For the latest edition of our ‘Surf Careers’ series I spoke to photographer and Italian surf beauty Marta Tomasini aka Surfragette. Find out how Marta found her love for surfing & photography and who is behind her dreamy photos.
PC: Ja Und Amen
Hi Marta, could you tell us a little more about yourself?
Hi! I am Italian and passionate about surfing. Where I come from in Italy, you have to drive 2 hours to reach the Mediterranean coast and, needless to say, the waves there are rare and different from the ocean's! In 2012 I started a blog called Surfragette, and from that time the adventure began! It was a place to share and talk about my passion: surfing. Now the blog is closed and all is happening on Instagram (@surfragette). Seven years ago I moved to Biarritz, France, with my partner to follow our dream of living by the waves. Life has changed so much since then.... And now we have a little 14 month old curly boy named Leonardo!
What inspired you to become a photographer?
Photography accompanied me all along the years, since the very first time my parents gave me my first camera for Christmas many years ago. I was working in communication, but I missed the creative aspect. So, I started shooting and simply capturing what inspired me - the waves, the light.... Until I realised I could actually make it a living. I was pregnant then and when I took my maternity leave, I decided to quit my career in communication to start my own photography business. Capturing the emotions behind a stare, the light playing its tricks, a stolen kiss or the simple everyday moments - that is what inspires me in my job.
We love your work! Did you study photography or are you self-taught?
I am totally self-taught. Even though I spent (and still spend) so much time studying and learning from other more experienced photographers. Sometimes this could be difficult. Many of them refuse to share their secrets as it is tough competition out there. So, I try to follow their work, to see how they use light or how they build composition in their images... But not all photographers are like that! I have very good photographers (& friends) who taught me a lot too. They are amazing.
Do you sometimes shoot on film?
I do! I love the way an image fills with more meaning once it's captured on film. Film is precious, so you just can't waste a roll on multiple shots of the same image. So it's the perfect imperfection of the capture that makes it all even more special. And the idea that you can't see the result just straight away. You have to wait to have the roll developed and every time it feels like Christmas day! Also the colours that come from it, those nostalgic vibes, the grain.... make film so fascinating.
Growing up in inland Italy, how did you get into surfing?
I started surfing 10 years ago, during a trip to Morocco. I've always been more of a snow bunny instead, as I grew up close to the mountains. But when I caught my first wave I was hooked! When I got back to Italy and realised I could surf in the Mediterranean sea, I knew this was the beginning of a long lasting love story.
Unfortunately at that time I was one of the few girls in the water.... The lineup was full of testosterone vibes. That's what made me start Surfragette: the need to share my experience with other surf-passionate girls around the world. Something I couldn't find in "real" life at that time.
You've been living in France now for 7 years, how did you experience the move to a different country?
Moving to Biarritz wasn't always easy. This place offers me a great lifestyle and the opportunity to surf world-class waves just on my doorstep, on the other hand being far from family and childhood friends can be hard. Especially when you reach those important steps in your life, as buying your first apartment or having a child. You become more and more distant from your old life, but at the same time you'll always be an expat where you live. So, you find yourself belonging to two different worlds. Which is enriching, yet sometimes it can make you feel a bit lost.
What would you say is a real must-see/do/eat for anyone visiting Biarritz?
There are so many things!!!! Well the surf is definitely a must, I think you'll all agree. :) Then just strolling around the narrow streets with the typical Basque architecture. Tasting oysters and white wine in the morning at the "halles" (the covered market in the heart of the town) and having fresh fish at the little restaurants at the fishermen's harbour. Then taking a car and exploring Basque Country's little villages just outside Biarritz. I find it amazing that you can drive 20 minutes and find yourself in a totally different world, far away from the noise of the coast.
PC: Lucie Francini
What do you love doing in your free time? Do you still have a lot of time to surf?
Free time what???! Just kidding ;) But yeah, with my own business and a young child I don't have so much free time left. eheh I would definitely spend it in the water and shooting for my own pleasure, not just for work. Living by the ocean and having the chance to surf (almost) every day, you get somehow more selective and have higher expectations from your surf sessions. This is something I am working on. I try to remember what kept me stoked: not the manoeuvres or the quality of the waves, but the simple feeling of sliding, going surfing with friends (which is something I'm not doing much recently), laughing at a big wipeout..... Surfing pregnant actually taught me a lot about this. Since I couldn't perform very well, due to obvious reasons, I learnt to enjoy the ride or just being in the water. I think I was very lucky I had been given this chance.
If you could pick one thing from the Seafoam website, what would it be?
Omg this is hard to choose! I love the Kokoh & Koi selection and in general I relate to all eco-friendly pieces. I know, it's not just one item....
Last but not least, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
You know what? I have NO idea!
So many things happened in the past few years I couldn't even have imagined... So, I'll let life do its course for now and surprise me. :)
Follow Marta on her journey: