A Dose of Magical Realism from Tom Corbett and Alexa
With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, the summer is unofficially over. But for the purists, there are still a few weeks left and Tom Corbett is taking advantage of the extra time. After the runaway success of his cover story with Sofia Boutella on The New York Post’s fashion imprint Alexa, the publication decided to run another summer issue, this time focusing on couture. They brought Tom back for the cover story again.
Tom and his team headed into Long Island to Old Westbury Gardens where they used the expansive, well-manicured but often wild, grounds of the historic location as a contrasting backdrop to the luxurious fashion. That tension made for a project with a singular tone. “It is just this magical, ethereal place and we were trying to conjure that moment, in a way,” Tom explains. “It just happened because the clothes and the gardens were so beautiful.”
The entire story can be summed up in the cover image in a garden feature referred to as “The Temple of Love” that looks out over a pond from the cover of aged trees. “It was magical. We got there at just the right time, we scouted it and we had some inkling that the light might do that but it was beautifully backlit and to me, that was the perfect moment, we got very lucky,” Tom explains. “It draws it into this magical realism moment which is very interesting. It’s something that is realistic but magical at the same time.” The value of a season is how much we are able to submerge ourselves in the changing natural beauty around us, and Tom was able to harness the soul of the summer in a fashionable way that inspires the imagination.
Tom Corbett Brings the Hamptons to the Next Level
Every summer New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons to spend the season in style. It’s more than just a destination on Long Island, it’s a lifestyle, and the New York Post’s fashion imprint, Alexa, went right along with the party. They invited Tom Corbett into the fun to shoot the cover story for their Hamptons Issue, a story they created with actress Sofia Boutella. She used to be a dancer, most notably in a handful of Madonna’s music videos (in addition to a blistering amount of other work), which ended up making the shoot with Tom even more successful. “She’s a very interesting actress… She was amazing,” Tom says. “Her understanding of her body and how it relates to clothes, and the scenery, and her understanding of photography was amazing. It really was. She made it effortless.” Because of her command of shape and understanding of composition, Tom was able to work with her as a collaborative equal and create holistic images that work on every level.
Sofia was the star of the story, but the setting was just as important. Tom used each environment to elevate the images. The Hamptons are known for the gigantic houses and refreshing pools, but Tom kicked it up a notch to show us more than we normally get to see. It’s not that we’re just getting a different angle of landscaping: he’s presenting it all with a new point of view. “I was trying to use the house in an interesting way rather than just sitting in the living room,” Tom says. “We were using interesting elements, graphic elements, architectural elements. Modern houses are such a pleasure to work in.” This is not the Hamptons as you’re used to seeing them, this is the next level.
Tom Corbett Warms Up the Icy Queens of Broadway's 'Frozen'
Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is obviously one of the most successful children’s movies of the last few decades, with kids (and parents) all over the world singing their favorite songs from the animated musical. Unsatisfied by merely dominating the animated genre, Disney turned the film into a stage musical that just opened up on Broadway. The New York Post’s fashion imprint ‘Alexa’ got the two leads of the show, Caissie Levy and Patti Murin, for a feature article with Tom Corbett on hand to photograph the actresses on location.
For Tom, photographing the story at the theater is a unique thrill. “I had the opportunity to shoot the main cast from Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ and they wanted to shoot in a theater setting which I always love,” says Tom. “I love the dramatic elements you get with the lighting, playing off the negative space and using light from behind. Theaters have so much negative space you can work with so I just love working there. We had a lot of fun playing around, painting with light, and trying to get some drama.” Tom took full advantage of the space, bringing the actresses from the stage to the house (and backstage, too) filling the negative space with beams of colored light and plumes of smoke. When the house lights are on, a theater can read as a big empty room filled with seats, but when it’s handled by someone like Tom it turns into an epic space for powerful moments.
Frozen is a new icon in the pantheon of fairytales, but Tom and Alexa didn’t want to lock this shoot down to the single production. The story was about more than just the performances and processes that these two professionals went through. So, they went out of their way to make the story timeless and removed from what will ultimately be a fulfilling but temporary part of each of these women’s careers. “We saw some serious actresses and wanted to treat them as such,” Tom explains. Instead, the shoot reveals two women at the top of their game, dominating this particular challenge, who will eventually take on another and another and another like the queens that they are.
