Recently we hosted a group of Instagram super stars at The Mons House. Curious about how they are paving their way in the world, we are running a profile on each Instagrammer over the coming weeks with information we extracted from them after a few beers. The first instalment is on Woody Gooch, an acclaimed Australian photographer making waves on the gram and in real life.


Words: Anna Smoothy  Images: Woody Gooch


Woody Gooch. He’s got a salty haircut, a ridiculous name and a sharp eye behind the lens taking him places in this world. You can sense a certain freedom of spirit upon meeting him and you can also feel his youth. He is fresh but not green, building a wealth of experience not typically bestowed on a lad 21 years young.




His works often feature a sole character adrift in a wild and expansive environment, in the ocean, on snow or on land. Captured within these photos is an interesting take on abstract patterns, colours, textures and angles. Woody’s photographs often retain a solitary feel – even his portrayal of the hectic Tokyo subway leaves one feeling slightly desolate and alone.






Held in high esteem by his mates in the surf industry, Woody’s reputation is solid. He continues to thrive and diversify into other channels such as street fashion, fine art, the snow industry, documentary and editorial works.

Surf photographer Mark Clinton reveres his work and his attitude to it: “Obviously Woody is an amazing photographer, but what I like most about him is his drive to continue learning and not plateau too early.”

Gooch has a unique take on this progression. He was home schooled after his primary school years as his parents shifted focus so that he had the freedom to pursue his passions and learn by doing.

For a 13 year-old boy this meant kicking it around the skate park with his mates trying to capture the sickest picture for their MySpace profile. This freedom also encompassed season long holidays to Wanaka for skiing. Here he built relationships with skiers such as Mons’ fans Conrad Lucas and George Pengally. This experience really stoked his drive to turn his passion into a career, and from there worked his ass off honing his craft and building a body of work.






Since moving from the Sunny Coast to down town Tokyo, Gooch has had six exhibitions of this photographic works. Blown away by the support and reception from the creative minds of Tokyo, this experience has fanned that fire of creative productivity. But a shift to this fast paced society has also given Woody an opportunity to go slow, with his learning process providing some respite to the hectic daily grind:

“I’m looking at things a bit differently these days and trying learn about myself and my photography by not trying to be creative every day. I’ve learnt to take a step back from my work, watch other people and learn by doing less.”

In addition to various platforms featuring Woody’s works, he takes up a lot of space in the strange world of Instagram. He claims it is an excellent tool that has unlocked many doors for him, such as his latest trip to stay with the Mons crew in Wanaka.

His work has taken him to various stretches of the globe including Morocco, Hawaii, Japan and the pacific. A true highlight for Woody was a two-year project chasing waves on motorbikes through Indonesia with Deus Ex Machina, check out the trailer here for South to Sian.



Gooch recently had the opportunity to reconnect with the NZ snow industry in the north of Japan. He shot photos with Mons Riders, Nick Brown and George Pengally during the production of their ski and snowboard film – The Rising Gaijins.



Despite somewhat of a snow drought during his latest trip to the southern alps, Woody was stoked to be back here revelling in the outdoors. He is motivated to return to Wanaka as soon as possible now that winter has made her late entrance known.

Woody’s last words on his 9-5:

“Still to this day I can’t believe that I’ve made a career of it. I’m doing what I love, making a living out of travelling and creating. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to return to Wanaka and meet all of these amazing people.”





Cheers Woody, we will see you next time!




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