My interview for Professional Photographer Magazine.

This was my interview, for Professional Photographer Magazine in April.

Where are you from? where are you based now? why and how did you become a photograher? do you have any training (if not, did you go to college and what did you study)? how old are you?

Hey! I’m Tom Leishman; I’m 23-year-old self-taught newly based London photographer! I’m originally from a small town called Cannock in the middle of Staffordshire. I started photography when I was 19 I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now. I never did enjoy school I felt I’d never be able to achieve anything with myself once we’d finished, I had bad experiences at school... I never had the stomach for the educational system... So when I left school feeling lost in a dead end job with a huge chip on my shoulder at 19 I only had music and art that I felt any passion for... So it just naturally happen when my cousins where in a popular local rock band... I never imagined it would have taken me on this journey!

2. rock and roll and pop etc . . .

what was the first pop music you can remember/bought? when did you start taking pop pics? why? you sell prints — does that make financial sense? what other outlets do you have for your photographs (the pop ones in particular but the other ones, too)? do you make any money out of sales to magazines etc? what is your relationship to the performers? do you find you get close to them, almost as friends or is it always distant and professional? is it a collaboration between you and the performer? how many shows do you go to? what are you looking to achieve in your pop images?

The first cassette I ever bought was The Beach Boys Greatest Hits and Right Said Fred “UP” I bought them both at the same time, I’m still proud to call myself a fan of the Beach Boys! My first memories of pop music were probably listing to old 60’s and 70’s pop music in the car with my parents. The first time I realised how much of an impact pop music had on us was when I saw the likes of Michael Jackson and Prince! I recently started taking pictures of pop groups through having mutual friends with Frankie from the UK girl band The Saturdays, she introduced me to the pop industry, I figured I was good at the rock music photography so why not try and take on the pop world! Since working with The Saturdays I’ve managed to land myself there latest cd single front cover, through working with The Saturdays I’ve been introduced to the boys in Mcfly and several other well known British pop acts, I can’t wait to work more within the industry I’m very lucky to have had this break so young in my career, I do plan on selling my prints once I have had worked with more pop acts. A big majority of my clients have became close friends of mine, Whenever I work with new clients, popular or unknown I always make an effort to make friends first, I like to have that personal connection with them, I never would want any client of mine to feel just like an object, it’s harder to get emotion out of an object rather than a personality you know. Anything I’ve ever done with performers has been collaboration from live shows to press shots. I’ve been to more shows than I’d care to count, but I even invested in my own earplugs it’s that many! Hopefully I’ll achieve feelings and memories from my pop images, Call me ambitious, but I would like to be known as a great photographer that recorded history.

3. website etc . . .

how long have you had your own website? did you set it up yourself? have you any idea who looks at it? how often do you update it? have you thought of/plan to sell prints direct from it? does it 'work' for you?

I’ve had my own website for about 2 years now, I set it up myself with a very good friend of mine who is very talented at web design. Because I worked with a friend I managed to not spend a single penny on the web design, yet I’ve still managed to keep my site up to date with my peers and to an above standard in design. From 2008-2009 I had almost half a million website views, which is completely overwhelming and warming to know people actually are interested in my photography, I often have to break down that number and just pause and think about how big that is, it’s good for me as it acts as fuel to my fire to keep me going and believing in myself. The long term goal is once I’ve built up a big enough portfolio I’ll definitely start selling prints from my site, I’ve already had several requests from people wanting to buy prints, however I haven’t just yet as I’m concentrating more on networking and finding and developing my style of photography.

how would you describe your work? which photographers (living or dead) do you admire/feel inform your approach? which pop photographers do you like/admire/hate? how would you describe your technique and technical abilities?

I’d describe my work as hyper-realistic I’d like to think I have the ability to make something look far more intense and dramatic than it really was, when photographing rock bands or pop bands I try to capture the whole event and sum it up with one picture. I draw influences from many photographers just to name a few of them Chris Strong, David Lachapelle, Dave Hill, John Wright, Glen E. Freidman Joey Lawrence, Jill Greenburg and Tim Walker. I spent a lot of time studying and trying to understand their lighting and techniques; these photographers are always inspiring me to push myself. I would best describe my technique and abilities as a combination of complex lighting set-ups, creative set ups, thinking outside the box and intense post-production work.



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