineup shot under the brunt of a cyclone swell, a grommet Jason Buttenshaw captured in a crystal Duranbah cylinder, Dominic “Zappa” Wibrow blasting beyond the lip. A visit to Marty’s chaotic home studio in Tugun to source images was like a trip into Alladin’s Cave, unsure what treasures you might uncover in there. Marty’s death in December 2020 from kidney failure after a slow decline into dementia brought a sad end to a colourful career. His life and work was celebrated with a sold out slide night at the Surfworld Museum, Currumbin.