Tom Calvert

A touch of the hypnagogic and a well-developed wit — we’re tickled by this young photographer’s work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My tutor Jim gave us the advice ‘It takes two people to argue; one to argue and one to listen’, which he actually misheard off The Simpsons. As it is, it means absolutely nothing but sounds beautifully profound. Then perhaps, that’s the underlying message.

How do you develop your concepts?

A lot of the time I try and dissect the language of my initial concepts into word play or oxymoronic statements. I use these as the basis for the creation of visual work, as they often result in unusually funny compositions.

What are you working on right now?

It’s still yet to be fully conceived but currently I’m working on a project about a puffin that beat me in a photography competition.

What are the best and worst aspects of what you do?

Best – It’s fun. I think how lucky I am to have done, and been doing, what I do. Worst – There’s very little money in it, so the motivation for the work I make has to come from passion to create it, which in itself is obviously no bad thing, but it would be nice to not have to worry about the money side of things.

Tell us about the piece of work you’re most proud of.

I think my project Cant Cook, Wont Cook is potentially still my favourite work - it was the first time I realised what I really enjoyed making and that I can actually make it without worrying whether the work was about a serious or topical issue. I’m probably most proud of Finding Tom Calvert though, as it’s the most visually resolved.

Where would you like to be in a year’s time?

It would be nice to think that I could have my own studio somewhere in a year’s time, ideally still by the sea, but anywhere with big windows, high ceilings and nice light would be great.
If the building was on fire and you could only grab one thing from your studio, what would it be?  

I should probably answer this with my camera or all my negatives, but I think my fake, plastic crab would be high on the list.  That crabs seen me through thick and thin, and is surprisingly photogenic.