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.”