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Parka People, meet Tom Shaw

Meet Tom Shaw | Photographer

Parka London in People

Words by Parka London
Photography by Kate Forster

We went down to the show at British contemporary craft and furniture store Another Country to meet up with Tom Shaw and talk about all things photography, life and surfing.

So you picked up a camera at the age of 5? Can you remember what you shot?

I shot my bedroom, randomly. I think it was just the action of pressing the button and winding it on that loved - and it also included pictures of my friend too, so that incriminated me as I tried to put the camera back and hoped no-one would notice.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I don’t know, it’s just something that I have grown into. I would always love taking pictures when I got my own camera, and when I was at high school my art teacher showed us how to process black and white film, and that got me hooked. I always felt that I was going to be a photographer. There was a great quote that I read years ago in a photo book “I can no more stop taking pictures than I can stop eating and breathing” and I felt (and still do feel) that way too.

Inside Another Country store with Tom Shaw <strong>Photographed by Kate Forster</strong>
Inside Another Country store with Tom Shaw Photographed by Kate Forster

So this is your first show? Why now?

Because I had a body of work that a lot of people loved looking at and I felt that it should be seen in its best light, in large prints on the wall.

What is the exhibition about?

It’s a look at surfing set within the great British Landscape in the foul (but emotionally beautiful) British weather!

Is surfing your sport? Where are the best spots for surfing in the UK?

No, I am in no way a surfer. Surfing's spiritual home is down in Cornwall, but there are great spots all over the country, one of the best places is Thurso in the north of Scotland.

The British Surfing Landscape exhibition <strong>Photographed by Kate Forster</strong>
The British Surfing Landscape exhibition Photographed by Kate Forster

What other active pursuits do you enjoy when you have a moment away from the camera?

Playing with the kids! But there is always a camera there too. I love being outdoors and climbing mountains; usually in Scotland where I spent part of my childhood and all my family live. Now being based in London I don’t get to go as often as I would like.

Talk me through a typical day behind the camera?

There is never a typical day! In the past few weeks my work has ranged from shooting some portraits of Jockeys on the gallops at 6am, to being in Monaco for a portrait shoot for Sky, to shooting a group shot of the England Cricket team in a basement meeting room at a hotel in Leeds. All very different each with their own particular challenges!

Do you ever like to get in front of the camera?

Nope! Whilst I’m not shy, I just find it awkward, but I did some pictures on here with Kate (our Parka people photographer) and it was fine!

Who is the most famous, or the most interesting person you have shot?

Ooh! The most famous would be David Beckham (a long time ago) and recently Condoleezza Rice. She was lovely and an amazing woman.

And what is the most exciting project/s you have worked on?

There have been a few, but the most exciting ones are the ones I’ve yet to shoot. Being commissioned to shoot all the Olympic venues from a helicopter was amazing. We could fly to wherever we wanted to go, and London looks great from the air.

Apart from your camera, what do you treasure the most?

My family! That’s really sickly isn’t it! I’m not really into things. I don’t really treasure the camera as it’s just a tool, I treasure the pictures more. Experiences are so much more valuable.

Favourite parka weather – sunshine, rain or wind?

All of it, I love the fog and mist.

Tom and his work <strong>Photographed by Kate Forster</strong>
Tom and his work Photographed by Kate Forster

What is your favourite Parka London piece in the SS16 collection and how do you wear it?

The Arthur jacket. It covers all the looks. Smart, casual and adaptable - you would never look out of place in any situation. Just whip off the camo inner and it’s a bit smarter!

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone who has a camera and wants to take great photographs?

Keep on shooting and keep making mistakes. You will only ever learn from the mistakes. Shoot a subject that you love, if you don’t and end up shooting what you don’t love you will end up falling out with photography. Keep going till you are happy with it - but you never will be because it can always be done better - it’s the curse of the photographer! And you will never ever stop learning.

Tom’s exhibition was displayed between 16th May until 30th June 2016 and his prints are still for sale @Another Country

Address: 18 Crawford St, London, W1H 1BT
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 5pm
Sunday: closed
Inside Another Country furniture shop <strong>Photographed by Kate Forster</strong>
Inside Another Country furniture shop Photographed by Kate Forster
Inside the Another Country window <strong>Photographed by Kate Forster</strong>
Inside the Another Country window Photographed by Kate Forster



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