1. Book Overview
I remember the train station with the sun ripping through our eyeballs—dull couples and old people just shaking their heads at the waste of youth.
Between the years of 1992-93, Simon left his surf-side community on the Southern beaches of Sydney to a boarding school in the center of the city. Two things happened while attending The Scots College Boarding School that would change the course of his life—raves and photography.
Simon was enthralled in the rave culture in the early 90’s. The whole scene had a cult following that he was immediately sucked into. From getting the party flyers a week before, to calling the 1-800 number at 10pm on the night of the party, and getting clues to the secret location. Getting a clan of friends together, putting on their striped t-shirts and baggy nylon pants, then piling into someones stationwagon.
In a flash they would all be dancing together somewhere in the industrial outskirts of Sydney until the sun speared its rays through the warehouse windows. Once they found the culture that was it. They’d flock to where their favorite DJs were playing, the anthems would thump in their heads for days after the party, until they were back together doing it all over again. Each night felt like the feelings could never get better. They wanted that experience every single week. And they got it.
Walking out of the aircraft hangers or abandoned warehouses they would chant, “One more time, please one more time…”
‘93: Punching the Light is Simon Burstall‘s personal photographic series and memoirs of Sydney, Australia’s rave culture from 1992-93.
2. About the Photographer
Simon Burstall was born in Darwin in 1975 and was raised in Sydney, Australia. He started taking his first photographs of his friends while surfing at age 15. He studied photography in his final years of high school at The Scots College, with his first thesis being on rave culture in Australia. This led to Simon becoming a photo assistant, working on award-winning advertisement photography in Australia. His dream was to be a working photographer in New York City, where he moved to in 2000. In Simon’s first years in Manhattan he assisted the likes of David Sims, Steven Klein, and Herb Ritts.
Simon’s career has incorporated work at the highest levels of the international fashion industry. From editorials for V Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, to advertising campaigns for The Gap and Hugo Boss, and a Cannes Lion award in 2013 for his work with Lancome. Simon’s photography has graced print publications, billboards, and digital media across the world.
Simon’s love for capturing people’s personalities has been the driving force behind his photographs. His passion lies in personally connecting with his myriad subjects, to find the in-between moments, and to catch their true nature.