“You’ll be hard pressed to meet someone who froths out as much as Bosko. Peter Boskovic has been shooting for over 25 years yet after most sessions his arms will be flailing and his eyes bugging as he talks you through what was happening out in the water. It’s sick. And he’ll be the first person in the carpark at dawn the next day to do it all again, guaranteed.”

– Quiksilver

Continuing the photographer series we started back with Julian Martin (and then Eugene Tan into Troy Archer), we now want to put Bosko on your radar, which if we’re being honest, he should well and truly be on your radar already. 

Peter Boskovic is one of the godfathers of modern day surf photography, having been at the forefront of it from the transitional days of film > digital and has worked with every big name in surfing from the mid-’90s on. Few can make a shot as pinpoint sharp as Bosko does, such is the obsession with his equipment and process. 

Bosko keeps it honest and raw in the interview below, which is refreshing and makes for a great read. Enjoy đŸ™‚ 

Peter Boskovic

Who are you and where are you based
I am Peter Boskovic,  I am a sports enthusiast, have surfed since I was 7 yrs old, and have been based in Newcastle all my life

What’s your day to day look like?
Not much these days, really no incentives to shoot anymore. Websites only pay for the petrol you use to get to the beach and back for photo’s, magazines have dried up and their rates have dropped to half and it’s hard getting any advertising shots. The only time I shoot is to really help groms out or friends.

Other than that I’m just stoked to be shooting for Quiksilver and am on call with them, so I cruise and wait for Nat Johnsen to assign me to shoots that are needed. I froth on them and put in 110%. 

How did you get into photography?
My dad used to take photos and I always looked at his results and thought I could do better hahaha. Also when I was a grom I could always see moments when I watched surfing or was out in the water, someone would do a good turn or get tubed and I would have that picture in my head. So I gave it a go…

Current photography setup?
All my equipment is Canon lenses and bodies. These days you really have to look after the equipment and be selective, its so expensive now that I really cannot afford to buy new equipment being a full-time surf photog. 1DX mark II is up to $9000 per body, so that’s a lifetime of web shots I would have to sell just for that one camera hahaha, its crazy.

Find out more –
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/boskophoto/
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-bosko-boskovic

Photography

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt going from dealing with small fry brands to brands like Quiksilver?
Small fry clients are good, of course they have tiny budgets and you will never pay your bills shooting for them all the time, but I do help out some who have just started and are struggling to just to try and hopefully give them some momentum in the industry, and hopefully they grow and remember me and are somewhat loyal and appreciative of the assistance I gave them into growing their company. 
Quiksilver is a totally different ball game, I work hard for the company as I love the crew and people I work for, they believe in me and I work hard to get results for them. Quiksilver is the ultimate company to work for, its a well-oiled machine and shit gets done. They are the number 1 surf brand in the world, and I’m not being biased, just their whole social media agenda is so strong and positive. Quiksilver’s foresight is very positive and strong, so its great working for a brand that knows what they’re doing and where they are going and value my work.
I have always been a big believer in advertising, the more you are in the face of the public the more successful as a brand you will be, I love to use an old saying which I believe in ‘out of sight out of mind’. Been in this industry for over 25 years you get to see and analyse how every company does things, which ones are successful and which ones are badly managed with no foresight to the future, throw all this into a blender and you see this much clearer.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about being a successful photographer?
Never get an ego and think you are a rockstar, be yourself and have time for everyone. Be nice and respectful, have integrity as a person and always encourage the next generation of groms coming through. You fuck up in this industry you are gone, its a small industry and everyone knows everyone.

Do you have a routine when preparing for a shoot?
Yes, make sure all batteries are loaded and I get my equipment cleaned and tested at Canon for maximum performance. Working for Quiksilver you don’t want to be half-arsed fucking around, everything has to be mickey mouse.

Is there a certain photo/shoot that you’re particularly proud of?
My children. I just do the job that I love but never dwell on the best ones etc. But I do have great memories of some of the trips I have been on and the friends I shared it with. Those memories are more important, the photos come along with it.

What would you consider your “specialty” and how did you find it?
Geez, I love high-performance surfing, big turns & huge airs, crazy shit! But I love shooting in the water when the opportunity arises. One thing I did when I was younger was to learn all different aspects of photography, I shot international bands, NRL, National Soccer League, portraits, artsy stuff, etc just so I was equipped and ready for anything. Using film back then was critical, 1 stop either way in your exposure and the photos fucked. There was a skill to it, you had to be very selective of shooting because you only had 36 frames to burn, so reading the surfer and predicting what he was going to do was a major point in the preservation of the film. These days it’s crazy, I stand next to some of these digital warriors these days and they hammer out 40 photos on a 2-foot wave with someone doing a shit turn, I would just sit there and watch and think of all the editing time these guys must go through! These days there are not many that are selective, the ones who are selective are rightfully in the top 15 in the world.

