Island Life: Photographs from the Martin Parr Foundation

Tom Wood

Born 1951, County Mayo, Ireland.

‘I’d always make a print for anyone who wanted one, and I had a big cardboard box on my door so anyone could come and, if they saw their picture or they saw their friends, they could take it from the box. I did that up until the day I left the place.’

Wood studied fine art at Leicester Polytechnic but taught himself photography and takes pictures every day. He lived in Merseyside from 1975 – 2003 where he photographed shoppers at Great Homer Street market, football fans, people on buses and in night clubs, most notably the Chelsea Reach in New Brighton where he shot Looking for Love between 1984-87.  Wood’s style is eclectic, switching between colour and black-and-white, with economising resource (like using out-of-date film stock) feeding into his aesthetic:

‘Where we’re stood, we’re just a little bit away from all that but, remember, it is really dark, lit by 20-watt bulbs on those lamps above. So it’s great what the flash has picked up – the red shoes, the green wall, the people talking at the back of the queue, and so on. All of that was blind to me, really. I saw hardly any of it as I took the picture. ‘