All words and photography by | Tom Johnson
When did you first discover your love for photography?
I picked up a camera when I was about sixteen when I had realised that I was awful at drawing. I would shoot gigs I went to and people I met along the way. From then on I fell in love with the process of making pictures and wandering around finding out about new things in my own kind of way.
I am constantly pushing myself for more, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied.
How have you established yourself at such a young age? What's your journey been/any pivotal moments in your career?
Hard work and determination. I didn’t enjoy school and I knew what I wanted to do - I started bunking off and going to London - shooting and assisting. I constantly contacted people who inspired me, and I took up any opportunity that I could find. When I started my own studio - that was a big turning point, working seven days a week and all my waking hours. I am constantly pushing myself for more, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied.
Who and what are your influences through your work?
I could give you a long list of other photographers and artists who inspire me, and even bigger numbers of filmmakers and writers - but they are constantly changing. The people I meet along the way and my own experiences and memories drive me the most, as well as my own desire to learn about the world.
Your latest project ‘The Thirty Three’ is pretty unique, could you tell us about that and how it came together?
I wanted to blend my love for documentary and portraiture with fashion. I sometimes find that fashion imagery can be quite recycled and sterile. Shooting strangers is a constant theme in my work, so it made sense to do a street cast project where I could blur the lines between the sometimes inaccessible world of fashion, and the people I met with real character and authenticity.
The people I meet along the way and my own experiences and memories drive me the most, as well as my own desire to learn about the world.
Your photography has taken you to some amazing places already, have you found yourself in any odd situations while shooting?
A new project that I have been working on for the past year or so where I meet and photograph strangers that I meet online has put me in some of the strangest situations imaginable but it’s not quite ready yet, so I can’t really talk about it. The top of the list would have been in Liverpool where photographer Jack Eden and I met a lonely ex - Irish Republican Army member on the street. He took us into his home and showed us his huge grow house hidden behind a panel is his bedroom and pulled a framed picture of a girl from his underwear.
A massive thanks to Tom for taking some time out to share some of these stories with us at Gather.ly. We're massive fans and we're looking forward to what this year brings for Tom and his future projects. Check out his work here and keep up to date with all the adventures as this guy is really one to watch.