Hi Theo! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?
I'm an emerging photojournalist and documentary photographer originally from London but currently living in Medellín, Colombia. My degree was in Philosophy and I also have a background in men's fashion and tailoring. In terms of camera skills I am an autodidact and have been taking photos for about a year now. I also more recently studied photojournalism under the great Henry Agudelo for 3 months in order to help hone my reporting skills.
What's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?
If living in Colombia has taught me one thing it's that everyone has an almost unbelievable story about the violence that happened in their neighbourhood. Most notably I was speaking to a lady called Emerida while I was shooting a project about the effect the paramilitary wars has had on the neighbourhood. Emerida told me that 20 years ago she was asleep in her bed when her brother came into the house. He was hallucinating whilst high on drugs and attacked her with a machete. She somehow managed to fight him off and to escape and was rushed into hospital where she was a hair's breadth away from dying. Instead of feeling sorry for herself she fought to recover and now wakes up every morning, wraps a towel around her severed arm and lives everyday as if nothing had happened. Although she lives in constant pain and continually speaks of wishing to go to heaven she regales this story as if she was describing going to the shops to buy milk.
What do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?
My favourite has to be my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with the EF 24-105mm lens. It's certainly not a light set-up when I'm climbing up the sides of mountains at 30 degrees but it works beautifully in every situation I've ever found myself in.
What's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?
Be brave, be social and don't think twice about sticking your camera in someone's face. You'll never believe the things that people tell you if you ask the right questions in the right way. Surround yourself with like-minded creatives and always listen to advice from someone more experienced whether or not you're thinking of taking it. When I first started I took thousands of photos in a bid to discover my own style, to try and understand the sorts of photos that I liked to take, making mental notes as to the ones I liked and didn't. Over time I refined my technique and now I know how I want my photos to communicate to their audience. I know that's more than one but I think they're equally important!
What's the one thing you love most about Picfair?
For many years there was a snobbery involved in photography, whether that was magazine/newspaper editors holding the gate-keys to the industry, or even the photographers themselves in some cases. The emergence of the internet and social media has moved that aside and now photography is open to everyone with a camera or a smartphone. Picfair is the best case in point of this principle, creating a community where photography is an art form available to all. The fact that Picfair has a young enthusiastic team that want your photos to do well is just an added bonus!