Nice to Meet You, Mr. Photographer

- Shares

Who are SURFING’s photographers? Who are these artistic gypsies billing us for their bar tabs and plane tickets? It is time we get to know.


Tommy Bahama (right) and his girl K.C. in Europe
Tommy Bahama (right) and his girl K.C. in Europe

Name: Thomas Carey

Age: 30

Hometown: Seal Beach, CA residing in Newport Beach, CA

Years shooting: 11

Equipment: Canon Mark IV, 7d, G10, CMT water housings

Motto: “Life’s a garden; dig it.” —Joe Dirt

Where are you right now?
I’m in Newport slaving away at the Volcom HQ. I just got back from a girls trip in Puerto Rico with Volcom and I’m on my way to Hawaii tomorrow.

Where have you been over the last six months? Hell, I can’t even remember. I know I’ve been to Mexico a dozen times, P.R., France, Spain, Costa Rica and Barbados.

What do you ride? I ride a 6’2” JS, an Ozzie Wright Santa Cruz fish and a 5’10” J7 quad.

How often do you surf? It depends. In Mexico at the rights I surf as much as I’m allowed. At home I pick and choose my sessions. In Indo this year the crew loved to sleep so I surfed a lot every morning. If it’s uncrowded I’m out there, but I hate wetsuits. My golf game has been hurting my surfing.

Favorite wave to surf: The puntas in Mexico, for sure.

Favorite wave to shoot: Secret left in Mex.

Favorite surfers to shoot: Ozzie Wright, Mitch Coleborn, Dusty Payne, Andrew Doheny, Ford Archbold, Parker Coffin, Alex Gray, Dillon Perillo. So many guys rip these days, it’s tough to say. But those are some of my usual suspects. Wade Goodall is definitely one of my favorites too. So punk rock.

Favorite city: I just went back to France this year after a 10-year hiatus. I must say, Hossegor is pretty damn fun. Even after the circus leaves.

Won’t return to: Downtown Puerto Vallarta. Fuck the police.

Perks of being a SURFING photographer: The babes. Nah, just kidding, I’m engaged. But the crazy lifestyle is definitely fun, it’s just tough to adjust sometimes when you get home and your friends tend to think you’re an idiot.

Other jobs held in the past: I was a bartender/cook/busboy at a sports bar for a few years. I bagged groceries at Vons when I was a grom. I even bagged Cameron Diaz’s junk. She was beat looking. I delivered computer-shaped surfboards when I first got serious about shooting and made a lot of connections in the industry that way. I manicured baseball fields when I was in high school. That was the best job ever: no bosses, no hassles, good money.

Most scared you’ve been in the ocean: The other day in France near the bunkers, I seriously almost drowned. It was like I was in some crazy rapids. I couldn’t catch my breath and I almost barfed. I was so hung over though. That could have had something to do with it.

How you deal with poachers: I used to get mad about that stuff, but everyone is cool these days and I talk it over with them or their superiors. I used to freak out, but most of my trips are exclusive and off the beaten path a bit. I don’t follow the tour, that’s for sure.

The next Kelly Slater is: Steph Gilmore

The next Steph Gilmore is: Carrissa Moore

Five people you’d want to have with you on a desert island: Rodney Dangerfield, Sophia Bush, David Lee Roth, Mother Teresa, and Anheuser Busch

Person (alive or dead) you’d most want to have a beer with: Kenny Powers

If you weren’t a surf photographer, you’d be: That’s a sad thought. Maybe Mr. Mom?