Tom Hussey Photography: Carefully Crafted Stories

Tom Hussey is in the business of making photographs for advertising. Those photographs tell carefully crafted stories designed to elicit the emotional response necessary to compel people to purchase a specific product or service. Sometimes we need photography to create a complex interplay between reality and illusion. Welcome to Tom Hussey’s world. A world of many brands, and many audiences. A world involving much production needs. From location scouting, casting, styling, animation and photo retouching to lifestyle, portraits and kids shots. A world located, in reality, in Dallas, Texas. But a world that knows no boundaries. Tom Hussey is represented by Michael Ginsburg, 212.369.3594 and in Texas he is represented by Patty Hudson, 214.668.2068. It was a pleasure for us to take an interview with Tom Hussey who shared some interesting facts of his biography. We wish you a pleasant reading of Tom Hussey success story and viewing of his gorgeous photography.

Tom Hussey Photography

AP: Tom, it’s good to see you here and we hope you will enjoy the questions we’ve prepared for you. Could you please tell me what got you started?

Tom: My passion for photography began in the early 70’s when my Dad got a new ‘expensive’ SLR camera. I asked to take a picture and much to my mother’s horror was handed the camera. I put the camera down briefly but was never far away from it. I have taught photography on the college level and worked in the Conservation Laboratory at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.

In the course of a diverse 20-year career in commercial advertising photography, I have established a successful advertising studio. Respected industry wide for my lifestyle photography and admired for my lighting techniques, I have worked on local, national and international campaigns. Based in Dallas, Texas, Tom Hussey Photography, LLC is a full production photography studio.

AP: What an amazing start! Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?

Tom: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production from Southern Methodist University (SMU), and a Master’s degree in Museum Practices and Conservation from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). I wish I knew I wanted to be an advertising photographer from an early age. I spent a lot of time in Graduate school so I could teach photography at the college level — which I did. During that time, I discovered the advertising side of photography and haven’t looked back.

Tom Hussey Photography

AP: What genre are your photos?

Tom: I am in the business of making photographs for advertising. Primarily, I photograph people. I am fascinated by people…the uniqueness of each person…getting to know a little bit about the person as they reside in front of my lens. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn a little bit about a lot of people and a lot of the stories that make them unique.

AP: And how would you describe your pictures?

Tom: I think my style is based on the emotion of the shoot. I am a people photographer and I love interacting with people in front of my camera. I really like putting a style into a project whether it’s an advertising project with a very tight layout or a portfolio test that is all up to me. It is all about the emotion and the light.

AP: Yeah, your pictures are full of emotions and beauty. What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take your pictures?

Tom: I primarily use Nikon cameras and lenses. The sensors Nikon is using are amazing and Nikkor lens quality is legendary. I also occasionally shoot with Hasselblad cameras and PhaseOne backs when a larger file size is required. That need is rare now that I am using the new Nikon D800 camera.

Tom Hussey Photography

AP: Do you have a dream project? What is it?

Tom: The next creative, fun, and challenging advertising project.

AP: Tom, what is your most reliable source of inspiration?

Tom: Working in advertising is most often a creative collaboration. Creative ideas come from all kinds of places. There are so many ways to see and interpret light.

When I am stuck for inspiration, I always go back to looking at light. It’s what we use to make photographs. It’s rarely the same, and it can be interpreted in limitless ways. It is truly magical.

Eastman Kodak’s instructions included with the Box Brownie camera said, ‘put the sun to your back, push the button, and we do the rest.’ Light is a photographer’s paint. As a photographer you are capturing light. It is important to see where the light is and see how you want to use it. You can follow the instructions that come with the camera but I think it is more fun to shoot into the sun and let the light flare. Let it come in hard from the side. You will be amazed at how the shadows play a part in your photograph.

Tom Hussey Photography

Indoors, artificial lighting allows you to use more than one light source. When you start working with studio lighting, try to mimic natural lighting. Once you feel comfortable with that, break away from it. You will begin to expand from what is natural and make the changes based on logic. For every light that you add, you not only introduce a highlight, but also a shadow. Be aware of that. Brightening up a spot may not be solving a problem but adding a problem. Look at the light. Does it make sense?

The big thing that keeps me interested in making photographs is the amazing ability to permanently fix an image, made purely with light, for others to experience. I think it is important that photographers at all levels look…really look…at light. Notice how it defines objects, buildings, people, everything. Use light and use it in ways that are not necessarily expected. Photographers get caught up in the technical aspects of photography and forget about their medium — light.

“Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper. The photographer begins with the finished product.” Edward Steichen

Tom Hussey Photography

AP: Thank you for such detailed explanation. Do you have any formula for success in your activity?

Tom: Failure means something different to everyone. I think an important way to learn creatively is to push yourself to the point where you fail so you learn to create in new and better ways.

AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?

Tom: My producer, Patty Hudson. She is amazing. Very buttoned up and fabulously creative. We work seamlessly together.

Tom Hussey Photography

AP: Tom, could you please give any piece of advice for those who try to discover their talent and cultivate it?

Tom: WORK. Once you’re done with that WORK some more.

The big thing that keeps me interested in making photographs is the amazing ability to permanently fix an image, made purely with light, for others to experience. I think it is important that photographers at all levels look…really look…at light. Notice how it defines objects, buildings, people, everything. Use light and use it in ways that are not necessarily expected. Photographers get caught up in the technical aspects of photography and forget about their medium — light.

Tom, thank you very much for sharing such deep and interesting thoughts about photography. We are more than happy to share it with our readers too. We would like to wish you continued inspiration, success and to take many other more emotional and beautiful pictures. To learn more about Tom Hussey photography, please visit his personal website. If you have any comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Tom Hussey Photography

Tom Hussey Photography

Tom Hussey Photography

Tom Hussey Photography

Tom Hussey Photography

Tom Hussey Photography

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