• Andy Whysall

One of those worthwhile meetings

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

On the subject of clouds, I can't believe I forgot to mention Tom Mannion. I met Tom at the Free Range show in London in the summer. He's an old friend of UoC lecturer and hugely-respected printer Rob Sara, and is a long-established commercial photographer and a man in demand. His main line of work is interiors and products, but not just any interiors and products and not just any old clients. He snaps for publications such as the New York Times, Salt Magazine, Architectural Digest and House. Artist Hugo Dalton, with whom Tom collaborated on a project describes him as 'renowned'. But Tom doesn't look or behave like he's renowned, and that I really like.

Tom Mannion's interiors on his website

For many years, Tom has been flown backwards and forwards around the world do do his magic for various publications. He's full of stories, as you might expect, and he's one of those who keeps a bag packed just in case.

We swapped emails and I asked him what lighting he uses for interiors and he said what I hoped he would say: 'Lighting for interiors? Generally everything you can see on my web site has been shot with available light - nothing added by me - and no reflectors either - possibly a diffused window or two by me. Whenever I shoot these things I will have some lighting with me but if I turn it on to see if it will help I will generally turn it off again!'

The piece of gear Tom loves to get right more than anything is his tripod. In his line of work I see the point entirely, and I have to agree with him that once you've found the tripod of your dreams, stick to it. I've had my Manfrotto 055 for about 30 years. It's the height that matters to me with my ropey back...can't do with bending over a too-short tripod for hours on end. Sometimes it's necessary, but mostly not.

One of us needs to lose some weight, and it's not Tom or Joyce. Pic by Rob Sara.

Tom went through my portfolio in detail, and I think, liked it, which is always a relief. He was interested in my using Fujifilm X cameras with APS-C sensors for all my portfolio work (Joyce had never been abroad before was taken with a Fuji X-H1) in particular Fuji's amazing colour. We also discussed the choice of lens for Joyce. It was made using a 55-year-old Pentax Takumar 50mm f3.5 Macro lens with an adaptor, chosen because it was designed from the ground up as a macro lens. When it's stopped down to f22 it creates far less definition-wrecking diffraction than even Fuji's superb lenses used close up. Sometimes newest isn't always best. And yes, I know there are X-mount macro lenses - I ain't got one and the Pentax cost peanuts.

It was great meeting Tom; he talked to us for ages. And clouds...yes, look on his website's personal work page. One is not alone.

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