160 - Tom Wood


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Tom Wood was born in 1951 in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. He trained as a conceptual painter at Leicester Polytechnic from 1973 to 1976. Extensive viewing of experimental films led him to photography, in which he is self-taught. Between 1978 and 2003 Tom lived in New Brighton, Merseyside, where much of his most famous and celebrated work was produced. He left Merseyside in 2003 for North Wales where he still lives today.

Tom has published numerous books, including Looking for Love (1989), All Zones Off Peak (1998), Photie Man (2005) and Men / Women (2013). His work has been included in many group exhibitions, has been the subject of solo exhibitions at ICP, New York; Recontres d’Arles, France; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; MoMA, Oxford; FOAM, Amsterdam, The Photographers’ Gallery, London and the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford amongst others, and is held in the collections of major international museums. He has also worked with video on a daily basis since 1988, accumulating hundreds of hours of footage of family life. More recently he published Women’s Market with Stanley Barker, 101 Pictures, with RRB books and has another book of Irish Work soon to be released also by RRB.

Tom’s first major British show, Men and Women, was at The Photographers' Gallery in London in 2012. His first full UK retrospective was at the National Media Museum in Bradford in 2013 and his landscape photographs were exhibited for the first time in 2014.

On episode 160, Tom discusses, among other things:

  • Presenting people in the right light
  • His first move to New Brighton
  • Making notes from physist Richard Feynmann and James Joyce
  • The ‘accessibility’ of his work
  • His forthcoming book of Irish work
  • His first camera
  • Buying magazines and postcards from charity shops
  • The influence of found photos
  • The DPA work
  • Working in the chaos
  • Having the support of Martin Parr
  • The importance of his enduring collaboration with Padraig Timoney
  • Making the work out of love and not wanting to seem ‘professional’
  • ‘Not Miss New Brighton’
  • Having hundreds of hours of video
  • The influence of underground film
  • The Termini book
  • Dog pictures


Website (in progress) | Instagram | Forthcoming book: ‘Irish Work’

“My way of keeping it as creative as I could was to keep that many balls in the air. So nothing is cut and dried and there’s a kind of chaos, and that’s where I thought the good stuff would come, when I wasn’t self-conscious at all.”

172 episodes