Me, Myself and I

Hi, I’m Tom Miles, and if you’re reading this, you’re either avoiding work in some way, or interested in what makes me tick as a photographer.  If it’s the former, shame on you, get back to work as soon as you’ve finished reading, and if it’s the latter, I hope this will be enlightening!

Like all photographers I started out as an amateur, in my case on a family holiday with a borrowed camera.  A couple of years later, I became addicted after spending two weeks on work experience at the photographic department of the local paper.  From there I built a darkroom in my parent’s outside toilet, and shot local bands, local businesses, and a whole host of other stuff, whilst also studying for a GCSE and A-level at night school.

In the mid-90s I studied for a degree in Photography at Blackpool College, and after more work experience, this time in London, I set my sights on moving down to the big smoke and working as a freelance.  From 1998 to 2001 I worked as an assistant for a variety of different photographers, before setting out to shoot my own work in 2001.

Over the next decade or so I worked primarily for a wide range of magazines, broadly within the world of sports and fitness - including Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Golf Monthly, Cyclist, Maxim, Forever Sports and dozens of others.  I’ve shot more than 100 magazine covers, and been lucky enough to travel all over the world on shoots. I’ve photographed celebrities, athletes, politicians, authors, business leaders, as well as hundreds of less well known but often more interesting people! 

The nature of working editorially, with it’s tight deadlines and budget has lead to me developing highly tuned problem solving skills.  There are very few photographic circumstances I’ve not encountered at some point in my career, not all of which I’m keen to repeat! I’ve run shoots with massive crews and huge overheads, worked on feature film sets and underwater, but also done my fair share of work with nothing more than one camera, one lens, and daylight.

As the editorial world has ebbed away in recent years I’ve shifted to more commercial work.  The scale of the work is different to editorial, but the problems are generally the same. There may be slightly more money and time to operate with, but locations, personnel, equipment, and the weather still offer the same challenges.  I also run courses for Nikon, and lecture regularly at universities across the country.

After more than 20 years in the industry, I’m still enthusiastic about photography.  There’s nothing else that offers the same opportunities for creativity, adventure, and collaborations with amazing and interesting people.  I’m happy to report that I still have “pinch me” moments, when I stop and realise this is actually my job. Somewhere inside my middle-aged frame is an excited 16 year old who’s still blown away by the magic of his first print appearing in the developer.

When I’m not shooting I prefer to be outdoors - on my bike, hiking up big things, camping out and exploring generally.  I’m also blissfully happy curled up with a good book and a decent single malt. The easiest way to get in touch with me is probably email, or you can call me on +44 (0)7770 787 249, or of course use any of the various social media where you’ll find me as Photosmudger.

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