Thursday, 27 December 2012

SPOTLIGHT: Tom Langford - Photographer

1. How long have you been a photographer?

Well I have been taking photos since I was teenager, but no more than snapshots until I began my AS Photography back in 2004. However I would only really say I'd been a 'proper' photographer since 2008 when I began taking on small commissions and photo jobs alongside my University projects, so about 4-5 years.

2. What inspired you to get into photography?

Well as a child I was always interested in art and was an avid sketcher (and still am to an extent!), copying pictures from magazines or drawing from my own imagination. As I grew up my imagination and ideas for drawings expanded and almost outgrew my drawing capabilities, so I found myself looking for a new medium to satisfy my creativity. Around the same time it was suggested by my GSCE Art teacher that I take some photos of people and their emotions as source for my drawing. After this I became more fascinated with capturing something real with film, rather than replicating it in a drawing. But although what I was capturing was real, I could manipulate it with the light or giving my subject instruction. 

3. Do you have a particular favourite style of shooting?

As I nearly always photograph people, whether it be a gig, a portrait or a wedding I always try to chat to the person first so I can get a feel for their personality and make them feel more comfortable around me, as if their is an awkwardness its really reflected in the images. However in terms of style I always tend to shoot and retouch my pictures in a certain way so that people can tell the image is by me without reading the credit underneath. I think if you can acheive this, there is no greater compliment to your style than this. As somebody who really favours prime lenses for portraits, I always tend to shoot them wide open with shallow DoF to really highlight the subject and make interesting compositions. In terms of retouch; I try to do minimal technical editing, with a focus of getting it right in camera but mainly adjust the colours and tones in Photoshop to put my own twist on it. Nearly all of my images have colour tweaks in them from how they are shot to create a mood with the image, which in its self makes it more of a 'portrait' than just a document of a person in a certain place.

4. What would you say makes your photography unique?
I think the things we have spoken about in the above question cover this really, its about my approach to the image and the relationship I develop with my subject really. In terms of styling or production the images I make are quite simple in that respect, but its HOW I photograph that person and how they react to me that really makes it. I want people to feel like they know something more about the subject by looking at my photographs. This is especially the case with my Scooter Rally series, as it calls on so many senses, the smell of the petrol, the noise of the engines; I want people to be able to envision this by looking at my images.

5. Where do your main inspirations and ideas come from? 

In terms of inspiration I am quite selfish and I know what I like to shoot, and this provides the main basis of my photography. I am a crazy art/fashion magazine collector and have every issue of Dazed & Confused from mid 2008 to present, as well as countless copies of i:D and 125. These stimulate me and push me to experiment with new ideas or retouch techniques. I am a firm believer of working instinctively and seeing something I like and tirelessly trying to use it in my work, or work out the method behind it. 

As a huge follower of Mod & Skinhead movements and the young people like myself who are part of them, they form a large section of my portraits. I like to find people who are interested in something so much that it is outwardly reflected in their style and fashion but also inwardly as if it is more than just a phase for them and they 'feel it' inside. Its capturing this, that inspires me most. 

6. Have you got a favourite image? Talk us through it if you do.

I wouldn't say that I have one single image that is my overall favourite, because I think that some images work off of others and give each other strength in a series. However as I have got older I am more fussy about the images that make the cut to my portfolio so the images that are on my site are a collection of my best work, from the many frames that come out of each shoot. 

7. Have you got any exciting projects on the horizon?

Hmm, I have a couple of Model test shoots booked in for a few weeks time where I will be working with some new people which is always exciting to collaborate with different people. Away from my portrait/fashion work I have also been commissioned to photograph at a new Big Ska festival working with some legendary names in that genre, which is a big deal for me. This event is also supported by Teenage Cancer Trust which I am very happy to support.
As the festival season draws to a close, the gig scene around Portsmouth always hots up and has some great gigs booked in, which I will endeavor to get to and photograph as many as possible.

8. What are your goals for the future?
As every month and year goes by that I am in Photography I seem to learn more, and do more and fall in love with it all more!! At the moment, all of my work is primarily based around the South, although I have worked in London a little this year. For the future I'd love to get the opportunity to work in London more. Get taken on to a music magazine(s) or blog and do more musician portraits and editorial work as well as getting Live Photos published.
In its simplest form, I would just like to expand my reputation and branch out to new publications and clients and produce new and exciting work for them! (Shameless plug if anyone wants to book me!) If I can continue making a living and being as happy as I am now taking photos then I'm doing alright!!

9. How can we look at your work and contact you?
All my work and contact details can be found on my website:
Or if you are looking for Wedding work :

Lastly I do upload previews of new work and behind the scenes stuff on my facebook page:

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