A while back I was interviewed by Jonathan Cherry for Mull It Over. It’s just gone live today.
JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
TOM EAGAR: Quite a few things. Looking back my choices seem unsuitably skewed towards being a professional athlete. I remember wanting to play rugby for Wales and also basketball in the NBA. As a young teenager I started getting into cameras, both still and video, and began shooting mountain biking films with my friends for fun. I really enjoyed that and it definitely lit the spark of an idea in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until after university that I started seriously considering film and photography as a realistic option.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
TE: I’ve got an ever-growing folder on my browser of inspiring sites that I stumble across and bookmark. The latest edition is Emily Kai Bock. She directed the video for Arcade Fire’s single Afterlife. Even though her back catalogue isn’t that big, it’s already really solid. She’s collaborated a lot with cinematographer Evan Prosofsky who’s got a great eye. Sticking with cinematographers, Emmanuel Lubezki deserves a mention as I thought his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity was just phenomenal. He really pushed the boat out with that film. I’ve also just generally been trying to make the most of living in London by going to more galleries and exhibitions, as they’re usually a good source of inspiration. The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize opened recently at the National Portrait Gallery, and I’ve also got my eye on The Paul Klee’s exhibition at the Tate Modern.
JC: What are you up to right now?
TE: I recently finished putting my first website together, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on that, trying to establish myself as a freelancer, and I’ve also just finished work on a film about Reyjkavik for Boat magazine, which is the focus of their latest issue. I’ve got one or two projects lined up for the coming weeks, which, if all goes to plan should be pretty good fun.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
TE: There have definitely been a few people that have given me their time and attention and have certainly helped me find my feet. Davey and Erin Spens at Boat magazine for example, and the guys at Archer’s Mark and The Church Of London deserve a mention, as well as friends who I’ve collaborated with and are in a relatively similar boat such as Liz Seabrook and Ben Marshall who I continually and unashamedly pester for advice. I’ve also done a bit of work recently with Batsheva Lazarus who’s a brilliant producer and has been a massive help.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
TE: I’ve been living in South London for the last two years but I’m moving out in January to spend the winter in Banff, in the Canadian Rockies. I’ll be shooting some skiing and snowboarding out there which is pretty much a dream job. At first I didn’t really take too well to London but over the last six months or so I’ve come to really enjoy it. That said, I can’t wait to get back out into the mountains.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
TE: For those still in University I’d recommend making the most of your spare time. You’ll never have as much free time as you do at University. And you will never be in an environment where you can take as much advantage of it. For those that have left, Anthony Burrill’s advice of ‘work hard and be nice to people’ is pretty on the money. I’d also recommend taking advantage of every opportunity. Even though the thing you might be working on at the moment may not be what you had in mind or may not seem all that beneficial, it could well lead to something altogether excellent in the future, so do the best job that you can.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
TE: I haven’t really got one to be honest. That can be my new year’s resolution.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
TE: It’s definitely important to have a group of people that you can bounce ideas off, hatch plans with, and be inspired by. Getting together with like-minded friends and collaborating on something that you all care about is a lot more fun than toiling away at something on your own.