ART: INTERVIEW WITH THOMAS G. ANDERSON
For a photographer who’s work strikes fear in many, Thomas G. Anderson couldn’t be a nicer guy. A new father (Congratulations!), Thomas G. Anderson’s work has graced the cover art for a HUGE band, and ranks up there with heavy hitters like Joshua Hoffine for fine art horror photography. FEAR FOREVER got a chance to chat with Thomas G. Anderson about his inspirations, process and his thoughts on the future of his dark artistic medium.
FEAR FOREVER (FF): Who are you?
THOMAS G. ANDERSON (TGA): I’m a 34 year old hard working photographer, father and passionate artist, among many other trades. I also aspire to direct/produce my own horror films. I believe I’ve always had the eye to capture moments in time. More so to take any given set/scene and add my eerie twisted imagination into it, making it look like it’s straight from a horror film.
FF: What were your artistic inspirations growing up?
TGA: My inspirations growing up would have to be the weekend trips to the VHS rental stores. My mom, being my number one fan/supporter from day one, would take us to rent a few video tapes and I’m sure you all know what section I ran for, the HORROR section! I fell in love with observing the covers and wondering where this movie would take my emotions. The fear truly was a rush, even if nightmares were to follow. I loved horror films. Not to mention the killer 80s soundtracks!
FF: How did you first get into photography?
TGA: I first got into photography by filming and photographing my friends skateboarding. I learned Photoshop CS1 in high school and from there just loved looking through that lens. My first photoshoot originated from Myspace and I was self employed capturing all the special moments that life offers for clientele.
FF: Your website it called DARK ART. What made you decide to make your professional focus horror photography?
TGA: This is a very good question and many, I mean many, have doubted me for this decision. Judged, put down or just assumed me to be abnormal from many. I chose this path because it called me. It’s my passion. It’s what I love to do and I truly feel I’m damn good at it. Those whom doubted me only fueled my twisted fire. I love to create concepts that fuel others imaginations. Make them wonder. How? Perhaps let a single still tell an entire story. Spark a previous nightmare. Bring out the FEAR that all try to hide and stay clear from to remain….”NORMAL”.
FF: Your aesthetic is highly stylized. Can you walk us through your creative process from concept to print?
TGA: It all begins with a vision. I feel this may be what sets me apart from many other still photographers. My mind visualizes scenes. As if on a film set. Even when the idea crosses the phase of capturing, when looking through my view finder I act as if I’m framing the scene before saying…..ACTION!
FF: What is your favorite photographic equipment (example: lenses, camera, lights, print paper etc.)
TGA: I have to say my favorite photographic equipment would be prime lenses. That along with LED lighting/even flashlights. May shock many but I have not been fortunate enough to invest in top quality gear. No off camera flash/strobes. Just recently got my first full frame dslr. Nikon shooter here! I simply love using low lighting situations. Depth of field and quick lenses.
FF: What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome to continue to make a career out of your art?
TGA: I believe my biggest challenge, one in which is currently on going, is balancing life/priorities aside my “dream”. Being a father, partner, employee at a 9-5 and then throw in an artist can be beyond overwhelming. I’ve wanted to hang it up numerous times. To fit in. To be “normal” but I simply can’t. Like the bamboo tree, at times it takes watering the seed for over 5 years before even sprouting through the soil. Many don’t understand my drive. But if I can focus on the end of this challenge, it will only increase my victory!
FF: One of your photos was used as cover art for the band ASKING ALEXANDRIA. How did that come about?
TGA: Crazy story! I was working at the BLUE & GRAY BAR & GRILL in Gettysburg, PA and I get an email asking about a specific image that a band loves and wants to use for a cover album. I email back “Sick man! and would love to hear your bands creations”. Not even noticing who sent this email, got a response back asking if I heard of the band ASKING ALEXANDRIA!!?? Then it all hit me. SUMERIAN RECORDS just asked to use my art for the new ASKING ALEXANDRIA album THE BLACK. They found me on Instagram! From there I ended up providing all images within that album and many, many new fans to follow!
FF: Do you think that things like Instagram, Instagram/Snapchat filters and smartphone digital technology is bad for the art of photography and for the photography profession?
TGA: I truly do not. I feel we all are photographers. Artists. Children. In which many forget how important art truly is. Keeping that kid alive within the soul. These devices and platforms increase the spark. It may conflict in some aspects but to me it’s the eye. The artist and no matter how it’s produced…..It’s theirs for all to observe!
FF: The traditional method of creating photographic prints is not only labor intensive but is also dangerous for your health and the environment as there are many chemicals involved in the process. Do you think hat with the advancements in digital photographic technology that digital can completely replace the traditional method without compromising the quality of your work?
TGA: I honestly have never wandered into the traditional methods of printing. I have within a classroom. But, I’m basically self taught digitally. From what I’ve read and gathered there are some very neat tricks developing your own film that many even try to recreate with filters/overlays these days. Will it replace, perhaps, but never be forgotten. Look at vinyls. Past seems to repeat itself.
FF: Would you ever think of trading in your still camera for a video one and doing a film?
TGA: HELL YES!!! That’s my ultimate goal! To film/direct horror films! I Can’t wait to pluck the viewers emotional strings!
FF: What advice/tips do you have for professional photographers in the making?
TGA: My best advice to all photographers out there would be to never let doubt or outside criticism dampen your views. Let it build you up. Learn more. Test yourself. Grow and never get comfortable. Trial and error. Also, it’s not the gear you have, it’s your vision that matters!
FF: What is next for you?
TGA: Next I am focusing on filming. Yes I will still be capturing and creating still imagery, but currently I am writing and learning screenplay techniques. With that, I am also learning in camera settings and editing to help move my mind into multiple frames. I truly believe it to be my calling and can’t fathom what stories I could tell versus a single frame! I am connecting and pushing to network my foot into the horror film industries doors!
FF: Is there anything else you want readers to know about yourself, your work or your future projects?
TGA: Many see me as quiet, very humble. I listen. I observe. We all have a dream. We all want more. We all must listen….and I hope all of you listen to these words. Never Give Up!!! Fight for YOU! THANK YOU 🙂