The London-based photographer Tom Andrew started his career working in darkrooms and operating as a lighting technician. After exploring various areas and subjects, he now delights us with his new and alternative concepts of fashion beauty photography. Lines, colours, painted art, lighting, textures, movements and elegance are all perfectly balanced in this new shooting, moving between the abstract and the figurative.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m a photographer living in London. I shoot a mix fashion, beauty and portraiture with a fascination for experimenting with light. I began my career in the photographic industry as a c-type printer before making a living as a lighting technician in photography and film, across many different areas and subjects. It was during this time that I developed a passion for exploring the various possibilities that lighting can bring to an image and elevate it from real life.
Do you remember when did you take your first picture, and what was it about?
The first picture I actually remember taking was when I was about eight years old. I was on holidays with my parents in the Forest of Dean (Gloucester, England); my mum had said not to take loads of pictures, to save the film, so I chose a couple of shots wisely. I followed a wild pony on my bike and waited for it to enter a clearing so it was totally visible. I took two pictures when it turned side on to me, standing proud. I knew they were great pictures and couldn’t wait for them to be developed. I found out at the end of the holiday that my mum hadn’t put any film I the camera – it was good practice though.
When did you realise you wanted to be a photographer?
I realised fairly early on, my first job was working in a photographic lab. I’d often talk with photographers about projects they’d been working on and print their work, feeling slightly jealous that they were travelling around while I was working in a darkroom. I did enjoy it, but the need to be at the more creative side of the process pushed me to begin seriously taking my own pictures.
What do you think is your signature in your photographs? 
I compose images with strong graphic forms while also looking to capture a spontaneous point of elegance, which often involves exploring colour and movement.
What is the role of lighting for you?
I will meticulously plan out lighting before a taking most pictures. I like my images to quite often capture things that are rarely seen in moving image or real life. My lighting facilitates this through commonly capturing movement and enhanced colours.
Can you tell us more about Applied Composition? What is it about? How did you come up with the idea?
I wanted to take a collection of photographs where the application of line and colour compliment found compositions on the body – in some cases structuring the images with a fine balance between both these elements – to question the area of skin used or to forget the idea that the body is even present. The objective being to create images with a flow in concept, the project sits between beauty and painted art.
This was the first shoot I’ve done with Crystabel Riley (makeup artist) – I loved the pictures I’d seen on her Instagram. She shoots a lot of her own work with her phone, close up and raw as opposed to using the finished image. I loved this idea and was keen to create something similar with her.
The concept of the shooting is to create images that move between beauty and painted art, as you said before. How did you find that balance?
We first photographed test images of Joana’s (model) body and wanted to be happy with the chosen areas before the colour and lines were applied, to ensure each element complimented the other.
Line and colour are the main characters of the shooting. How did you combine both? How has the exploration between the two been?
In some images we wanted to keep the colour palette similar to that of the skin, to enhance the found lines and form of the body. We also wanted to show the distortion that takes place in the skin when body parts move. For example, in the close up of the open mouth, the colour used for the line is tonally similar to the lip and the line direction has been altered by the mouth being opened. The application of more intense colours created lines that struck a balance with found creases and shadows on the body, while also enhancing contours and altering textures.
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