You can catch both Levy and Murin in ‘Frozen: The Broadway Musical’ now.
Tom Corbett and Forevermark Celebrate Powerful Women
It’s International Women’s Day and that means it’s the perfect time to celebrate all the women in your life. Everyone who inspires you, motivates you, and that adds a little bit of sparkle. Forevermark and Who What Wear wanted to show off the sparkle that comes along inherently with anyone who is inspiring so they asked Tom Corbett to reveal how the details can empower women.
Grace and strength collide in the campaign that highlights Dylana Suarez, Janelle Marie Lloyd, Maddie Greer and Melis Lin, women who have written their own definitions of how to be a powerful woman. These four women have taken hold of their careers, driving the narrative of who they are and how they interact with the world, always coming from a place of creativity and power. It’s a disruption of the idea that strength is masculine, and thanks to Tom’s command of photography we’re able to see that in stark clarity.
The Tribute Collection that is featured in this campaign ranges from bold to subtle, but each pieces is placed on each woman in such away that they highlight the subject, enhancing her natural features, accentuating lines and colors. Tom ensures that we see each woman for who she is, and allows their natural grace to come through. With Tom’s signature energy and a little bit of bling, this is a collaboration that truly shines.
Go Modern with Tom Corbett and Harper's BAZAAR Greece
Common wisdom tells us that our civilization was cradled in Greece, the apparatus of how we interact as a human culture was created in those years and the impact has reverberated ever since. It’s literally the Classical Era, defining what it means to be a classic. In today’s world we have many modern classics, whether it’s a black dress or a clean pair of heels, but there is nothing more classic than a Chanel suit. “It’s very classic,” Tom reminds us. Chanel’s latest Cruise collection features a smattering of Grecian inspired looks that Tom Corbett dialed up to 100 for his story in Harper’s BAZAAR Greece.
Styled by Sandy Armeni, the whole shoot is a study in shape, angles, and attitude. By bringing the project into a studio, Tom was able to focus on bringing those shapes and angles to life with the energy necessary to highlight the volume and movement of the clothes. Model Taja Feistner worked with Tom to balance body language and grace to show off all the details. Whether it’s a ballooning pair of pants, an expertly woven skirt suit, or brilliantly appliqued crewneck, each piece needed a unique presentation and they found it together. Bradley Irion lent his mastery of hair to balance each look, while Brian Duprey makeup stayed in line with the classic inspirations. The details are underscored with accessories, completing each look, making each look as modern as it is classic, stitching together two eras in a single editorial.
Tom Corbett Gets Festive with Somerset Collection
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to get glitzed up, button up your best formal wear, and get ready to celebrate the season. It’s the holidays and we’re ready, are you? Somerset Collection is ready with their bevy of brands and retailers that have the best offerings in the world. They invited Tom Corbett back again for his seventh year, and this year it’s better than ever. “I’ve done several seasons with them. We work together very closely,” explains Tom. “We try to push it every year to a new height, to a new place. And obviously, it gets harder and harder as you go on. It was really about trying to make it even better than the last one.” They did three different stories in five different locations, but the blockbuster was the story they stuck on the cover, inspired by the Met Gala.
Imagining this night out as “Fashion’s Starring Moment,” Tom and his team found amazing locations all over New York City to act as the backdrop for a truly luxurious and elegant evening. “We shot in three locations on three different days: the Gramercy Park Hotel, the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn which was amazing,” says Tom. “And also the streets of New York around TriBeCa which was pretty cool as well.” It’s New York City, so each location had its limitations but Tom figured out how to work within each of those confines to create a series of imagery that feels effortless.
Three different locations and a host of different brands means that there’s a ton of diversity throughout the breadth of the whole story. Tom had to include everything. So to make it all work he looked back to another era of fashion photography. “We took inspiration from the old stories from the 90s where they took pictures that you normally would think weren’t necessary together, but in terms of lighting, in terms of situation, they work together because they were the same kind of mood,” says Tom. “So I took that idea and brought it forward.” By keeping a keen on tone and mood, Tom was able to thread a connecting line through all the images and tell a complete story.
