Andy recently showed us this body of work for our Black and white module, I think I instantly fell in love with the work. It’s in a candid manner and is shot not to be technically correct or aesthetically pleasing, but instead to have as big of an impact as possible to the viewer. The subjects are always do close and in depth, as if you are literally in their face alongside Tom Wood. I’m pretty certain that I could begin to smell them after a while also. Woods uses cheap little point and shoot cameras to produce this body of work, which just re enforces the brilliance of it.
What I love about Wood’s work is the brutal hard hitting flash in some cases. Then you can tell that it’s taken on a cheapo point and shoot with a rubbish flash. I think Wood’s work is comparable to mine in this way, as I too have a cheap shitty flashgun that only have manual control whilst most of the time ends up in mistakes, especially for these sort of photos what I need to be quick and snappy in order to capture whats going on. As a result of this, most of the images are over exposed, simply because 90% of the time I couldn’t adjust fast enough for what was happening in front of me. Although personally I think that adds to the feeling and context of the images. If they were perfectly exposed it would run into the thin line of being borderline boring. But because some are over exposed, it adds a sort of personality to the images and makes them stand out. Much like Woods’ work. Imperfections are often beautiful. Imperfections is a good name, maybe I should use that for my title instead…?
I like the fact that the pictures were obviously taken with the subject knowing they were being photographed creating some great photos of people really engaging with the camera. For tom wood there was no hiding what he was doing, he didn’t hide his camera or anything which is what gave him the nick name from the locals as “photie man” which is where the title of the book comes from.
Here’s a very cool little video of a flick through of his Photie Man photobook on vimeo
Here is also a very cool PDF which is the exhibition notes from The Photographers Gallery. It goes into more depth of what the body of work is about as well as Wood’s definition of documentary photography as well the way he gets permission etc. Very cool read which gives more added insight into the life of Tom Woods.