When I was twelve my father took me to see the Steven Spielberg ﬁlm, Jaws. We sat in the center of an old ornate theater where the screen seemed taller than any building in downtown. As the shark attacked swimmer after swimmer the now iconic pulsating soundtrack seemed to take control of my heartbeat and elevate my excitement and terror.
Toward the end of the ﬁlm when the character of Quint spits out blood as the shark chomps down one last time and pulls him from his sinking vessel into the red soaked sea I nearly vomited into my popcorn.
So visceral was the experience that I couldn’t believe I was still safe inside a movie theatre. And then the relentless music signaled that the shark was coming back one more time and Chief Brody takes out the big ﬁsh at the last second. The excitement in the theater was palpable. I remember wanting more of the same and like a junky I’ve been looking for that thrill ever since.
I graduated college with a Film and TV degree and have since worked as an assistant director in feature ﬁlms, produced over 100 music videos and seemingly countless TV commercials all over the world. Every project brings something new, wether a car stunt, a love scene, comedy bit, celebrity beauty or some rock legend standing on an amp performing a guitar solo, I always ﬁnd it thrilling to be on a ﬁlm set. To me, it is the place where almost anything can happen and it feeds my need for excitement. After thirty years in the entertainment business I often ﬁnd myself watching the crew behind the camera wondering if any of them are still pursuing some form of childhood fantasy. More often than not, it is in their faces that I ﬁnd that sense of wonder and awe. What is universal is that young or old they are all putting in time and effort expending their talent to create a piece of art that will become part of an ever growing media landscape.
In this series of black and white environmental portraits, I have turned my camera on the people who work behind the scenes in Hollywood, to focus on their lives inside and outside of the ﬁlm set. These ﬁlmmakers are freelance, not tied to a 9-5 desk job. Their existence is a combination of skill, luck and perseverance. What does that mean? Like the line in the Kinks song, “Fame walks hand in hand with failure along Hollywood Boulevard,” freelance ﬁlm work is out on the edge of fame and total catastrophe.
Decisions made in times of passion can make or break an entire career. The stoic ﬁlm noir quality of these portraits exempliﬁes the drama inherent in every freelance artist’s life.
I have found these artists in their place of work and at home or in a surrounding they use as an escape from the rigors of their professions. They have become accustomed to living behind the lens and by placing them in front of the camera I have sought to capture a vulnerable honesty, a visceral moment of contemplation or a glimmer of the next thing. Like a ﬁlm junky, a taste of the next ﬁx. [Official Website]
Jun 3, 2015 at 20:28
Great work Tom!
Jun 3, 2015 at 20:29
Great shots, Great story, Great everything.
Martyn R. Ford-Jones
Jun 4, 2015 at 12:25
Congratulations and well done Tom. Where can I get a copy of the magazine ?
I have forwarded your email on to a photographer friend of mine, whom you will meet in September; one professionally to another.
Jun 4, 2015 at 17:06
Gorgeous photographs! You’ve really captured something amazing here.
Jun 5, 2015 at 00:27
The writing is as graphic as any movie script and the photos are powerful and haunting. I want to learn more about each subject.
Jun 5, 2015 at 13:34
What a talent, Tom. Words well spoken towards your life of adventures!
Jun 7, 2015 at 18:32
Well done Tom. Please come back to Iowa and show the world what we are all about!! It’s not just corn.
May 30, 2016 at 20:58
Vous avez réussi un album de grande qualité ,techniquement ,d’un éclectique sans préjugé et surtout d’une grande sincérité . Bravo
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