An Interview with Publisher and Photographer Tom Coleman in Bristol.
Tom Coleman is a multi-talented photographer, editor, curator and publisher that I recently met at his Unveil'd exhibition in Bristol. He lives and works in the South West of England, where he is also a member of MACULA Collective – a community of young photographers, as well as being involved with art galleries and institutions. He runs Young Shot Press, a platform which showcases the work of contemporary photography online at www.young-shot.com and also through exhibition and print. I particularly enjoy the interviews in both the print magazines and online, which have a sense of intimacy to them, which is rare. He publishes work as books, zines and prints through a side project – Young Shot Press which also sells self-published works on their beautifully designed website.
More recently he founded Unveil’d, whose first event I attended where it was held in Bristol’s Edwardian Cloakrooms, 2014. The aim of Unveil’d is to celebrate contemporary photography through intermittent events bringing together photographers, collectives, publishers and professionals to create a physical space for exhibition, book fairs and discussion. After meeting him Bristol I felt incredibly inspired, not only his passion for printing within a digital world, but for his determination to create something unique that brings creative people together and champions young talent.
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?
Yes, when I dropped out of formal education.
What piece of your work would you like to be remembered for?
It hasn’t been created yet!
If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
The Roman Empire has always interested me.
How would you define beauty in 140 characters or less?
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting, which inspires you?
I don’t have a favourite book, my favourite painting is Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich and favourite film, Fitzcarraldo directed by Werner Herzog, I hadn’t noticed the similarities until answering this question.
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
Double gin and tonics.
What fictional character from literature or film would you like to meet?
Do you believe that true creative expression can exist in the digital world?
Yes, I’m waiting for the first great digital photobook. I don’t know how it will function, but it will be very interesting when it happens.
What do you wish every child were taught?
How to grow and cook their own food.
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?
What is your favourite museum or art gallery and why?
The one in the town where I was born, I can remember it exactly, down to the biscuits they had in the café, although I haven’t been there since I was very young.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I really enjoy Anouk Kruithof’s, particularly sculptural, work and would love to work with her on some kind of project.
What is your daily routine when working?
Vague and sometimes productive.
What has been your most inspiring travel experience?
Morocco was the first time I experienced a different culture, travelling through the Jebel Sahro and High Atlas Mountains which was very inspiring. I just got back from Barcelona too, but that hasn’t quite sunken in yet and I’m yet to develop the photographs I took, so perhaps something will come of that.
What advice would you give to a young person following in your footsteps?
DIY OR DIE. Never Stop.
Why do you love what you do?
Because I do what I love and avoid everything else.
Below are a couple of works by up and coming photographer Anna Tea from the Young Short/Unveil'd exhibition I attended in Bristol. Note the texture and grittiness of the walls in the public toilets, which were particularly evocative in terms of the overall emotional effect of the exhibition.
Written by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, founder of Arteviste.com