Tom Corbett's Organized Chaos for The Gloss
Fashion is about more than what blouse or pant you’re wearing, more than textures and colors. There’s so much more to consider: what bag, what jewelry, what hair will bring a look together and totally punch it up? The latest issue of The Irish Times’ The Gloss is all about the extras, and features a cover shoot by Tom Corbett who answers that flurry of questions with every frame.
How does he do it?
“Organized chaos is really what you’re after,” Tom explains. “Yes, you want to make sure the bag doesn’t turn the wrong way, but I love to shoot quickly, I like to embrace chaos and have people that can work around me and bring that energy together.” As Tom shoots, the energy compounds frame after frame, and he doesn’t let it drop. He doesn’t worry about the tiny details that can be worked out later because for him it’s about keeping the shoot alive, letting it flow, and allowing the natural rhythm to reveal the best moments. “We can just really work to that energy and not worry about certain things too much because then they tend to kill the moment. Then afterwards we go back to see if we got it.”
For a lot of photographers, choosing to shoot in the studio on a white background with white lights could present a massive challenge (especially considering Tom’s goals with this shoot). But Tom has mastered the spare set, working not only with the fashion and accessories and model to create images that are full of life, but also using his tools as a photographer to make it work. “It really was about cramming things into the frame,” says Tom. “That’s why she’s bending down, for a little bit more of a fashion moment, making a shape within the frame so you can see the clothing. Keeping the crop really tight also helps with the energy, to have it explode out of the tightness of the frame.” By going in really close or finding an angle that we’re not use to seeing, Tom’s images tell us that there’s more than what we’re seeing. The energy starts in the frame but extends beyond it, onto the next page, into the next images, and past that through our imagination.
“I just love the energy of it,” says Tom. “I always love working like this, it gives you a frame that is sometimes unexpected. It’s second nature to me now, finding interesting angles to try to make these a little different and a little bit more fun, a little bit more caught.” Every image seems like we’re catching the girl at a moment she didn’t expect, a glimpse of elegant effortlessness, made possible through the work of Tom and his team.