Three years ago I met a photographer. Today he’s become one of my very best friends. Thanks to both his jobs as a film producer and as a photographer, Tom’s almost always on the road, which means we don’t see each other very often. Hopefully, our 21st-century devices allow us to keep in touch and share everything from silly jokes, some work-related talks, and personal shit to really pretty views and amazing sceneries.
From all of his 21 years of age, Tom has already travelled to many places and captured the essence of a few. Among them, there’s obviously his home country, England, including Windsor, his hometown, and London, his current city, but also Nepal, Paris, Venice, Wales, Iceland, and others. I’m always really excited to wake up to some new pictures of his. I guess they are these unique and very personal artefacts one can give meaning to and cherish for the rest of their lives. “I feel like I want to capture the moment so others can see”, Tom tells me. “Like I was lucky enough to see it first hand – now I want to make it available for others to see too.”
There are these words by Diane Arbus that say: “A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know”. For some reason, I’ve always believed this was as much true for Tom as it was for his photographs. When I ask him a question, I consider myself lucky if I get a thirty-word long answer. But as time passes, conversations flow and come one after another, and I do feel like I am gathering more and more bits and pieces of his story.
Three years ago I met the photographer. I knew about his latest updates and I learnt to recognise his style. There are many amazing photographers out there, with each their own voice and view and take on the world. But for some then inexplicable reason, I was enjoying Tom’s, as he always seemed to see the big picture, yet in an absolutely marvellous simplicity. Today he’s one of my best friends and things started to make more sense. Over the past year, I have learnt to know the man behind the photographs, and the spirit that brings them to life. “I used to take photos because I couldn’t not capture scenes I liked”, he once said to me when I asked him about how it all began. “I wanted to share them all.”
From a very young age, Tom grew a passion for visual storytelling, which later led him to Ravensbourne Film School in London, where he did a BA in Digital Film Production. “I’ve always had a camera”, he says. And over the years, it appears that he developed some sort of penchant for landscape photography. “I did people once. People aren’t as pretty as landscapes”, he tells me.
Three years ago I met the photographer. Today he’s become one of my very best friends, and I have learnt several things about him. I know he loves bridges and their symmetry. “They give a completely different perspective”, he says. And I know that, like most photographers, his favourite shooting time is dawn because of the beautiful golden light. Although more generally speaking, “I like to come when most people don’t, so I can show what people are not used to seeing”, he always says. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Tom is that he doesn’t like to plan his creative stuff; he’s more in the here and now… He’s here to capture moments and their eternity; he’s here to keep them from running away. “Photography is recording a moment that’ll be gone forever”, he finally says.
© Photo credit: Tom Cullingham Photography
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