The Pheetography of Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson is a British travel photographer whose creative way to fill a family photo album has caused some buzz aroud the Web and in the press. His photo series Feet First has been telling a story of his family and their travelling adventures for seven years now. Not so long ago, the duet of Tom ad his girlfriend Verity has become a trio with their little daughter’s cute toes making the photos even more adorable. I really enjoyed this simple and beautiful idea and decided to learn more about the author of the ‘pheetography’ series. On Tom’s website I found many more great phographs from different places in the world, and some of them you can see below. Tom Robinson has kindly agreed to do an interview for our journal, so enjoy it and share your impressions in the comments!
Tom, please tell us a bit about yourself: where did you grow up, what’s you background, and how did you get started in photography?
I grew up in St. Albans, a town 20 or so miles North of London, England. I studied photography at school, but at university I decided to study Graphic Design. After graduating I continued to follow the design route, but still continued with my photography. Over the past five years I’ve been doing more and more photography, and less design, which is great.
In “travel photography” which word dominates for you? Do you just photograph whilst traveling or maybe your photographic ideas determine your next destination?
In my mind I simply capture what I see. I love to visit countries that are very different to my own. The different cultures and environments are so inspiring to me.
From all of your trips, could you pick the most remarkable one? Something that overthrown your views on life, people, world?
The top 3 countries I have visited are Bolivia, Guatemala and Mexico. I think I like them so much simply because they are so so different to England. The traditional dress, worn in Bolivia and Guatemala is just so beautiful and a wonderful thing to photograph.
I love the “Feet first” series on your website. Did you exhibit it somewhere? Is this a continuous series or a one-off project?
Feet First has been running for 7 years now. It started back in 2005 when I was sitting on Brighton beach with my new girlfriend Verity. Seven years later and we have a beautiful daughter called Matilda and we definitely plan to continue the series. In the past few weeks the series has had a lot of exposure in the UK press. In another 20 years time this series will give a real in-depth story of a family and all the adventures we had together – I can’t wait.
What gear do you use? Is there anything on your wish list and if so, what goals would it help you to achieve?
I use a Canon 5D II with the usual list of L lenses. I’d love to use film camera more, especially medium format, but the freedom and flexibility of digital has won me over. I think the only real thing on my wishlist is the ability to control light. Many times I have been in incredible locations, but the light just wasn’t right. I am a strong believer that while a good camera makes your job easier, it is still only a tool.
What are your main sources of inspiration? In general, can we talk about inspiration when it comes to reportage photography?
As I mentioned above my inspiration simply comes from what I see. I am constantly pushing myself, trying to see things in a more creative way. I regularly get annoyed at my own photographs and keep making myself push harder and harder. The internet is a wonderful place to see beautiful photos, but I’m not too sure how much it influences what I do. I think the more you get out there, the more you push yourself, the more you challenge yourself the better the results will be.
Who are your influences in photography? Is there someone you’d dream to work together with?
I’d like to work with a variety of different photographers – sport, wildlife, wedding, fashion. While they are not directly linked to the type of photography I do, I still think there is a lot to learn as transferrable skills.
If you could rent a time machine for one day, where would you go? (of course, you can take your camera with you :) )
I would start the day in Bolivia, visiting small villages and seeing how people live their day to day lives. I would then go to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival – without doubt the most incredible ‘night’ experience of my life.
What are your professional plans for the nearest future? Is there any new creative field you’d like to try yourself in?
I have a few really nice ideas for photography series that I can do here in the UK. I’m just waiting for the weather to get a bit better. I’m also off to Morocco tomorrow for a job, which should be exciting.
Do you think beginners should look up to those who have already achieved something in the trade? If so, what would you advise to budding photographers?
Practise, practise, practise. The more photos you take the better you will become. You must also be very harsh when juding your own photos. I see a lot of budding photographers work that is creatively good – they have a good eye for composition and light, but lack technical knowledge. Simple things like the focus not being quite right really annoy me.
Don’t miss a chance to get to know more about the photography of Tom Robinson:
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Photos can’t be reproduced or used without prior agreement from the photographer.