Looking back, what do you think the biggest factors were that got you to where you are today?
I’m a frother, drive and a love of surfing runs through my veins hand in hand with photography, and amazing relationships with the best surfers in the world and staff that worked for a lot of the companies, some of my good friends I worked for at magazines (Eden Hannon, Ethan Smith, Andrew Kidman, Vaughan Blakey and anyone else I might have forgotten, you know who you are.) Also, they have always been supportive of my work and helped push me through many times I have thought of throwing the towel in. You do get self-doubt and that’s when you need REAL friends to be there for you and not only in the good times.

Hacks for the aspiring photographers on the move
No money in surfing! Shoot fashion, commercial, advertising, the surf photo industry is oversaturated. People are picking up cameras and calling themselves pro’s in a matter of a month or two, it’s actually embarrassing! They are giving their photos away for free just so they can get tagged and get 2 followers hahaha, YOU CANT EAT FOLLOWERS!!
Or shoots slabs and waves and create you owns books, there are a couple guys doing this and seem to be going ok, but they are smart because they don’t shoot surfing and are making bank. One or two from 100,000 will make it shooting for a surf brand, its the plain truth, sorry but I’m being honest. You will thank me later that you didn’t waste 10 years of your life climbing a mountain. Equipment outweighs the money you will make on surf photos. The gravy train has gone and its the slop train. So focus on more lucrative photography, studio photography is another great one.

Medium

You still shoot film. Can you tell me your take on the pros/cons of film
Unfortunately, I do not shoot film anymore, I have had no clients request it since I stopped using it 15 years ago, its an added cost to clients which they do not want to pay, and its a slow process of sending the film away and getting it processed then getting it sent back.
These days everyone wants it now and yesterday, I work way harder now and it cost me double in computers, hard drives, CF cards etc and the money has dropped for sale of photos also.
Film is more rewarding than digital because it’s more skilful, you need to know your exposures, you need to know your film and its tolerance, and when you get that roll back and see the results, there is no other feeling that matches it in the photo industry. Digital is easy, you just have to be good at Photoshop.

Shots for the ‘gram – Do you do a quick edit on the phone or take the time in Lightroom?
I usually just use the filters on the phone personally for myself haha. But if I am on a Quiksilver shoot I usually dump my shots onto my production team editor’s hard drive and he will take it from there. And yes if I’m feeling in the mood to give away free photos to some non-Quiksilver athletes I will spend no more than a minute in photoshop to make sure it looks good only because I have a friendship with them.

Do you have an ideal setup you use, or do you find yourself whipping out the phone?
Yes, I do get the phone out on occasions, but there is a lot of things I would not post and don’t. I kind of like giving athletes some room and not feel like they are always shot or filmed, time and a place for it, my phone is usually in my pocket.

Bosko Interview

Extras

What do you listen to while you work?
I listen to a lot of music, Parkway Drive, Slayer, Rise Against, Dozer, Danzig, Freedom Hawk, Ignite, a lot of stoner music, lots of others, the music gives me energy and keeps me focused.

What are you currently reading?
Haha, I’m currently reading 66 recipes on green smoothies, and Men’s Health Magazine, Tracks Magazine, Surfing World Magazine.

The best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t do drugs

What apps, software, tools make your life easier?
I use Photoshop. WhatsApp is great to communicate. I’m not big on the tech stuff, there is just too much, does my head in. I’m old school and I find it way more relaxing that way.

Where do you love to travel?
I love to go anywhere, its always an experience and memories and challenges, but always be alert of where you are.

What won’t you travel without?
My phone, so I can contact the most 2 precious things in my life, my daughters.

Find out more about Bosko –
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/boskophoto/
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-bosko-boskovic

Extra Interviews with Bosko –
Stab – https://stabmag.com/style/photolyfe-peter-bosko-boskovic/
Quiksilver – https://www.quiksilver.com.au/blog/bosko-surf-photography

Below are the interviews we’ve published with other photographers –
*Julian Martin talks shooting film, surfing & freelance life
*Eugene Tan talks Aquabumps, helicopters & photography
*Troy Archer talks shooting ceramics and ice-cream