Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Men and Women by Tom Wood

One of the most important things to do as a photographer is to work on projects, to work to themes. This means looking for similar subject matter or returning to the same locations to photograph over a period of time. It is this that trains the eye and develops the understanding of the subject and makes images that have more than just snap value. I teach this on our Intermediate Photography course and see great results from our students and such progress in their work.

There is a new exhibition by Tom Wood of a project that he has worked on for more than 40 years.

Phil Coomes on the BBC website looks at Tom’s work and discusses the process and results, it is well worth a read here

How long does it take for a body of work to be ready? A decade, more? Well, for photographer Tom Wood it seems that 40 years is about right.

Men and women is a new show at the Photographers’ Gallery in London which brings together Wood’s pictures of the everyday lives of the people of Liverpool and Merseyside between 1973 and the start of this century.

Wood’s method of working was simple. For five days of the week he’d shoot on the streets, or from a bus, and was soon known by those he saw regularly as Photieman.

“I was making pictures, with people that allowed me to photograph them,” says Wood. “I was just going out and making pictures every day on loads of things all at once and never finished anything. Lots of the projects I didn’t want to finish or to put in to the world at that time.”

The resulting pictures would be filed away, each one contributing to different projects that over the years built in to substantial bodies of work MORE from Phil Coomes here

Right Here, 1990

Mad Max, 1993

The exhibition of this work is The Photographers’ Gallery, London Admission Free, 12 October 2012 – 6 January 2013

This is from the gallery’s site

Irish born photographer Tom Wood (b. 1951) has, for the last four decades, continuously recorded the daily lives of the people of Liverpool and the Merseyside area – at the football ground and markets, on the bus and the ferry, in pubs and nightclubs, workplaces, schools and hospitals.

Never seen without his camera, and constantly moving between different formats and photographic styles, colour and black and white, Wood readily mixes images of strangers with portraits of family and friends. His work, although documentary in its approach, is much more fluid than that – an exploration of the medium of photography as much as a celebration of the city of Liverpool and its inhabitants.

This first major solo exhibition of Tom Wood’s work in the UK focuses on previously unseen portraits dating from the early 1970s to the early 2000s. The exhibition also features some of Wood’s rarely seen book dummies – including Looking for Love (1989), All Zones off Peak (1998) and Photieman, (2005) – as well as a selection of vintage work prints, giving an overview of his important publishing output and an insight into his working methods.

Wood has exhibited internationally including at the ICP, New York; the Shanghai Arts Biennale; FOAM, Amsterdam; and the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and his work is held in major national and international collections. He lives and works in Wales. MORE INFORMATION HERE

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