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Tony Mott

CCP asks Tony Mott the deep questions about his craft

1. What gets you out of bed every day?

My 12 year old twins Harvey and Lucy Mott. Lucy is an early riser and likes to ask me some question when I’m still asleep!!!

2. Who is the photographer that has inspired you the most?

 Quite a few. Pennie Smith (NME photographer during the punk years it would be fair to say Anton Corbin would have liked her too),  Wendy McDougall is an inspiration, always brilliant, and Bob King in my early days.

3. What current camera are you shooting with? 

Nikon F5 

4. When you are on a shoot do you play music? What other essential items do you have with you for a successful session? 

Sometimes music depends always on who I’m photographing. I think a sit down  cuppa and a chat in advance is always advisable so you’re not a complete stranger before taking photographs. I tend to chat a lot !!

5. In the digital world how important is the print?

I spend an awful amount of time attempting to make the j-peg look like it was shot on film before printing

6. B/W - Colour - Analogue - Digital. 

    Put these words in your order of preference and tell us why.

I still love Black and white film and the grain and while I except that photoshop and other apps are catching up I still love the black and white film portrait. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital world and it’s taken a while, but the advantages are obvious. The first time I shot a concert digitally I got a sense of cheating. I couldn’t believe how easier than film it was. Spent decades complaining and blaming the lights for bad results, but that’s gone out of the window. I have no one to blame for failure now except myself. Digital is fantastic but I still prefer film and have a preference for black and white.

7. Have you exhibited your work, and other than the print, how important was the framing process to you?

Have had a few exhibitions over the years and I can safely say I cannot remember the frames!!! Framing is an essential of course but I rarely think about it.

8. What defines a great image?

Wow that’s hard to answer, but sometimes you turn a page and go wow. That’s the sign of a great image. It’s a combination of the subject matter and the way in which it’s taken.

9. What is your favourite photo that you have taken? Why?

Another difficult question and having thought about it for a while I cannot answer with a single image. I have half a dozen that I love. I recently went to Spiti Valley in the Himalayas and took a shot of the Key Monastery that is my current favourite but that’s because I just took it. I will judge it in a couple of years whether it’s still a favourite. Of my music photos, is Johnny Rotten with a fluro halo springs to mind. It was taken in the days of film also before barriers so I was amongst hundreds of punks pogoing around me and the light from the halo was difficult to judge so that’s why it’s my favourite.

10. What is the best photography advice you have been given? Tell us by who if you can or want to?

Never stop learning. That’s the beauty of photography, you never stop learning. Best advise is always believe in yourself.

11. When you are not taking photos, what are you doing?

Looking after 12 year old twins and reading books  

Tony Mott - October 2023

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