An Interview With: Tim Brown

Who are you and what do you do? 

Born and raised in Liverpool, now happily resident in Leeds after too long a spell in London. I am a final year BA Photography student at Huddersfield University and spending most of my time engaged in degree-related studies and projects. 

How did you get into what you do?

I have taken pictures for as long as I can remember, my first camera was a Kodak Box Brownie (I am a mature student!) and I still have those fuzzy black and white prints in an album. After working in varied and unrelated fields I decided to follow my desires and give photography my full attention.   

How do you work?

I work in urban, man-altered landscapes, city centres, suburbs and fringes, areas of decay and regeneration. 

My final year project is based around particular places, buildings designed for a common purpose and a period in history. These are buildings in Italy, predominantly on the coasts but also up in the mountains, designed as children's summer 'colonies'. Many date from the Fascist era and this is reflected in the architecture and their current abandonment. 

I am passionate about research and my projects involve more than taking pictures, I hunt out archive materials - old books, plans, magazine articles, memorabilia, postcards etc. For my current project I am also looking at regeneration plans, most of which either never got off the ground or stalled partway through due to lack of funds.   

How would you describe your work?

I strive to produce work that is different and this is a challenge with my current project as I think that old abandoned buildings have become something of a cliche as there are already so many similar photographs of the same places. 

I am experimenting with ways of breaking away from the norm. For instance considering these buildings as exhibition spaces where the 'exhibits' have to be sought out, masquerading as features such as fixtures and fittings, discarded items. I have combined images from past, present and architect's dreams of the future.  

What is your background?

Oil exploration geophysicist, scientific computer programmer, web developer, chemical engineering, database programmer, complementary therapist. 

My family background includes painters and crafts on my mother's side and print media on my father's (my grandfather owned a print works in Hull). 

Where does your inspiration come from?

All over the place but I keep coming back to a few of the 'greats' such as Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Veteran Italian photographer Guido Guidi is a current inspiration.  

Why photography?

Unlike the rest of my family, I have never taken to drawing or painting but I seem to have the same innate need to express myself visually. Photography allows me to do this.

What are you goals after University?

My dream would be an income, even if small from doing what I love. I am a fan of photobooks, galleries and exhibition spaces and any work in those areas would keep me happy.

Is there any specific equipment you use?

My work involves flying with 10kg cabin luggage restriction and a lot of walking so lightness is a priority. I use a mirrorless Sony Alpha A7r body which I love, it's small and light but with 36 megapixel full-frame sensor. I combine this with vintage manual lenses via adaptors. My current favourite is a silver-coloured 50mm Leica f2 Summicron. I invested in a lightweight 3 legged thing carbon fibre tripod.

I have a weakness for old analogue equipment and own a 35mm Minolta SLR with numerous lenses, medium format Mamiya 645, Yashica g124, Fujica GW960 (the 'Texas Leica').       

What's the best piece of advice you could give the readers of The Pupil Sphere?

Seek out informed feedback on your work, from lecturers, tutors and portfolio reviews.


All images copyright of Tim Brown

Daniel AinsworthComment