Created Local Instagram Series: @tom8enjamin

Bosham.Natural. Shot by Tom Benjamin

Created Local Instagram Series: @tom8enjamin

In the twenty eighth edition of our special features celebrating our favourite south coast based Instagram users. Today I catch up with Tom Benjamin (@tom8enjamin).

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I have recently moved back to the area after living in Helsinki, Finland for five years. I grew up in Waterlooville until I finished college, I then went to live in Canada, Australia and Finland. After living abroad for ten years on and off I moved back.

Can you tell me more about your photographic experience; is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby that you’ve developed?
I studied photography at college, at that time it was largely film based, and I didn’t get my first DSLR until 2007 when I travelled to Canada. Photography has always been a way for me to record my travels and has encouraged me to visit new places. Photography really changed for me when I met a group of photographers through Instagram in Helsinki. We would regularly shoot together in the city and I began to see things in different ways. It was also at this time that I started to offer my photographic services for weddings and portraits, as well as product and location shoots.

Natural History Museum. Shot by Tom Benjamin

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
My current camera is a Nikon DSLR, though occasionally I like to shoot the odd roll of film. My favourite lens has to be a 10-20mm, especially when taking photos of architecture as it allows me to capture buildings in their entirety with limited space.

Spinnaker Tower. Shot by Tom Benjamin
HMS Warrior. Shot by Tom Benjamin

Exploring the theme of local, the south coast has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph?
Architecture is a massive pull, unique and interesting buildings always capture my interest. The area around Portsmouth Guildhall is always good as there is such a variety of architectural styles in such a small space.

Recently I have been revisiting some of my old photos of the Tricorn. Though it was a building that caused great debate in the city, it is a very interesting part of its history. I am currently putting together a small zine that I hope to release shortly, as well as revisiting the location for some before and after shots.

For you what makes a good photograph stand out?
The extra details. A person walking by, symmetry, or capturing a building in great light. A great photograph comes out of patience and time. Perspective also helps to make a photo stand out. We are surrounded by images all the time so finding a way to capture a shot differently is a huge plus.

Tallinn Old Town. Shot by Tom Benjamin
Helsinki Cathedral. Shot by Tom Benjamin
Tallinn. Shot by Tom Benjamin

Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?
When I travelled I definitely took photos for myself, I rarely shared them outside of the family. It was a big step for me to put my photographs out there for others to judge, even now I still need to think about how an image will be perceived before posting. At the moment I would say that it is more of a mixture of the both, I have found a balance between what I like to photograph and what I think people like to see. Of course, you can’t always get that right.

Are there any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out.
Locally @louisstacey and @b.enatkins are really great, I enjoy seeing Portsmouth from their point of view. It would be great to meet more local photographers and shoot with them in the future.

From Helsinki, I like the perspective of @henrifromhelsinki who does a fantastic job of showcasing the city. @kristovedenoja is also great, his project @helsinkifacades details the variety of architecture in Helsinki. We have shot together a number of times and they were a huge help while I discovering new places in Helsinki.

The Hard. Shot by Tom Benjamin
Southsea sunset. Shot by Tom Benjamin

If you would like to get involved or know of a photographer that you think should be on our radar then please drop me an email at stuart@strong-island.co.uk.


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