Photo: Liam Beletich / IG:

If you've ever encountered a Novocastrian, you'd recognise their immense passion. Whether it's for the local beaches, their favourite place to sink a schooner, the beloved Knights, or anything related to Newcastle itself, there's an undeniable fervour that courses through the Steel City and its inhabitants. Among these zealous natives is Brayden Maybury, the mind behind OFFBEAT—a group photography exhibition and magazine.

Fixed in the belief that creativity knows no bounds, OFFBEAT emerged from Maybury's aspiration to capture Newcastle's offbeat charm. Originally conceived as a surf and skate-focused venture, the project naturally evolved to embrace a diverse array of photography styles, including street, experimental, and travel photography.

Through the lens of OFFBEAT, Brayden spotlights local artists who share a similar spirit of ardent creativity. Whether behind the lens or in an Illustrator file, Maybury has intertwined his love for graphic design and photography, creating a platform for local photographers that celebrates the unconventional aspects of everyday life. Originally from Newcastle myself, it was a pleasure to link with Brayden to chat OFFBEAT.


Photo: Jerome Treize / IG: @jerome_treize

Good Chat: Brayden Maybury / OffBeat

Brayden, it's great to connect man. Where are you currently based?

Great to chat, mate! Currently based in Cooks Hill, Newcastle. I'll be around for a little while, I reckon.

How did you kick off your creative journey? Could you share some insights into your background?

It was kind of a slow journey into a creative profession, but it pretty much started when I was a kid. I loved skateboarding, surfing, and motorbike mags. I loved drawing and graffiti. I would graffiti all my school books, spend hours on 'pieces' in my sketchbook, and look at all the old-school New York street artists. But all of that kind of stopped during high school. I ended up skateboarding and surfing all day instead. After finishing high school, I was kind of lost. People kept asking about going to university or getting a trade, but I just wanted to do something creative; I just wasn't sure what. So instead, I bought a ticket to London with a mate and stayed in Europe for three and a half years, just cruising. You'd think it would be the place where I unlocked my creativity, but I didn't, haha. It was when I came back, living next to a pub, that I met a guy who said he was a graphic designer. And I asked, 'What is that?' And that's it, I found it.  I enrolled in university, and did a visual communication degree, and that's where I am.

Good things happen at the pub, mostly. What inspired the creation of both the exhibition and the magazine?

It all came about when I was in Japan. I was with my camera, in these strange places trying to take some worthy pictures and I loved it. It was right after I finished university, and I was looking down the barrel of a 9-5 design job, which I just couldn’t do. So I applied for a scholarship at The Roost Creative, a collaborative workspace. They give you a desk, let you work on a personal project, provide business mentoring, and help you set up a freelance creative career. The personal project I chose was a surf/skate magazine, with a focus on photography. It combined a few of my passions: graphic design, photography, surfing, and skating.

Photo: Brayden Maybury / IG: @braymay__

OFFBEAT seems to have gone beyond a personal project rooted in surf and skate; you've tapped into the local Newcastle creative scene.

Initially, I was focusing on surf and skate photography, potentially incorporating music as well. My aim was to capture the 'offbeat' parts of Newcastle, showcasing all the stuff going on that tourists wouldn't typically glimpse. However, as I delved deeper, there was pretty much one skate photographer in town, Brendan Frost, and I couldn’t make a mag solely around his work. That's when I began discovering some really talented street, experimental, and travel photographers, which organically shifted the magazine's focus. Many of these photographers were somewhat hard to find, so I decided that the platform should be centered around them—the artists. My goal became to shine a spotlight on their work and create a community of creatives who were flying under the radar. That's kind of the ethos of OFFBEAT: follow the passion.

What attracts you to both photography and graphic design, and how do these two mediums complement each other in your work?

The initial idea of creating a magazine was just something I’ve always wanted to do. I love layout design and typography, and with photography, the combination of these elements just feels right. The style showcased in OFFBEAT is characterised by its ability to provoke questions, tell stories, and capture fleeting moments through candid compositions. This is complemented by delving deeper into the backgrounds and perspectives of the photographers featured. That's where I think the two mediums combine.

When you're behind the camera, what's your go-to camera and film stock?

I’ve just started learning how to develop and print my own stuff so it has to be Ilford HP5. Black and white is cheaper and easier to develop haha. I use that with an Olympus OM2n I got from Brendan Frost.

I notice influences from Raygun and former art director Chris Ashworth, as well as Monster Children Magazine, in your work. Can you elaborate on your sources of inspiration in graphic design? Are there any individuals or resources you recommend exploring?

You’re spot on with those influences haha. My main influence for my work is Swiss style. But I like to add some flavor to it. Sticking pretty strictly to graphic design principles, but tweaking the rules a little bit. That's where Chris Ashworth, Raygun, Monster Children etc come into it. Other than those guys, I really dig anything that’s pushing the dial with design. Really dig Obys Agency’s work, Magnus Hoest's stuff, and anything @sw_rl_design is doing is great.

Photo: Will Vallender / IG: @uncertain__

Are all the artists featured in OFFBEAT from Newcastle? Could you give us a glimpse into who's part of the show?

This exhibition and magazine are purely local. Local to me means having created in Newcastle at some point. Most of the work has been taken overseas or out of Newcastle, but the artists are mostly living and creating in Newcastle. There are a few born and bred Novocastrians, some people have left the city, some are from overseas but currently living here. There’s a whole range of people exhibiting.

As a curator, what are you on the lookout for when selecting photographers for a group exhibition?

 I’m looking for people who really fit the bill of taking photos out of passion. I’m not looking for studio or client work; I’m looking for the stuff that people would be capturing regardless of if they’re getting paid or not. I’m really into people practicing the street/documentary scene, capturing candid moments, real moments.

Do you have a favourite photograph from the exhibition?

There's too many to choose from! I can’t pick a single one; every photographer is unique and has their own style.


Where can people find a copy of the magazine?

Currently selling them on my website, here. I’ll have a few copies for sale on the night as well.


OFFBEAT opens this Friday, March 1st @ Newcastle Museum, 6 Workshop Way, Newcastle, NSW. 6pm - late. 

 Offbeat - IG: @offbeatmag_

February 29, 2024