Tom Corbett Gets Moving with Harper's BAZAAR Greece
Fashion is all about reinvention, and few looks are more ripe for innovation than the toga, a stereotypical Ancient Greek garment that has inspired fashion for millennia. This season Chanel has tapped into that Greek heritage for their line that is rife with references to the ancient past but with a fresh flavor. Harper’s BAZAAR Greece asked Tom Corbett to shoot an editorial that brings extra life to the clothes, and the story just dropped. “We wanted to take these clothes and give them some energy,” explains Tom. “I like to have a lot of movement in my work, so it was a movement story, using our fabulous hairdresser to help with the movement of the hair.”
The key to making a shoot like this work, blending the old with the new, is to keep a very contemporary eye on the imagery and make sure that the references don’t overpower the contemporary artistry. So that’s exactly what Tom did. “The fact that we were shooting in a really modern way allowed us to get away with some of this. I think that helped,” says Tom. “We shot with a very Greek emphasis on it. Being a Greek magazine I wanted to do a modern take on it and I think that’s why it worked.” The influences are alive, but the focus is making sure the clothes, and the model, look amazing.
Tom Corbett Gets Heroic with Marvel's Elodie Yung
There’s good reason that so many Marvel superheroes work in New York – it’s a city with history that captures the imaginations of fans the world over. Plus there’s been plenty of crime. At least six of Marvel’s best-known superheroes operate out of the Big Apple, and they’ve brought the quartet of Defenders to television with the synonymous Netflix series. But Elektra is not a superhero. The mercenary assassin and exlover of Matt Murdock (Daredevil) played on TV by the undeniable Elodie Yung is enticing, terrifying, and extraordinarily powerful. She’s also stunningly beautiful. When Alexa Magazine, the fashion imprint of The New York Post, featured Yung on the cover of their latest issue they invited Tom Corbett to photograph the story. “We wanted to do these heroic pictures on the streets of New York and she was really warm to it and it was a great day,” says Tom.
Yung, Tom, and his team headed down to The Lower East Side of New York City in order to capture that unique area of the city to give their imagery the perfect atmosphere. “We wanted a grittier side of New York, an older side of New York and that was really an area which we really loved,” says Tom. “The Lower East Side hasn’t changed too much, and we wanted to shoot there and give it some of the local flavor down there.” While other areas of New York are constantly welcoming glassy new buildings, The Lower East Side has maintained an incredible number of original storefronts making some areas feel like they’re in a different time. Tom took advantage of that to create imagery that’s outside of time, untethered to trends and development and focused on style.
As a fashion photographer, Tom mostly works with models but Yung is an accomplished actor, which is a totally different job. On the whole, Tom approaches actors and models in the same way, with one tiny little difference. “She was very in tune, she took direction very well, she understood exactly what we wanted,” Tom says. “You have to direct actors slightly differently so I tend to give my actors that I work with a little bit more of a background, a little bit more of a storyline, to try to make it fit into their world a little bit more. Models don’t necessarily always need that, but I do like working that way.” By giving her a little bit more of a story, Tom is able to work on her level and together they create images that are as beautiful as they are captivating. Plus the fashion looks awesome.
Tom Corbett and a Tradition of Elegance with The Knot
Whether jubilant or solemn, every wedding has at least a measure of pageantry in it. The ceremonies are steeped in tradition – maybe the words echo through generations, or actions are dictated by a culture, or the fashion is designed by the trends of a community. Each element comes together to create a ritual that’s deeply personal to those getting married and their witnesses entering the public covenant with them. Because those moments and expressions are so specific and personal, when Tom Corbett shoots wedding dresses, like in this month’s issue of the Knot, he makes them less about the wedding and more about the clothes. “When I shoot bridal I never think of it as bridal,” says Tom. “If you think about it like that you’re going to get bridal pictures, and nobody wants to see that. So when I shoot bridal I think of it as a fashion shoot and they just happen to be white dresses.”
For this latest story with The Knot, Tom and the magazine went to Saratoga Race Course, a horse-racing track with its own storied history. Not exactly the first location you’d think of when considering a spot for a bridal shoot. But for Tom it was about the shared traditions and pageantry. Maybe a racetrack isn’t used to hosting a gaggle of brides in big white dresses, but the racetrack has always been a crucible of elegant fashion. “Back in the day people would really dress up to go to these places,” says Tom. “The buildings and the grounds have an old movie quality to them. It still exists, that feeling, and we tapped into that.” Tom and his team let the images draw on that environmental essence with a blend of energy and stillness, framing the images as an extension of that emotional heritage.
