After a break in October, we’re beyond delighted to introduce our November feature, Conal Thomson. Born in South Africa, Conal has now undertaken the project to photograph the small Irish town he’s moved to. Read more about his work below, and book him for your own projects here.
To start off, please tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Conal Thomson. I’m a 30-year-old sometimes filmmaker and part time photographer, born in South Africa and I’ve been living in Cork, Ireland since 2001. At the moment I am mainly doing product photography, but my focus would be my personal project of photographing the small town I live in and the surrounding areas. Having lived here for over 15 years it is surprisingly difficult, as my familiarity can cause me to overlook potential photos and it’s easy to dream of more exotic locations, but I am really enjoying the challenge.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned as a photographer?
I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of clear communication, whether it’s with your clients or with the model. Being able to explain yourself and your current plan of action in a simple manner is very important. A simple plan quickly puts everyone at ease and gives you the confidence to start experimenting and trying to capture that perfect shot.
I also think the way in which my ‘vision’ has developed thanks to photography is a wonderful thing. I am now much more aware of my surroundings, both appreciative of nature and noticing things like the quality of light at a certain time of day, which in turn feeds back into my understanding of photography.
To you, what’s the best thing about being a photographer?
The best thing is seeing happy clients when presenting work that turned out even better than both of you were expecting. Also, being able to create prints is so underrated. Finding wall space can be an issue, but that’s what friends and family are for! Writing this reminds me that it has been a few years since a put a photo book together.
What introduced you to photography?
It all started with my family’s 1.3MP Canon compact camera when I was a teenager in the early 2000s. It was the case of accidentally taking a few photos that I thought were very cool at the time. Back then I used the photo sharing sites DeviantArt and Flickr a lot, and through those sites I discovered most of what I know about photography now and picked up skills that I experimented with. I was always drawn to landscape photography, and it is the style that I will always come back to.
Where’s your favourite place to take pictures in your city, and why?
Anywhere around Cork Harbour is a good spot to take photos. With it being such a large natural harbour there is a lot of diversity when it comes to photos. Personally, I would be a bigger fan of the West of Ireland and the rugged landscapes and coast lines out that direction. There are always interesting things to discover in rural Ireland.