Our interview with Tom Grice, a UK based freelance photographer specialising in sports, lifestyle and adventure photography. Having worked on photography and production projects across the world, Tom also shoots on film, and his photos glow with warm, nostalgic light.
"MY FILM PHOTOGRAPHY USUALLY ALWAYS FOCUSES ON A FEELING, WHENEVER I PRESS THE SHUTTER I'M THINKING ABOUT WHAT SENSATION I'M CAPTURING"
What made you first pick up a film camera?
“I’m relatively new to the world of film. Apart from the occasional roll over the years, it wasn’t until the start of 2020 when I really fell in love with it. I picked up a Nikon l35af point shoot not long before the UK went into lockdown. I spent the following months wandering the streets and countryside close to where I live in Sheffield, UK. The whole process slowed me down, I took way more time composing a shot, and started to look at the environment around me differently. I think this is down to the number of shots you get on a roll.
When I shoot digitally I tend to spend more time looking and reviewing the shots, separating me from the environment or the subject that I'm shooting. But with film, you stay more connected to the moment, you can't review and recompose, you have to trust your instinct and move on. I find myself shooting photos that I never would have a few years back. It's strange how a 30 year old camera can have such an impact on your way of thinking!”
What has been the highlight of your photography career so far?
“I’ve been lucky enough to work around the globe and shoot some wonderful and amazing places. But a real highlight for me is 2020, it was a difficult year for everyone and at moments a real struggle. But one thing it gave me was time, I slowed down and really started to enjoy photography again. Sometimes we chase ideas of these amazing photos we want to shoot in some exotic location, but we forget what’s on our own doorstep. People often always chase the end goal, and dream of what's to come, but you have to love the process of getting there, if you do then you'll start to progress and everything will fall into place. By having this spare time to learn and explore where I live, I started to shoot photos that I would have once missed. From landscape changing seasons, candid moments of strangers in the streets to sunsets with friends. I really do feel as though last year was a turning point for me and where I want to go with my photography.”
What are you passionate about besides photography?
“I’ve always been into mountain biking, you could say that is how I fell into the work of film production and photography. Always being outside and I would be forever shooting photos of friends or making videos of them. As the years went by this progressed into a career, it all happened so quickly that I sometimes struggle to see how I got to where I am today. Other hobbies include, coffee shops, eating, hiking and generally just being outdoors. But no matter what I'm doing I'll always have a camera on me…”
Can you tell us about a book/film/album that has left a lasting impression on you?
“I’ve read a lot of books over the last year but one that I recently finished is “Good vibes good life” by Vex King. The title gives you an idea of what this book is about, and it's definitely an inspiring and thought provoking read. I recommend it to any one who is struggling to find themself or feeling a little stuck, it might just boost your confidence. “How I Make photographs” by Joel Meyerowitz is another one i’ve just finished. Best known for his spontaneous pictures on the streets of New York and instrumental in changing the attitude towards the use of colour photography. A short but thought provoking read I'd recommend.”
Do you have a particular photography style that you gravitate towards?
“As a photographer I always find it hard to describe my style, over the years I feel it has definitely changed though. I’d say my film photography usually always focuses on a feeling, whenever I press the shutter I'm thinking about what sensation i’m capturing and how best I can convey that through the image. Sometimes it’s a photo of a complete stranger who happens to be in the right place at the right time. On the other hand it’s a moment between friends or family. I think a photographer's style is something that comes to them without them really knowing. When I get my negatives developed I’m always questioning why I took that shot, but then when I look at the frame it usually becomes clear to me.”