Out Photographing with Tom Wood – Busses & Ferries

This post is not so much a “Case Study” as a bit of an 80s throwback.

I was studying (I use the term fairly loosely!) photography at Wirral Metropolitan College at Withens Lane in Wallasey, after leaving school in the late 1980s.

One of my tutors was Tom Wood (see him in action in the photograph second from bottom) and these are some of the photographs I took whilst out with him.

Not that I knew at the time, but Tom was a well-renowned photographer. I guess these days that he’d be called a “street photographer”, or a “social documentary photographer” – whether these terms weren’t in popular use amongst the general population in the 1980s, or I was just naive to the terminology, I’ll never know.

All I knew was that we were out taking photos and as it was Tom who I was out with, this meant photographing people.

I remember that photographing strangers on a bus was particularly nerve-wracking the first time I did it, but people really didn’t care – some were inquisitive as to what you were doing – “I’m a photography student” always satisfied their curiosity, without the need for further explanation.

In the 80’s, whilst I was a bit nervous taking photographs of random people, I don’t even think I’d dare do it today – imagine taking a photo on a bus of a mum and her young daughter these days!

I guess that in the not so distant past, where cameras only came out for Christmas and summer holidays, there was much more of a novelty of having your photograph taken whilst going about your everyday business, but now that everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times, people have become more suspicious of people taking photographs like this.

It would be a shame if future generations don’t have these kinds of photos from 2018.

The Pier Head – Tom Wood


The Pier Head – Tom Wood runs from 11 January to 25 March at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.

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