Camera: Canon & Hasseblad
Photographer: Paolo Roversi
Book: Siddharta By Herman Hesse
Visionary image-maker TOMAAS creates cinematic, surreal, yet realistic fashion and beauty imagery. His edgy signature style is vibrant, dramatic and subtle. TOMAAS’ work exemplifies a unique photographic experience where subject matter, atmosphere and environment coalesce into a single narrative that reveals its own story. In contrast to more traditional photographic works where art often imitates life, his images compellingly reveal themselves in a manner that resembles cinematic images in real time. All details are equally essential. TOMAAS’ precise vision illuminates a complete concept that creates a bold and indelible impression. His work has been and continues to be shown in an ever expanding number of international publications and New York galleries.
What is your typical camera setup on a shoot?I can’t say I have a typical set up when I am shooting as every concept might require a different technique or mood. I think this is the fun part about photography that you can always evolve and reach out to different techniques and equipment. Right now I am expanding my knowledge of cinematic lighting and hope to be able to integrate it more into my future work.
-How did you start out professionally in photography?I think I knew since I was a kid that I wanted to be a photographer but diverted from that idea for many years. There was even a time where I did not own a camera and stopped taken images completely.
After some extended travels through several countries, and, particularly, Vietnam, I began getting excited again about taking photographs. Every morning during my travels, I experienced great joy to get out of bed and start discovering the country and it’s culture through the lens of my camera. After my experience with photography during my travels, I somehow knew photography had to play a more important role in my life, preferably as a career. I decided to focus on it full time and the rest is history.
-What is your philosophy in regard to how you approach your photography?I believe as people we are always changing and seeing things just a little bit different as the experiences and relationships of life shape our perspective. The key is to learn to trust your instincts. I consider myself a more intuitive photographer and sometimes I wish I could explain why I choose a certain angle. Often it is just there like a magic moment that I assume everybody else would see as well.
It’s important to understand the rules within photography (like composition or lighting) so that you know how you can break them and be original. Last I would say curiosity and awareness of your surroundings will keep stimulating your senses.
My style has often been described as edgy, vibrant, and dramatic, yet, at the same time, subtle. I would also elaborate further by saying that my style reflects my adventurous nature to constantly push forward by challenging myself with new ideas and concepts and not being afraid to leave behind ideas from the past, no matter how successful.
Your portfolio is broken up into categories. How would you describe the difference between “editorial” and “beauty” photography?When I started out most of my editorial work has been shot on location. The location often was the inspiration for the shoot and I build the story simply around it. This shifted later on as I started to shoot very conceptual beauty ideas, which you will find in my beauty section.
-What is your post-production workflow like?I start with selecting images in Adobe Bridge and then my retoucher works on the skin in Photoshop. After that I add the mood and colors in Photoshop myself.
-What is your dream project?I love traveling and I am curious to see that once I have the capability to incorporate the visual treats this globe has to offer into my fashion work what the outcome could be.
-You have been published in numerous magazines all over the world. Which one are you most proud of?I am not sure if I have one that I am most proud of. There are a few stories I am extremely pleased with and those are the ones that I am presenting multiple themes and statements within a single image or series of images. The best example is my “Plastic Fantastic” series where we used plastic as the main prop.
I wanted to emphasize the design and design choices behind such man-made products. I also wanted to show how such design and design choices reveal themselves when presented in a different context. Presenting such mad-made objects in a complex way in "Plastic Fantastic," for example, forces the viewer to stop and look at such objects in a different way. Decades ago, pop artists such as Andy Warhol took every day objects and images and presented them in way that pushed people to see "art" and "beauty" in the design of every day objects. It is my hope that my work accomplishes the same goal and redeems man-made objects that may be thought of as wasteful and environmentally unfriendly in a more hopeful and positive way, even if just for a moment.