Part of what makes the images so successful is how the light hits the models and the dresses. The diffused and filtered light allows for all the details on the dresses to be clear – because, after all, it’s about the dresses. This was possible because the day of the shoot was cloudy, and that’s exactly what Tom hoped for. “It did rain very heavily for some of the shoot, but what I said was the biggest thing that could go wrong for us is we get a really sunny day,” explains Tom. “The fact that it was overcast, we suddenly got this big, beautiful light. We could shoot all day long.” So they did. They only had to alter the light for one shoot, but the rest of the day Tom and his team were able to use what was available to the greatest effect and create a beautiful story.
Discovering Grey Gardens Again with Tom Corbett and Alexa
When the world was introduced to the two Edies in 1975’s documentary ‘Grey Gardens,’ we fell in love. The two women used style as a weapon against their struggle, facing mounting social and lifestyle pressures with grace. They inspired a generation of style that continues to live on today. Their home, Grey Gardens, was a mess when the documentary was filmed, but it has since been brought back into repair – and Alexa Magazine picked it as the perfect location for their latest cover story. They invited Tom Corbett to photograph a high fashion interpretation of the original documentary at the original location, and it looks spot on. “It worked out for us that day because it was a very misty overcast day and that vibe really, added to the tone. It was ethereal and a kind of spooky Grey Gardens moment – what you have in your head from watching the documentary. We got lucky with that,” says Tom. “It was an amazing location, it really was kind of cool exploring that and going into different rooms.”
Tom got lucky with the natural light of the day, but he wanted to make sure that the tone was maintained throughout the shoot. As they set up every shot he ensured the feeling of the light stayed consistent, sometimes using a little bit of flash to fill in when needed. And then the magazine wanted to make sure the clothes looked amazing so Tom balanced everything to keep it looking great. “The client was pretty aware of trying to keep the colors consistent with the clothes so it was really about balancing that out and also getting an interesting picture,” explains Tom. “It was finding that middle ground.” Once all the specific needs were taken care of Tom got to play a little.
Throughout the shoot, Tom sprinkled little details and surprises. One of the biggest secrets is in an image of the model wearing a gorgeous fur coat in the driveway. “If you look closely there’s the ghost of Edie in the window. We put the stylist assistant in the window of the house and if you look closely you can see her head staring out,” says Tom. There’s another image with the model in a stairway with a shadow on the wall behind her that Tom placed there on purpose. It adds a sense of foreboding and presence without bringing in another figure. “I like doing things like that. In fashion it’s nice to have a bit of fun with it and put little things in it that you may or may not see,” Tom says. One of the key lessons we learned from the original 1975 documentary is that it’s all in the details, and Tom made sure that there was beauty in every detail.
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.
Tom Corbett Flies High with Weatherproof
Weatherproof Garment Co. doesn’t mess around. They blend style and function, offering fashion that looks as good as it feels. To hit this aesthetic they reach back through history for looks that are outside of time, blending the contemporary with vintage influences. This season they wanted to do something big for their latest campaign and knew that Tom Corbett would be the perfect partner to bring the influences into frame with their unique style. So Tom packed up his small team and headed to the American Airpower Museum on Long Island. “I was a like a kid in a candy shop,” he says. “This place is dripping in history. It was really quite amazing to look at these 50, 60-year-old machines that people flew in and just try to feel how they felt. It was cool.” The clothes are inspired by the era when these planes flew, so it was a natural fit.
The museum is chock full of air history, which made for a lot of set options but also meant Tom and his crew had to make some adjustments. “We had to move them around into new areas to make it look less like a museum and more like an actual airfield. It was pretty intensive,” says Tom. “Everyone was helping out. It was nice, it was a small production. We were all helping out and pushing in the same direction.” There’s something exciting about deciding where airplanes go, even if it’s all on the ground and none of the planes are going to make it into the sky. But the whole team was on board to create something special - which makes it a much more fulfilling experience.
Once everything was set up and ready to go, it was a flurry of a day. Tom shot this veritable library of images in a single day, showing off a number of looks and a dizzying amount of set ups. One way he made it possible was by using all natural light, so he could move with every frame, maximizing time and space, creating a bevy of images in a short amount of time. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Tom loves a good airport – even if it’s a small one. “I love shooting airports, they’re amazing. All that open space,” Tom explains. “It was a lot of fun.”
