Watch: Martin Tullemans interview
By his own admission, Martin Tullemans began taking photos as a means to an end. If he had to take photos to support his itinerant beachside lifestyle, then photos he would take!
But in the process of transaction, Tullemans discovered a hidden talent with a camera, not only of technical proficiency, nor tenacity or creativity, both of which he had, but the ability to capture an era in an image. To reduce the world to the size of a vision finder.
It's no surprise then that many of Tullemans' images have come to define various eras of surfing. Dressed in his trademark camos, Tullemans main theatres were the urban jungle of Queensland's Gold Coast, and the (then) wild jungles of Indonesia where he began taking early forays beyond Bali.
Affectionately known as the Cosmic Pygmy, among other nicknames, Tullemans character was as renowned as his craft - he had many and evolving worldviews that he'd generously share. The stereotype of the photographer as a silent observer of the world didn't apply. If Tullemans followed script and only let his camera do the talking the surf world would've been poorer for it.
In recent years, there'd been quiet word about Tullemans' declining health, and last night came news of his passing from complications with dementia.
While filming his documentary 'What Is Surfing?', Tim Bonython recorded this interview with Tullemans, and in it he makes plain his love of surfing and for the spirit of surfers: "We were knights for the cause of human liberation..."
Vale Martin Tullemans.