You Are Here: Mick Curley, Bali Photographer

All Photos: Mick Curley


You Are Here, Nathan Myers

Oakley Pro Bali there are a lot of photographers on the beach. Some are Oakley staff, some represent international media and some are just dudes with cameras. Mick Curley is none of those things. And all of them.

A Bali-based freelancer, Mick runs a print house and darts around the islands shooting whatever he can, whatever he wants. He’s quite good at it.

Mick was recently named Best Photographer of the Year by an esteemed local mag, and his images speak for themselves. A great mix of action, adventure, art and beauty.

While this event is new, Oakley’s been running a smooth smart production on Bali soil for the last five years in the form of the Oakley Pro Junior. As you’ve probably noticed, they’ve got this thing pretty dialed. And part of their magic is mixing a bit of their own powerhouse production with some local talent – pulling in a few guys like Mick to see what they come up.

With the contest likely on hold for the next few days (just an editorial guess, but there’s a big swell on the way for next week and they’ve finished the “lame rounds” in great form), we thought we’d see some of what Mick’s come up with so far.


SURFING: With so many cameras around, how do differentiate yourself?
MICK CURLEY: I just stick with how I shoot and pretty much it seems to be the case that I like light and times different to most people. I try stay away from other guys or shoot different lenses and perspectives as much as possible. Hard question, I guess that’s up to people looking at the photos to ask if their different than others.

SURFING: Do contest photos lose their value as soon as the event is over?
MICK: Monetary wise, yes, but that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. Unless you have another outlet for them. Social media is so crazy now that it’s almost instant and everyone wants shots yesterday. Definitely doesn’t give much time for sleep or rest covering an event with the online requirements. It’s part of the job, though, and if you have a good fast system and can deliver when you need to it helps for sure.

SURFING: Shooting a full event, do you tune into who’s surfing well, or tune out just trying to get focus and light and something unique?
MICK: I’d rather get 10 epic shots than 50 good enough shots. So I guess I zone out a little and just try to shoot how I’d shoot a normal day of surfing.

SURFING: Do you ever find yourself next to three other photographers shooting the same thing and just feel hopeless?
MICK: It’s hard not to. Sometimes when there’s a small area and a hundred photographers, but I move if that happens. Usually, I prefer other angles than the coffee and pancakes angle. I’ve never really been able to sit still for long anyway, so that probably helps. No matter where you are and how many other guys there are or if they have better gear, if you work hard enough you’ll get different stuff. But if you sit next to someone then you can’t be bummed if you see it on a website or Facebook before whoever you’re shooting for gets the shot.

SURFING: A favorite image so far?
MICK: Yeah, one shot of Bruce [Irons] I took when he was in traditional Balinese ceremonial gear after the opening ceremony. Although I don’t know him personally past saying hello, it looked to me that he understands what Bali is about and it’s all about family. I could see it in his face for a few moments after the ceremony. Results and all that stuff don’t matter at the end of the day.

SURFING: Who’s gonna win?
MICK: Seabass.

SURFING: That would be fun.


[Check out more of Mick’s amazing Bali/Indo photography at]