Tom Corbett Is Ravishing with Rose
It’s Valentine’s Day, making it the perfect time to celebrate pink. We always match this holiday with pink, but this year it goes beyond sending chocolates and hearts cut out of construction paper. The February cover story for The Gloss, The Irish Time’s fashion imprint, puts pink front and center as the color to watch for this spring. It’s a vibrant, courageous color with a lot of inherent energy, a complex balance that Tom Corbett is perfectly suited to help The Gloss present.
The cover features an explosion in rose, with multiple layers and shades of pink skating across the clothing and the rest of the editorial. Throughout Tom’s story there’s no obvious method of matching shades or shapes but that adds to the effect, but The Gloss' Fashion Director Luis Rodriguez proves that pink is welcome in all forms and they all work together. Some pinks are loud and vibrant like a nearly neon suede bag, while others are softer, gentler, like a satin blouse. Pink has long been associated with femininity and what Tom’s editorial reminds us is that femininity can mean whatever we want it to mean. Femininity is soft when it wants to be, and strong when it needs to be.
Pink taking over the trend for spring is as much sartorial as it is social, like all trends. But Tom’s energetic images show sexiness, sophistication, power and tenderness, a blend of characteristics that has become incredibly pertinent to the current cultural climate. Women’s Movements have gained impact in recent months thanks to political moments and social forces. While millions of women march hand in hand, all at once, all over the world, anyone who would underestimates the power of pink does so at their own peril. One thing is for sure: Tom Corbett has never underestimated the women on the other side of his lens, and it shows this month on the cover of The Gloss.
Tom Corbett Gets Rockin' With Somerset
Most of the work that Tom Corbett has been creating with Somerset Collection has been an amazing journey across the globe, exploring different cities and aesthetics. But for a recent issue that examines the energy of the Rock ‘n’ Roll movement, Tom and the publication decided to take it into the studio and examine the energy in a white space. Rock ‘n’ Roll isn’t clean, it isn’t tidy or orderly, but Tom and Somerset wanted to see what they could find given such an unconventional set up. “We didn’t want it to look contrived or too lit and we wanted to do something really free and really Rock ‘n’ Roll. So we lit it as if we were outside,” Tom explains. “The whole premise was just to shoot, just to be absolutely free with it, not to think too much about it, and just go where it takes us.” Even though a clean white aesthetic might run counter to the way we think about Rock ‘n’ Roll, the way that Tom and Somerset set it up it actually did more to show that spirit than they could have achieved in a different way.
It’s all about energy. By creating a space that is “no where,” the models were free to spin their energy wherever they wanted, expressing themselves fully in front of the lens. “The whole idea so they could really run across the whole space and be totally free and not have to worry about where their marks are,” explains Tom. “It was a big lighting set-up, it was something I hadn’t done before and something I really enjoyed it.” By liberating the models from tight poses and tiny places to work, they were able to channel Rock ‘n’ Roll, dancing from one edge of the frame to the other, showing the movement of their clothes and injecting personality in every gesture. And sometimes that movement reached beyond the frame.
Many of the photos in the story feature models that are cropped by the edge of the image, as if they’re entering or leaving the photographs on their way from one place to another. Tom didn’t exactly plan it that way, but is thrilled with that result. “I wanted it to feel totally caught, but I didn’t want it to feel contrived or thought out too much. It’s this totally free moment, they have the whole frame to play through and they were moving constantly and if I caught a half of them or a third of them or it was the whole thing then it was all good,” says Tom. “Part of the strength of the images come from the framing. They’re exploding out of the frame, the tight crops, the extreme angles. It bends those traditional rules. We’re trying to push the envelope a little bit.”
Tom Corbett Rocks Detroit with The Somerset Collection
At the very beginning of this year, Tom Corbett traveled to Detroit, Michigan with The Somersett Collection, bringing along their high-end flavor to the city that is seeing a new Renaissance. It turns out that they ended up witnessing a part of that revival as much as contributing to it. Now they're back: closing out the year with another visit to Motor City, proving that the current creative class is high class.
