Artist Spotlight: Tom W

Polaroid Image SE / Polaroid Image Soft Tone Film (expired)

Polaroid Image SE / Polaroid Image Soft Tone Film (expired)

Welcome back to another artist spotlight. This week we bring to you Tom Wright. Francisco met Tom about 3 years ago on Twitter and they have remained friends since that time. When we first started talking about doing artist spotlights, Francisco kept bringing up how amazing Tom’s work was and that I had to check him out. I can say with full confidence, that not only is his instant photography steller, but all of his work is inspiring and impressive. Do yourself a favor and dont let your journey with Tom stop here. Check him out at the following links.




• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.

My name is Tom W and I make memories for money.
I live in the north of England and aim always to create work that makes me feel something.
I love the beauty you find in relationships, either between people or an artist and the relics they craft.


(1) How did you get into instant photography?

The first time I ever came into contact with Polaroid was in Manchester, at the time i was working as a guitar tutor and struggling to make ends meet. I was low on cash and trying to make the jump to working as a photographer.
The impossible project had just started making their silver shade film and on one of my days off with my fiancée I stumbled across the only shop in the UK that sold the film. I decided it was way too expensive and that I couldn’t justify buying it on my meagre income but a week or so later I was back in the shop buying the film by the crate.
A month later I had next to no money left but rather than stop using the film I spent the last of the money in my bank and bought 12 packs of film and started the UK Impossible Workshops in the hope that people would love this film as much as I did.


 (2) What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

Without doubt it’s the Polaroid Image Elite. I love the rectangular prints it makes, they are reliable and relatively cheap to buy. If I could only have one camera to shoot integral film it would be that camera.
I love my SX-70 too though if I shot Polaroid for the absolute best image quality I would use that camera for every shot.


(3) What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

I would kill for a Polaroid 195 – for me my biggest issue with instant film is that I can’t shoot black and white film (px600 rusts in humid climates and after a week of me shooting I can’t see the image I took) and being able to shoot in manual would be amazing.


(4) What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

I love Expired Polaroid film in my spectra and PX70 cool for the sx70 I have shot about 10 packs of the new CP films for a lunch event and they are amazing too.


(5) How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

Typically I shoot events with a spectra camera with the flash left on keeping the camera on me at all times so I can work in a few frames around my primary format for the shoot the goal with the polaroids I make at weddings isn’t to produce artwork it’s to produce something the couple can connect with. 
For Portraits I can be more considered, taking the time to select locations that will work well with the medium and produce striking results that capture the feel that I’m looking for. In these situations I choose either the SX-70 with PX-70 film or a Spectra with Expired Polaroid film depending on how I want the shoot to flow.
It’s rare that I scan my polaroids, I feel that you lose some of the impact when you try to digitally capture these images, there is something about they way that they capture colour that just doesn’t translate to digital.
I really believe that the best part of shooting this film is being able to give my client something immediately, The effect that laying out 20-30 pictures has on a person is profound, it makes the whole experience seem more real.
Taking time after a shoot to admire the polaroids we made is one of my favorite things about using instant films.
People love them.


(6) How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? Does it differ from your other work?

 There is something about having a photograph instantly. It changes the way you feel about the picture. you worry less about the picture being “perfect” and start looking at the image as a memory, weird colours motion blur and all. It’s helped me to understand more about why I make photographs. 

 (7) Any personal projects we should know about?

 I’m working on a few personal projects at the moment that aren’t really well formed enough to share, I really love watching the way that artists work and I desperately want to start a project that revolves solely around that

I also blog a lot of images from my day to day life. On my blog if you like what you see here its worth a look. The images in the journal are 35mm film or full frame digital.


 (8) What other photographers do you look up too?

To many to mention, A few that come to mind are Ryan Muirhead’s work, Siebe Warmoeskerken, Parker Fitzgerald and Nate Kaiser from the image is found.


(9) What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

Don’t be intimidated by the cost of each frame – The film is there to be used and one of the best ways to miss a shot is to be too worried about using your film.
Go for the camera you want to use not the cheapest – As much as I love it Polaroid film is expensive and when film costs this much per shot getting the look you want from each frame is vital. spending a few hundred pounds (or dollars if you like) now could save you A LOT of wasted money on film.
To begin at least only shoot when it’s bright out. – Polaroid cameras aren’t great in low light… in fact they aren’t even great in shade where I live, you need to develop a gut feel for when it’s time to grab a flash or put the camera down.
Use only one camera and one film until you know it inside out – Running the workshops here gave me the chance to experiment with exposure and lighting but if I have learned anything most of these old polaroid cameras will do what they want not what you want, so learn to accept how your camera reacts with your chosen film.


(10) Where does most of your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

I’m a reactive shooter, So for me this is all about orchestrating interesting situations. or focusing on the details. If I’m not inspired by the people I photograph, I’m not looking hard enough.




  1. He is so humble, he’s fantastic and people need to book him!! His work is superb and the memories he makes excels any of the words he says here. A true artist with a lense.

  2. My word that’s high praise Mel! I have no idea what to say.

    Thank You!

    Tom W

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