“I’m just back from a shoot with Dior in Paris,” Australian photographer Woody Gooch tells GrindTV. “I’m now living and exhibiting in Tokyo, have clients like Corona and Deus ex Machina, and have reached the point where I get paid to travel the world. I still find it all quite bizarre.” The nature and scope of Gooch’s career is made even more remarkable by the fact he is a 21-year-old without any formal school qualifications.
“I was home-schooled for the whole of high school, but I didn’t finish,” says Gooch. “My parents had traveled all over the world with my brother and I and it was more important to them that I follow my passions rather than have a certificate at the end my education.”
Gooch grew up in Noosa, Queensland. His father is a lawyer with Boeing, his mom is a teacher and he has been skating and surfing since he was six. It was these sports, plus his love of travel, that ignited his passion for photography.
Now he finds himself as one of the most in-demand photographers in the action sports world and receiving props from some of the best in the business, like Morgan Maassen.
“If you are not following this guy [Gooch], you should be,” Maassen recently said on Instagram. “Unreal photos by one of the most prolific, world-traveling young guys I’ve ever met. He’s part of an awesome generation of young Australian photographers who inspire me to no end.”
“Morgan has swooped me up and taken a fair bit of interest in what I do over the last few years. He gives me loads of great advice and has encouraged me all the way,” says Gooch. “With my age, some of the other photographers can feel threatened, but he isn’t and it’s been great to have his support.”
Of course Gooch is driving his own career forward, recently trading the pointbreaks and serenity of Noosa for the chaos and professional opportunities of Tokyo.
“I started coming to Japan for snowboard trips, and then had an exhibition here which created a bit of buzz,” he says. “I met a load of friends and clients and kept coming back to the point where it made sense to move here. I love the culture and the people and it’s a real home for me now.”
It’s typical that Gooch has made such a bold move, despite his young age, he has a firm sense of where his career is heading.
“People are shocked at what I have achieved at my age, and I am too,” he laughs. “I just keep trying to pop the next balloon that is higher. I think my home-schooling and parents gave me a mature outlook on how I see the world, which helps too. I’m simply living for the now, and not for tomorrow. So far it seems to be working.”
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