The most recent story, named Detroit Vinyl, examines the musical history of Detroit while displaying the current collection at Somerset. Tom plays in recording studios, piano bars, record shops, and the cobbled streets showing grace and flair – with a little bit of spunk. After all, this is the city that built Rock ‘N’ Roll…
Somerset’s motto is “You Belong Here,” an invitation to go along on their magnanimous trips, seeing the world from conventional angles – like those in Paris – to the unexpected, like Detroit. Tom’s most recent work, the projects infused with the energy on display in Detroit Vinyl, prioritizes agility above complication to deliver us imagery that is immediate, affecting, and the perfect window into what being in these places is really like – or can be like in our most creative dreams. All while showing off the Gucci and Tiffany & Co. for the beautiful pieces they are.
So take a step back in time with Tom, to another age of music history that’s still as alive today as ever before.
Tom Corbett Goes Timeless for The Gloss
Fresh off his recent book with The Gloss, Tom Corbett is back with another collaboration with the magazine this time looking at women’s workwear. When thinking about a workwear story Tom might not be the first photographer that comes to mind because of the energy that he brings to all his work. But rather than making Tom quiet down for a typically more tight laced story, he brought his signature to challenge expectations. “Workwear stories are by definition conservative, but with this, we wanted to give it just something a little bit different so it didn’t fall into a super conservative place,” says Tom.
Since it’s a Tom Corbett story there’s movement, energy, and attitude in it. He chose a model who has an edge to her and made sure to punch up the boldness. You can see that in every image. It’s more than just a waifish blond lounging on file cabinets - this is a powerful woman who looks fantastic and owns her space. “It just goes back to what kind of picture you want,” Tom explains. “I like the women I photograph, the models I photograph, to look strong. I like them to look like they know what they’re doing. I really don’t like shooting the whimsical, or the airy-fairy. I like it when my women look fierce.”
All of the fashion has an interesting edge to it, too. There are references to current trends and decades gone by. There’s a timelessness to the clothes, and Tom wanted to maintain that by ensuring the photos didn’t date them or even put them in a specific place. “There was a little bit of a retro twist to it, but we didn’t want to get too caught up in that. We also wanted to keep it quite modern but it definitely had that nod to the 60s,” says Tom. “We didn’t want to make it look too New York. We wanted it to look like it could be just any European city in a way.” They avoided the landmarks of SoHo, where they shot the editorial so that everyone could relate to every image. Through these strategies Tom was able to take a kind of story that’s usually a little sleepy and pump it up to something beautiful, full of movement, and even offers a splash of inspiration.
Tom Corbett Makes the Somerset Collection Timeless
It’s not every day your company turns 20, and this year on their 20th anniversary, the Somerset Collection wanted to mark the event with a beautiful coffee table book. Creating a book is a much different challenge from putting a magazine together. It requires more consistency, richer storytelling, and an eye for the future. Books have a shelf life much longer than magazines and therefore have to hold a kind of timelessness. To help Somerset achieve this they invited Tom Corbett to create all the photography inside the book. “It was a real privilege to be able to do it, though I have worked with them for a long time I still think that they don’t take that loyalty for granted,” says Tom. “Every time they come back for a project I’m super excited. And it really was a great privilege to work with them.”
Tom’s done a bunch of shoots with Somerset in the past, but for the book they wanted to do something a little different. Styles change, and fashion changes from season to season. So Tom wanted to create something that would last for years sitting on anyone’s coffee table. “It’s street fashion, very laid back. We used a lot of available light, tried to make it very found, less posed, and less about the clothes and more about amazing imagery,” explains Tom. “That’s what we tried to do.” The efforts came together into a series of images that transcend the disposability of trends and instead focused on a message of style and class that has real staying power.
To breathe extra life into the images, Tom worked with British-born, NYC-based model Alexina Graham. Graham brought with her all the style, grace, and pizzazz needed to help sell a vision like Tom’s. “We’re really lucky we got her. She was a revelation,” gushes Tom. “She understood what we were trying to do very quickly. She was able to understand the mood and give me more than I expected and just go with it and really work it. And it’s so good when people can do that. She took it to another level.” Together they were able to make a statement on the pages of this publication. A company and a brand known for bringing us the latest in high-level looks now offers a memento that tells a story not just about where we’ve been, but also where we’re going.
