Spotlight Interview … Photographer Tom Hoops

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JRP: Tom Hoops is a photojournalist whose moody and provocative work caught my attention on the web. Tom currently has an exhibit that showcases that style entitled “HEADS“.

Thanks Tom for taking time to talk with JRP Blog.

Tom Hoops: Cheers James, thanks for asking me.

JRP: Where do you call home?

Tom Hoops: Currently calling Bangkok home. But originally I’m from the UK. Bournemouth.

JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Do you have any formal training?

Tom Hoops: No, no formal training in photography but I do have a design background which I think helps in terms of composition and “eye”.

JRP: Why photojournalism? What was it that motivated you to pursue that area of photography?

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Tom Hoops: Tough question as I’m not sure it really is my main area. I shoot fine art and fashion too. My main objective is to capture strong emotive images, some of them happen to be more photo journalistic. I have been lucky in finding a few editors who are able to publish the more artistic style of photojournalism. I think it’s becoming more difficult to sell rough and tough black and whites these days. Editors generally prefer straight colour shots with minimal tweaks.

JRP: Who has had the biggest influence on your work?

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Tom Hoops: The earlier Magnum photographers, Thierry le Gous and a few others, there are so many great photographers out there. In terms of photojournalism I was really impressed with Pieter Hugo’s Hyena Men. Well shot with incredibly interesting subject matter.

JRP: What would I find in your camera bag?

Tom Hoops: Not much. I hate carrying loads of gear so my camera, two lenses, a soft cloth, my eye glasses as I take them off to shoot. A map of the area, and a spare memory card or two.

JRP: What type of editing software do you use?

Tom Hoops: Lightroom and Photoshop. I use Photoshop mostly to edit and Lightroom to sift through the raw files and sort them.

JRP: What  was the motivation for “HEADS“?

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Tom Hoops: The exhibition is my personal collection of street portraiture. I think it gives people a chance to see my work and also it makes some of my work available locally. The collection is also in a splendid Lana style building which complements the Thai characters in the show. We had a great turn out for the opening night with press and television attending. Apart from having to head to an island for a shoot the next morning at 4am it could not have been better.

JRP: Black & White has been your medium of choice, why?

Tom Hoops: I have always loved black and white. It takes an element out of a photo that I like. It pushes your shot to rely on subject matter and composition to a greater degree. There are some fantastic photographers that use colour in ways I can only dream of. At the moment I try to restrict my colour to the odd punch out of the blue amongst the black and whites.

JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Tom Hoops: I can’t think of one particular thing, but sitting and chatting with other pros is always good. We all work differently and have different techniques so it’s good to pick up bits and bobs here and there.

JRP: What advice would you offer a photographer starting out in photojournalism?

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Tom Hoops: Shoot what you love to shoot. It will show in your work. Keep at it and try something new. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Bang on doors and don’t be concerned with set backs … not everyone will love what you do.

JRP: Tom thanks for sharing your thoughts and photography with us. It has been a real pleasure talking with you.

Tom Hoops: My pleasure James, I enjoyed the chat.

JRP: To view more of Tom Hoops’ photography please go to this link: http://www.tomhoops.com

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