Interviews / Stories
Photographer Tom McArthur (UK)
Tell us something about yourself
I am a UK based photographer living between the Midlands and West Yorkshire, I am 47 years old and I am interested in most styles of people photography. I have been taking my photography seriously for around 4 years now and am still very much on a steep learning
How and when did you get into photography?
Ive always been interested in photography since I was a child as both my father and grandfather were both keen amateurs and spent a lot of younger years help in the tiny darkroom my father had created in a cupboard in the house!
What does photography mean to you?
For me its a small outlet for some creative freedom, I have a full time job totally unrelated to the industry, so it gives me a means of creative outlet. I have always been interested in art but am not much of a painter so I guess its the nearest I can get to creating something artistic.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers. I would like to say I have a style but I believe Im still some way off having something that it recognisable. I probably feel like I'm very much in the experimental stage of my photography, still understanding light, and what works and what doesn't. I also don't like styles to be ‘pigeonholed’ as such, so for example I hear some people saying they don't like certain styles such as glamour photography, for me a good picture is a good picture regardless of the style.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Anything and everything. from magazines to books, billboards, fashion shops. I’m curious, and constantly thinking about how images are created so I’ll see an image I like or even a painting and try not to copy it but to attempt to understand how it was done. I then experiment.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
To a point, I’ll think about roughly the theme, look or style. If its going to be high key low key etc and how I’m roughly going to light it, after that I like to go with the flow, particularly if you have a good model who is willing to contribute, experiment and adapt. I prefer my shoots to be relaxed and iterative and hopefully it helps get the maximum from the model too.
Studio, on location or both?
I have done much more in the studio than on location, but this is something I hope to change in the future, sometimes the studio can make you lazy and perhaps location takes some different planning so I’d like to do more of the latter.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I’m a hobbyist. I am also protective about what my photography is, for me its enjoyment, relaxation and fun. I would be worried that if it ever became my profession that this could change.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I’m not really sure about session. My most memorable event was spending 5 days in Vienna with Andreas Bitesnich the renowned art nude photographer on his annual workshop. A great experience watching this guy at work and understanding his approach, also met some really
wonderful people there some of whom are still my friends.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I still revert back to the work of Avedon, Testino, Leibovitz and Newton on a regular basis.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I shoot Canon but like many I’m also experimenting with mirrorless (Sony). Canon 5d mk iii with the 135mm f2 is awesome for portraits, but the new Sony 85mm 1.4 G Master is probably my ‘new favourite’.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Maybe unfair for me to say as I’m not pro, but business is business don't assume that because you're a good photographer you will be a good businessman. Therefore do the research properly on this side before you jump in.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I think it really exciting, I was so impressed with the size and quality of the content. I wish the magazine every success and am grateful for the opportunity to be involved.