John Tonks has recently released a new book called Empire, this body of work leads to environmental portraiture it is a combination of portrait and landscapes that tell a narrative.
Tonks has a BA in product design and an MA in photography. His first mission was a photo for West midlands newspaper, this was a baptism of fire and an intense learning environment.
Tonks wanted to do something very British, he looked territory away from the UK. He spent all of his money on a camera and a plane ticket to an island – the estension island, he shot it how he did the paper as it was a new place and new people. He was very interested in telling a story within this body of work. The contract only to live there, he found it very interesting about community – what makes a community if there isn’t a community? Tonks uses a camera with a waist viewfinder as this creates a connection as the sitter is less likely to know when a photograph is being taken, it is slower yet he found it more enjoyable.
His work explores various islands have a connection to the UK, it documents the people that live there in the lives they lead. This was very interesting and I was so wrapped up with the way he was discussing and talking about his work I didn’t take as many notes as I do would have liked or my notes that legible due to how quickly I was taking them, this is something I’m hoping to develop over time I am at university. It was clear how passionate Tonks is about his work this effected the way I have seen his work, I am more aware of how to present my work and how to look at other people’s work.