Stab Magazine | Taj Burrow By John Respondek, Or The Benefits Of Long Term Relationships

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Taj Burrow By John Respondek, Or The Benefits Of Long Term Relationships

Images and stories from twenty years of one of high-performance surfing’s beloved muse, through the lens of one of the masters.

news // Oct 28, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

You know the same new-old story – print editions are folding, the media landscape has shifted in favour of digital, etc., etc.

Well, Australian photog, John Respondek, said Fuck it and did his own damned book.

The second edition of his By Respondek series (his first, on Dion Agius) is quite special, this time focusing the deep dive on his close bud, Taj Burrow.

We had a quick discussion with Taj and Spon while hanging out in WA, preparing for their first of the launch parties, which kick off this weekend.

Stab: This is a big body of work. Like, a proper portfolio. What does the book mean to you?
Spon: It showcases the longevity my and Taj’s work in 120 pages. It’s really special, and it brings back just a ton of memories… 17 years’ worth! Pretty much goes all the way back to our first trip together, for Seven Days Seven Slaves.

Do you look back and relive any particular memory?
Spon: So many memories… Picking photos from Fiji, that was exciting. One of my best trips of my life. So many memories come flooding back. Just good times, generally. Revisiting all the film photos are so epic, too. They’re from a different era now. A lifetime ago.

Taj: You know what? Looking back, year after year, the Goldy has always been fun. Flying in and find whatever beachie that’s looking good – Burleigh, Straddie, down the coast, wherever.

And especially the shots from home. Spon has been over to WA so many times over the years and we’d experiment with different angles. West Oz is so good like that, there’s just so many sick waves around here, and we’d focus on airs and tubes and Spon would try to work on different angles.

How does it feel curating a whole book, on your terms?
Spon: That’s the thing! It’s the only reason I started this series. I mean, it’s always so amazing to get a shot run in a mag, and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities, but it feels good taking full control and presenting something how I want. Now that it’s off the press, it’s so rewarding.

In your eyes, what’s the importance of print in this age of Instagram?
Spon: I believe in print so much. Personally, I love it, in all fields. I think it’s special to have something physical and tangible in this digital era. To get eyes off screens and into turning real pages, touching real paper, it’s rad. But then again, I guess it’s due to the decline in print that this project has a place, and a chance to shine.

TB: Pretty obvious, right? The longevity of it, instead of a double-tap and moving on, you spend the time to stare at it and really appreciate the images. Compared to mags and big prints on walls, social media is kinda sad. Print’s sick! I’m really stoked Spon went to all the effort to get it in physical form.

Spon, what’s the difference between this book and Dion’s?
Apart from the working relationship of 5 years compared to 17 years with TB, his hand-written captions in the book stand out. They add so much personality! And the book is… blue! [laughs]

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Like what you see? Already have you CC information saved on your device? Head here and buy Taj., if you’d like. 

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