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Walls of water

For photographer Tom Harper, pursuing the unique shot is the inspiration that drives his portfolio.

Words by Hannah Tapping

Tom Harper has spent his whole life in and around the sea, which is likely the reason he’s drawn to working around it. Picking up photography as a hobby some eight years ago, a cheap camera and an iPhone sufficed for taking quick snaps. It wasn’t until he decided to print a couple off that his interest was sparked in taking it further. Purchasing his first proper camera setup two years later, Tom’s photographic career has snowballed from there.

“Photography for me is very personal; it’s the ability to visualise what could be possible, almost without limits,” explains Tom. “Living in Cornwall is inspirational. With a very varied coastline and no two days alike, there are endless possibilities. Even grey, gloomy winter days will see me out with my camera. There’s the chance of coming back with a memory card full of potential.”

The hardest decisions for Tom are choosing between land and sea, which camera setup to select, which lens to use and which coast to discover: “I rarely go out with a fixed plan, more with a few ideas depending on what the weather throws my way. Local knowledge plays a huge part in these decisions however, and it can be very easy to miss out on something happening a stone’s throw away. This can lead to a very reactive, reflexive way of shooting; instinct plays a big part. Don’t get me wrong, the calculated planned approach can work very well, however, I like to keep my options well open, adapting as I go. Many of my favourite images come unexpectedly, off the cuff. Forcing a shot never works for me, it’s more about being flexible and keeping an open mind.”


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