About Thurston Photo

Photo by Matt Blakers | www.mattblakersphoto.com


Thurston Photo is managed by Philip Thurston, one of three entrepreneurial brothers, Philip's passion for surf photography and ocean endeavours has developed from a lifestyle of living by the coast and his immense spirit of adventure. His enthusiastic nature and faith has seen him tackle some of the oceans wildest waves and summit distant mountain peaks all around the world.

"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 at the age of 10 when my fascination for the ocean really began, first as a frothing grommet on a bodyboard which carried through my teenage years. I picked up my first camera at the age of 17 during my virgin voyage to the North Shore in 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 surf trip from the vantage point of behind a lens. I enjoyed photographing Hawaii's North Shore so much that upon returning home I began to build a surf 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 worked (to a degree) before destroying my camera. I did manage to get some insanely cool shots that are probably lying around on a floppy disk somewhere at my Mums house, but my experience left me with the tenacity to invest again in an 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. (This was in 2004). I succeeded to some degree and went on to establish a surf housing manufacturing business that lasted the next 5 years, that assisted my brothers passion for filming in the surf and waves and taught me the essentials of operating a camera and the basics of surf photography and ocean videography. After 150 or so custom made surf rigs, I eventually came to a critical decision where both my health and youth was deteriorating, and out of that, decided to close doors and pursue part time employment that would allow me to focus on my surf and wave photography passion and my 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 surf photography career began to stir in me. In the summer of 2012 I sat down with my two 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 being a professional ocean, surf  and nature photographer and cinematographer. 

Nowadays, I am based on the South Coast of NSW, Australia and travel periodically to capture content for my growing portfolio and upcoming passion projects. And also, 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.

Portrait of Philip Thurston using his Canon Camera and AquaTech surf housing


Through out this website you will find a large and diverse collection of nature photos, surf and wave photos, landscape and seascape and travel photos from my journeys. I primarily focus on the ocean as an art form, as i believe the ocean is moving art, however I also have a growing collection of wildlife encounters and landscape images to browse. Ocean photography is what feels natural to me and because I have spent the past 2 decades in the ocean learning its ways, escaping from its periodic anger and training my instinct to survive in it, I am able to take the lens into places that capture the raw, violent and beautiful form that the ocean so often takes. 


I'm a man of faith and I've had some powerful encounters with Gods grace and love that has changed my life and shaped the path that I walk. One of my main goals with my photography is to share insights of wisdom that I've learnt in my life that may help guide people through the challenges and the ups and downs that life inadvertently throws at us.

A paraphrased excerpt from my book, Living Water; 'It is greater to serve than to be served', this meaning, it is more rewarding to give of ones self, to provide for the need of another. I have nothing to validate my words other than the raw conviction that comes from my relationship with the Father and the experiences I’ve encountered in the pursuit of greater purpose. The vision and passion placed in my spirit is to provide a living resource of authentic encouragement and direction for the people that have been entrusted to my influence. My words contain an insight into my life as a photographer and pioneer of the unanswered questions that we all have, I'm conscious to speak in a thought provoking manner that is relatable instead of confrontational, with the goal of inspiring and edifying the reader, opening thier life to new perspectives that empower them to reach new places and have their own experiences.

I believe that whatever you do, do it with all your heart and may the overflow of what you love, become an inspiration for others, to find their own unique purpose in life.  Regardless of ones beliefs or background, I hope in some way, what I produce inspires your heart to be wild, your love to be courageous, and your eyes to be open..


Follow my Instagram feed for daily surf photography, ocean art, landscape and seascapes and travel images, along with original inspirational quotes by @thurstonphoto. Please browse the site, leave some feedback, share the photos that you like, tell your friends and be a part of the Thurston Photo vision :)


On this site you will find my premium hand picked collection of photos that are currently available to order as Fine Art Satin Matte or upgrade to Metallic Pearl Prints; Framed with 5 different frame options, Stretched Canvases up to 1.5m wide, Acrylic panels with an edge of modern class or get in contact for a custom solution that fits your own space. Each printed image has been professionally colour graded and optimised for fine art printing at full resolution (300dpi) and printed using the latest and highest quality printing technologies from our print facility on the south coast of NSW, Australia, to give our customers the most vibrant, and eye catching prints. 

Learn more about our printing options.


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