20 Cheeky Questions: Tom Blachford
Tom Blachford takes photos by the light of the full moon. He also hops aboard helicopters with his camera at the ready to capture what we otherwise might miss from below: the aerial figures of eight made by jet skis, the tiny white triangles of yachts in flight on the sea, swimmers in Speedos doing the Australian crawl up and down the length of bright blue public pools.
At The Planthunter we particularly love how Tom sees and represents our domestic landscapes uniquely. His stills of the yards and facades of modernist houses in Palm Springs at night sidestep the norm and place us in an ethereal zone, one which is part pre-historic, part celestial, part reflective. So this month, we’ve asked Tom 20 Cheeky Questions…
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your life with plants?
I’m a Melbourne-based interiors, architecture, travel and aerial photographer. I live in a townhouse in Yarraville with my fiancée Kate, our cattle dog cross named Indigo and as many plants as we can fit (I think we could probably fit some more though).
Can you also tell us a bit about two of your projects, Midnight Modern and your aerial series? Both seem to offer a different way for us to see, and respond to, our landscapes. We’re intrigued!
My mission as a photographer is really to show the world around me in a new light or from a new perspective. The aerial and Midnight Modern projects have been my most successful and rewarding results from exploring these themes.
Midnight Modern began one night after dinner in Palm Springs, on what happened to be a full moon. I was trying to capture something different to the multitude of photographers and tourists that visit there everyday. Two years later I have been back six times and now have a whole family of beautiful people over there that have made it our second home in the desert.
The aerial series started as a very kind birthday present from Kate. One hour in a helicopter. That first hour spawned the first industrial and summertime series that were so well received. We are now lucky to spend a few hours a year up in the air marvelling at everything 1000ft below.
What cheers you up?
Friends, great food, travel, mindless banter, terrible (or awesome) puns, room temperature cheese, taking great photos and my fiancée, who keeps me grounded and on course!
What is the habit you are proudest of breaking, or want to break?
No smartphones before bedtime. I know it sounds lame but in this day and age it seems it’s up there with the worst addictions people can have.
Have you ever been in love with two people at the same time?
Can’t say I ever had the pleasure/pain.
Name a skill you wish you had.
Woodworking. I have been threatening to do classes for a few years but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll probably be terrible at it.
What word do you use the most?
Something profane that probably shouldn’t be repeated – I swear like a sailor.
What are the two most played songs on your playlist?
Gwen McCrae – ‘Keep the Fire Burning’ and Frank Ocean – ‘Swim Good’.
If you had to make a garden with three plants, what would they be?
Ball cactus, yucca and rubber tree.
What makes somebody sexy?Confidence, humour and some great bedroom eyes.
What’s the first thing you notice when you meet a person?
Their sunglasses and their shoes. You can tell a lot about a person from their choice of shades/kicks.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Being crazy excited about Christmas. I got a remote control car once and I was pretty sure I was about to explode with happiness.
What qualities in people do you admire the most?
Persistance, positivity and creativity.
Who/what inspires you?
People who dedicate their life to making beautiful things and refuse to ever quit. We try and take inspiration from the widest sources we can possibly find!
What would you be doing in an alternate life or career?
I honestly have no idea. I was a terrible student on track to be a terrible employee, photography found me and saved me.
What’s your perfect three-course meal?
Something classic and Italian. Salumi platter, spaghetti vongole (with clams) and tiramisu.
What is special about where you live?
A village feel, great food and close to the city (Yarraville).
What’s your favourite kind of weather?
Right before a storm when the sky goes dark and wild.
What do you most want to change in the world?
That’s a tough one. Can I ask the genie for more wishes until I work it out?
How many people are you completely yourself with?
My fiancée and a few friends, otherwise I think we are all a little guarded in some way!
All images courtesy of Tom Blachford.