Tom Corbett Injects Life with The Gloss
Fashion is about shape as much as it’s about color and texture. The most milquetoast materials can make something exquisite when coaxed into the right form. The Irish Time’s monthly fashion magazine The Gloss wanted to bring attention to new shapes, and asked Tom Corbett to help them do it. They brought together a collection of oversized apparel, focusing on outerwear, but they needed a way to bring life to these big clothes. “We thought that would look great with movement and energy, and it would make it really modern and really strong,” says Tom.
To bring the pieces to life, Tom worked with his model and kept her moving. They used a clean grey background to keep the focus on the clothes, but that meant all the story telling had to happen between the model and the clothes she was wearing. “It was a high energy, high octane story using these big coats flapping around, using the movement of the coats to create something,” explains Tom. In that room they injected every moment with creation, not satisfied to let the clothes hang like on a hanger. They made it all come alive.
Each of the pieces that The Gloss highlighted in their shoot with Tom is oversized, but there’s more to them than just that. The textures, colors, and patterns are all amazing and Tom wanted to bring those out but not in a way that would be overpowering or distracting. He struck that balance with light. Using mostly camera-mounted flash to help everything pop, he let it all unfold naturally. “The detail just jumps out at you,” Tom says. They jump out at you just like the photographs, balanced and beautiful.
Tom Corbett Scores One for the NFL
If you think of men in recliners with cans of beer when you think of the NFL, it’s time to get contemporary. American Football transcends gender, economic lines, and political partisanship. Any given night during the season millions of Americans tune in to watch their favorite teams compete, and in their latest campaign to show off the diversity of their official merchandise the NFL asked Tom Corbett to show the fresh faces of the fans. Everyone loves football, so the NFL could pick basically anyone they wanted to show off these new threads. They tapped supermodels and actresses Adrienne Bailon, Olivia Culpo, Erin Heatherton, and Keke Palmerto be the faces of this campaign. Each donned the new merch for their favorite teams proving that this game is for everyone.
With September quickly approaching, voracious readers are thumbing through the pages of powerful fashion magazines like Vogue and Glamour, looking to the editorial powerhouses to see what’s new and next and in style. In those pages they’ll find Tom’s campaign with the NFL. These are models and actresses that will be donning looks from some of the powerful fashion names int he world, making a very strong pitch to fans. It’s the perfect translation of high fashion to accessible products, bridging the gap between aspiration and the lives that these fans live. This campaign underlines that fans everywhere, no matter who they are, should be proud of what they love even if they don’t look like the stereotypical fan. It’s an important message.
To put together a lifestyle campaign this significant requires an incredible team, and Tom’s team was able to shoot it in just two days. With stylist Luis Rodriguez, prop stylist Tara Marino, hair by Bradley Irion, and makeup by Brian Duprey, Tom assembled his dream collaborators around himself to make sure it went off without a hitch. Talk about a touchdown.
Tom Corbett Turns Up the Heat
Summer officially starts this month, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait for the weather. Sweltering temperatures have already shown their head and the only escape is away from the sun. But what if that heat is exactly what you want? In Tom Corbett’s latest feature for Siempre Mujer, he wanted to create a series of images that showed off a collection of sensual swimwear that shines in the heat of the summer sun. But the sun is almost 100 million miles away, which makes for a creative collaborator that isn’t very accommodating, so they had to make the sun themselves. “We wanted to shoot a really graphic swimwear story and basically bring the beach inside,” Tom explains. “We got our huge tungsten light called a ‘10k Big Eye’ and played with that and just used that as the sun and experimented with different shapes.” They effectively brought the sun onto their set.
By using this massive piece of equipment Tom was able to get the exact look he was going for without playing servant to the elements. But the light is only half the battle. To really sell it Tom worked closely with his model; she’s the one under the oppressive gaze of the sun, after all. Tom worked with her to explore what summer heat means beyond just a bright light. “It's like a hot summer’s day and the sun is beating down on you, a sort of assaulting heat,” says Tom. “It’s about energy and angles and getting the right mood and again environment, and it’s about communication and communicating with the model.” Working together they found a way to show us what it's like to be in the height of summer and still be sexy as hell.
In many ways, summer offers a whole new lifestyle. With the heat comes more carefully chosen apparel, usually showing a little more skin. It’s sexy and sensuous, even if the heat and light can be a little rigorous. It’s all about creating a balance of emotion, style, and aesthetic balance; Tom kept that balance while turning up the heat.