Street Photography Interview: Tom Souzer @tomsouzer
Updated: Apr 9, 2019
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Now this interview has been planned for a while. With me being behind schedule and Tom a busy man it took a while to get round to this. Lo and behold we both finally got a chance with Tom answering a few questions about his street photography work. He's been a huge inspiration in my personal work and one of the friendliest dudes I've spoken to online. It was second nature that an interview should be on the cards.
Who are you, where you're from and what do you like about shooting in your city?
Hey, I’m Tom Souzer(@tomsouzer) and I’m from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and some things I enjoy about shooting in my city are the people, the architecture, and the size of the city. It has that small town feel in a city setting.
What made you pull the trigger on street photography and realise you wanted to give it a go?
Well..I moved down to Pittsburgh to be a bike courier and started shooting with my iPhone. I hadn’t used a camera since college and the phone was always with me so why not right? I didn’t even really know that street photography was a thing to be honest. I would shoot some photos of buildings, street performers, pigeons, etc...Eventually I ended up buying a used Fuji X100 about 3.5 - 4 years ago off of craigslist. I got bored pretty quickly of shooting buildings, landscapes, etc... They didn’t really give me the rush or emotion I was looking for in my photographs. I ended up watching the documentary everybody street and it just completely stoked me out. I remember making my girlfriend watch it and the whole time I was like “I gotta get out there and do this more!”. In my head the photographers in that film were like professional skateboarders to me. Like how far can I take this!? That led me to snagging a hamburger eyes book and the photographs just blew my mind. After that it was all over for me. I knew that I just wanted to wander the streets as much as possible with my camera and see what I could come up with.
How often are you shooting and what keeps you going out for more?
Man...when it’s warm I’m trying to get out everyday. Even if it’s just in between bus stops I usually have my camera with me. Once winter hits I’m mostly a weekend warrior because in the winter after 5 o’clock Pittsburgh is usually pretty empty. I try to get out for like an hour or two after work and 3-4 hours on Saturdays and Sundays when the weather gets right. Not knowing what kind of crazy shit I might walk into just around the corner keeps me wanting more.
Your shots shared from St Paddy's day were bangers! It seems to be massive in America. What's it like celebrations like on the streets of Pittsburgh?
Thanks man! Yeah it’s HUGE in Pittsburgh. It’s an all day party. It’s chaos, It’s the Mardi Gras of Pittsburgh. I think the parade is like 3 hours long so you get lots of time to make some pictures.
What does a day out shooting street photography look like for you? Where do you shoot, and what are you trying to capture in your frame?
I mainly shoot in and around Downtown Pittsburgh but I usually always have my camera with me. A usual day for me starts with a coffee and then I just start wandering and see where it takes me. There’s No real plan to be honest. I of course have some shots in the back of my head that I hope I see but otherwise I’m just enjoying the city and the people. What I’m usually looking for is some sort of emotion, craziness, weird and funny moments, or sky rats (pigeons) haha.
Usually your work is shot in black and white. 'Nearsighted' is shot in colour. What's the project about and what made you choose colour?
So nearsighted was the first series I had ever worked on. Initially I was just going out shooting portraits to get my feet wet and get used to photographing people. I felt like color just worked for that series. There was nothing taking away from the subject in the background. I shoot mainly black and white because I feel like color is distracting when I’m looking at my photos. Don’t get me wrong I love others color photographs but for my photos I feel like it doesn’t work. I think the fact that Pittsburgh is cloudy all the time has a lot to do with my shooting in black and white as well. I like the timeless look b&w gives and it’s also an way easy to print and make zines with at home. https://www.tomsouzer.com/paths-i-ve-crossed
7. What street photography tip would you over anyone interested in the sport?
Spend more time looking at photo books than Instagram. Learn your camera (you’ll miss fewer shots), get closer, and trust your gut
Instincts. I know that’s more than one tip but these are 4 tips that I think are really important to help you get the photo you want. Instagram is fantastic for sharing work and meeting people but holding a book in your hand and leafing through someone’s work is really inspiring.
8. Are you currently working on any projects? Where's best to keep up to date and see your work?
I’m always working on my main project and that’s just shooting photos downtown. I’m working on putting out a new zine eventually based on my last 4 years of photos. I’m also working on some themed zines but I’m nowhere close to being finished with those. If you want to take a look at more of my work you can check out my website at www.tomsouzer.com or my Instagram: @tomsouzer
Thanks for the interview man!
It's been an absolute pleasure to speak with Tom(@tomsouzer). See his projects available up at www.tomsouzer.com which are tremendous and head over to his Instagram profile @tomsouzer for your daily dose of Downtown Pittsburgh.
It'd be sick if you could share the post with like minded artists. Have you enjoyed the interview? Let us know whether it be in the comments, directly on Instagram (@jordanmurray96) or through my Contact Me page.
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