Summer Stories: Photographer Rob Tennent

Sean & Val spoke with Sydney-based photographer Rob Tennent. His beautiful work for the latest 2022 collection is featured in The Zine Vol. 2.

Image collage of photos shot on beach by Rob Tennent

Sean & Val: Tell us about yourself. 

Rob: I was born in Cambodia and lived there for seven years before moving to St Lucia, Papua New Guinea, then settling in New Zealand. I studied fashion for three years which is where I discovered my love for imagery making. I would design collections and conceptualize shoots. I realized how much more fun capturing images of the collection was. 

Sean & Val: What inspires you in your work?

Rob: I love to capture the in-between moments that we often overlook. I like the imperfections and the candidness of simple things such as scratching your eye, or itching your back. When I work with models, I often like to capture them in between poses in a more relaxed state. I am inspired by friendship and the innocence of friendships. The childlike playfulness we all have but rarely show.

Sean & Val: Tell us about the photoshoot for Sean & Val.

Rob: The shoot started with us just laying on some towels before the boys dove into the water. I only had to do it twice to get that diving shot that we love. We hung around the rocks where I shot individuals and group images. The sun began to set faster than I had anticipated, so we got them in the shower for those shower images then made our way to Rileys van. Riley has traveled around with his van and has slept in the back of it many times, so it felt really organic. To be honest this was the first time I had met half of the boys and now they are all good friends that I go to dinner with. 

Being new to Sydney, this was one of my favorite beaches I had visited. I love the sunsets at Clovelly, and the juxtaposition of concrete and natural rocks. It offered us a huge playground to capture whatever we wanted and offered a multitude of scenes.

Sean & Val: Do you have a favorite photo from the shoot?

Rob: Definitely the image of all the boys diving. Or the image of the guys staggered sitting and standing on the rocks. That was actually two different images that I combined into one, so that they were all in focus at different depth of fields.Men sitting and standing staggered on rocks near beach.

Sean & Val: Sean & Val is inspired by the sense of friendship within the gay community. What does friendship mean to you?

Rob: Friendship means unconditional love and support. I have a very deep love for all my friends and especially my queer family. I would not be who I was if it weren't for the women in my life, and the queer friends I made in high school. Friendship means someone that will ride with you for life.

You can view Rob's work at | @rob.tennent.