In this 10 minute mini documentary, Thurston Photo takes you on the experience of a lifetime; swimming with the gentle giants of the sea in the beautiful archipelago's of Vava'u, Tonga
30558 min


Author: Thurston Photo | Duration: 10:48min

In this 10 minute mini documentary, Thurston Photo takes you on the experience of a lifetime; swimming with the gentle giants of the sea in the beautiful archipelago’s of Vava’u, Tonga. Shot on assignment with Whales Underwater, Thurston tells the story of what it felt like to be that close to a wild humpback whale, and annotates on their beautiful nature and kind-hearted instincts.


Thurston Photo is managed by Philip Thurston, one of the three Thurston brothers, Philip’s passion for photography has developed from a lifestyle of living by the ocean and the spirit of adventure. His enthusiastic nature and faith has seen him tackle some of the wildest oceans and summit distant mountain peaks.

“My goal with Thurston Photo is to create beautiful imagery and literature that provokes positive thought and inspires people to see life from a new perspective. Through my experiences and lessons learnt, I’ve come to know my purpose in life is to inspire faith in others to live a life of fullness with an eternal perspective, and to help others realise their own dreams, potential and purpose that’s worth pursuing with all their heart. I strive to be conscience of this with my words, output and actions. I really do enjoy what I do and I think that makes a big difference with the result. I’m known to happily spend hours straight in the ocean or spontaneously launch myself into the wild in the hope of encountering and capturing creation in a new and exciting way. I hope you enjoy the Thurston Photo collection of moments, thoughts and encounters.”


It was about 20 years ago when my fascination for the ocean began, first as a frothing from on a bodyboard which carried through my teenage years before I picked up my first camera at the age of 17 during my virgin voyage to Hawaii. It was on that big intimidating Island that my course began to change, I couldn’t for the life of me (which was at stake a few times) manage to get even one decent wave from the crowds; primarily due to my personality that actively avoided confrontation! So, I purchased a small 5MP Sony Cybershot digital camera and decided to document my trip from the safety of behind a lens. I enjoyed it so much that upon returning home I began to build a housing out of perspex and silicon instead of studying for my HSC. My inventive streak produced a pretty shabby looking semi-waterproof box that actually wrecked my camera, although I did get some insanely cool shots that are probably lying around on a floppy disk at my Mums house. But my experience left me with the tenacity to invest in a 8MP Sony DSLR (can’t even remember the model) and I turned to my boat building Dad to help me build an upgraded Fibreglass housing with a little innovative trigger system. (2004) I succeeded to some degree and went on to establish a housing manufacturing business that lasted the next 5 years, that assisted my brothers passion for filming and taught me the essentials of operating a camera and surf photography/videography. After 150 or so rigs I eventually came to a critical decision where both my health and time was deteriorating, and out of that decided to close doors and pursue part time employment that would allow me to focus on my photography and love for creating short films. My years of working at The Boatshed in batemans bay taught me patience, timing and the ability to serve and submit to another’s vision so that I could in turn, flourish in my own. After the release of the popular short films “The Morning Shift I & 2, fresh vision for my photography career began to stir in me and in the summer of 2012 I sat down with my brothers and made a clean simple logo for Thurston Photo to equip my growing passion with a professional edge that has now become the face of my business, passion and dream of becoming a professional ocean photographer.

In 2015 I am based on the South Coast of NSW, Australia and travel periodically with my partner Morgan Lee Alain, doing commercial work and freelance photography as I continue to prioritise capturing the beauty of the ocean & the earth and sharing it along with meaningful insights to the growing following of Thurston Photo.

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