Another one out of Bournemouth’s strong photographer community is Tom Ormerod. We grabbed him for a quick chat to find out about his journey into photography…
Photography is just one of the many artistic branches explored here in Bournemouth. As such, we’re never short of a photographer or two to talk to. This time, it was Tom Ormerod’s turn to be put in the Humans of Bournemouth hot seat. From his background in the art to his plans for the future – we wanted to know all…
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN BASED IN BOURNEMOUTH?
I am a Dorset boy originally; I was born in Dorchester. Moved away for quite some time, ended up in Sheffield. And then I moved back down, when circumstances allowed it, to Bournemouth in 2012. So, I’ve been around for a few years, but not the whole time.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER THAT PHOTOGRAPHY WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?
There has always been cameras around me. My dad did wildlife photography for a period. Although I had an interest in them when I was younger, it was more a case of, “Ooh, there’s a camera, I can take a picture.” But digital photography opened everything up a bit. My first ever camera was a Pentax Spotmatic SLR. A film camera; a hand-me-down from my dad many years ago.
But I didn’t do anything with photography for many years – just snaps. Then about 18 months, maybe two years ago, I just started taking more and more pictures and began posting them online. And I think that spurred me on, because it was interesting to see people’s reactions. It was interesting to see them go, “That’s a good picture!”, because to me it’s just a snap. That really helped me.
Just over a year ago, December 2017, I had a moment. I went out for a photography trip. Took myself off in the morning for a sunrise, just for the sole purpose of taking a photo. That was the moment when I thought, “I really enjoy this. I’m on my own, not a soul around me, the waves are crashing, the sun is coming up — this is beautiful.”
DID ANYONE INSPIRE YOUR STYLE OR DID THIS DEVELOP OVER TIME?
It just developed, I suppose. There are a lot of local people who inspired me when I first started properly a year or two ago. A lady called Emily Endean, very well-respected photographer – her stuff’s brilliant. She encouraged me, which I appreciated. Someone who is clearly very good at photography didn’t just dismiss me. It was nice for them to say, “That was a nice shot you did the other day!” When, as far as I’m concerned, we’re in two different leagues. There’s also a chap called Duncan Graham (DTG Photography). Again, excellent photographer and very encouraging.
The sea and seascapes are what I really find inspiring. Every time I take a picture away from the sea, I don’t like it! Well, I like working with water. I can be by a river or by a waterfall and still be happy. But if I’m in a forest, I just look at it and think, “This is a forest; I can’t take a picture of a forest!”
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO SHOOT? (APART FROM SEASCAPES…)
I do dabble in other areas. The single area I do love apart from seascapes, which emerged last year, is Astro Photography. That’s all about the sky so I’m not too fussy about where I shoot that. It needs its focal points, like a church or… well… anything. Something in the foreground, and the Milky Way.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HAVEN’T EXPLORED AS A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT YOU’D LIKE TO TACKLE IN FUTURE?
Wildlife is the one for me. Because my dad was a wildlife photographer; he’s taken many great pictures over the years and he has them up at home. My friends, as well, they dabble in other things. And every now and then I’ll see one of there shots and go, “Wow — that’s amazing! I want to be able to take a picture like that.” And I think it’s the challenge that drives me. I want to take new pictures and learn new skills. Because in wildlife photography, you could be dealing with a small, fast-moving creature, which is a hell of a lot different to a static landscape. That’s the one I really want to get to grips with this year.
IF YOU HAD NO BUDGET OR TRAVEL LIMITATIONS, WHAT WOULD BE THE DREAM PHOTO TO TAKE AND WHY?
At the moment, I have this desire to go somewhere in the Arctic Circle. Places like Northern Norway… Iceland… those are the sorts of places I want to go right now. And, let’s be honest, it’s for one thing – The Northern Lights. But I would love to be able to go somewhere like that and see the dramatic scenery those places have, but also for Milky Way shooting. As well as The Northern Lights. Being able to combine the two. Maybe not necessarily in the same shot, but being able to go somewhere where you can have The Northern Lights one night, and completely clear skies for shooting The Milky Way another night. And I think there’s something about shooting with snow; there’s a wow factor to it. Snow-covered trees with The Northern Lights or The Milky Way.
If I had no restrictions at all, I would do a tour of the outlying areas of the Arctic Circle, going to different places to do nighttime shooting.
WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOU AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I would say the dream is to do it full-time and not do any other work at all. But I believe in this day and age you have to be exceptional to make that happen. Or very lucky. So, I would be content with exhibiting my photos. And that is it; I’m a realist and I don’t ever expect to do it full-time.
Just to be able to exhibit my work – and not just online. There’s something about doing stuff online. It’s fun and it’s exciting, but it’s almost like you get to a certain stage where you almost move past it. When you start thinking, “I don’t care if somebody doesn’t like that photo anymore, because I like it now!” And for me now, it’s more important that my photographer friends and peers like my work, than the general public.