Amateur photographer, and now full-time doctor, Tom Pepper won the 2013 New Talent category of Travel Photographer of the Year, with a portfolio of images which he shot while on medical attachment in New York as a medical student. During the weekends and evenings not spent at the hospital, Tom walked the streets in search of new photographic subjects, and a fresh take on the familiar Manhattan skyline.
You can see more of Tom’s work here www.tompepperphotography.com
1. Where are you from?
I grew up in Folkestone, Kent, but currently live and work in London.
2. What first got you into photography and how old were you?
For my 21st birthday my parents gave me a digital camera – a two megapixel Fuji Finepix 2800 – and that really marked the beginning of my love of photography. Its only ISO setting was 100, and I soon realised it was terrible for shooting indoors, but great for sunsets! Perhaps it was this that steered me towards landscape photography.
3. How do you look to approach and capture your next best shot?
I look to see what has already been done, and then decide what works well and what doesn’t. I research whether sunrise or sunset is preferable for particular locations, and use a tool like The Photographer’s Ephemeris to check which time of year is best in terms of sun position. Finally (for England at least) the weather forecast is vital! This process gives me an enormous head start compared with setting out with a completely blank slate, particularly if my time in a location is limited. I then experiment as much as I can, with the aim of capturing a unique frame under the best conditions.
4. What has being involved with the Travel Photographer of the Year done for your photography career?
I work as a doctor for my ‘day job’, but winning the New Talent category of Travel Photographer of the Year has motivated me to keep finding the time to shoot, and inspired me to put together a small website of my work (www.tompepperphotography.com), as I always like to look at the portfolios of other competition winners.
5. Tell us the story of your profiled picture
I captured this image whilst on a medical attachment in New York. After finishing my shift at the hospital I would head out to take some photographs for an hour or two, which was often conveniently around sunset. This image became part of a portfolio of six. It shows the Manhattan skyline just after the sun has set, with the Brooklyn Bridge stretching across the water connecting the two boroughs. I shot the image from a deliberately low angle so as to include the rocks in the foreground, which provide balance to the fragmented clouds passing overhead.
6. Where is your favourite place you have visited, and why?
Whenever I plan a photographic trip overseas the USA is the benchmark to beat. The landscape is so diverse, and its National Park system is the jewel in the crown.
7. What or who inspires you to take the pictures you do?
Originally, my travel planning revolved around getting to the most scenic locations in the world. Once there, it was a natural progression to want to capture these. I enjoyed bringing home images that people – friends and family – were unfamiliar with, whether these were of beautiful landscapes or exotic creatures. More recently I have come to realise that there are just as many striking images waiting to be taken on the doorstep. The challenge comes in presenting these familiar scenes in an unfamiliar way.
8. What do you most enjoy photographing?
I enjoy photographing landscapes and wildlife most. However, I’m currently trying to learn more about portrait and lifestyle photography, as this is a new challenge requiring a completely different skill set. I think I will ultimately always return to landscape photography though.
For more information on Travel Photographer of the Year or to enter, visit www.tpoty.com