Whalebone Interviews Brent Bielmann for Aulta Surf

The life of an international travel photographer can be tough. You’ve got long hours on flights to beautiful, exotic landscapes, and once you get there, you have to haul your expensive equipment out to the location of the shoot, which is usually some gorgeous beach or oceanfront setting. On second thought, that sort of sounds amazing.

Brent Bielmann is one such lucky photographer who turned his passions into a successful career, working with brands and companies around the world to showcase their products—shooting in some of the most breathtaking waters around the world. Back when he was just 13 years old, he picked up his first camera and instantly fell in love with the medium.

“It was during an Eddie Aikau Surf Contest,” Brent said. “I was standing in a friend’s yard at Waimea Bay watching the event. My math teacher was there and she had an old film camera with her. I asked her If I could try to take a few photos with it. Something about capturing those moments just instantly had me hooked!”

We recently caught the Hawaiian local in-between a trip to Fiji (with spotty internet access) to ask him some questions about his work, life, and if he’d be willing to trade places with us for a little while … we could use a trip to Fiji right about now.

Is there someone in particular you get inspiration from or are you driven by your own passions?

Brent Bielmann: My uncle Brian is a legendary surf photographer. At a young age, his photos mesmerized me, and I was definitely inspired and influenced by him.

Do you think F-Stop and Shop would be a better name for a camera store or a protest movement?

BB: Haha, will I get a discount at this F-stop and shop camera store … ?

You’ve shot photos for Aulta, what’s it like working with the brand and how do they align with those passions mentioned above?

BB: I think the best thing is that the owners/creators have the same passion/love for the ocean that I do. It’s what drives us all to do what we do.

What places have you gotten to visit through Aulta, and what products are you currently working with?

BB: As of right now I have been bringing some of their products with me to a lot of the WSL tour events. I just got back from Tahiti and was able to take one of their latest designs to shoot and do some product testing with one of my favorite color schemes out yet.

What’s in your camera bag that nobody would expect?

BB: Totally not camera related, but I have an old Australian penny dated 1900 that was my grandfather’s. It’s always in my bag, kind of just a good luck memorabilia piece for me.

What’s the single worst movie you could pick for an in-flight film and why?

BB: Hahaha, umm could it be “Cast Away” for obvious reasons?!

How does social media affect your career, and what accounts do you waste the most time looking at?

BB: Oh man, where do I even start! These days it’s crucial for me to promote my work/self on social media. It is for many. However, I try to my best to do it without coming off in a narcissistic or pretentious way, tough to do these days. I see so much of that these days on social media. It seems to be accepted as the norm, I can’t stand it! As far as accounts I waste a lot of time on … would have to be @mcdojolife — hilarious self-defense videos of people with no real skills, you have to check it for a good laugh! Another would be @hungryhungryhawaiian — a local Hawaii account keeping us locals up-to-date on local humor.

Let’s say you stumble into a bag of cash at the airport with a note attached, “Spend this in 24 hours or be cursed forever.” What’re you gonna do?

BB: Easy! Check the weather maps and book a surf trip for my best friends and myself to the best surf spot on the planet at that moment in time.

Last five Spotify songs you played?

BB: “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones, “La Calin” by Serhat Durmus, “Drifter” by Hippie Sabotage, “Dreamer” by Seth Walker, “Bad Blood” by Ryan Adams.

Where can people follow you and your work?

Instagram: @brentbielmann

Website: photobrent.com