Thomas Dodd is a visual artist and photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia who has developed a style that he calls "painterly photo montage" - a method he employs during principal photography and in editing software with which he crafts elaborately textured pieces that have a very organic and decidedly non-digital look to them.
His work often has mythic and quasi-religious themes that pay homage to Old Master art traditions while at the same time drawing from psychological archetypes that evoke a strong emotional response from the viewer.
Although his artwork resembles paintings, his pieces are entirely photographic in nature, fusing many images into a cohesive whole. His larger works are often presented in a mixed media form that adds a depth and texture that complements the photography beautifully.
Thomas has had numerous exhibitions of his works in many cities in the USA and around the world. He has had recent shows in New York City, Paris, Mexico City, New Orleans, Tokyo, San Antonio, Seattle, and in his hometown of Atlanta.
Dodd's photographs have been featured in many magazines, on book and album covers and he frequently teaches workshops and webinars on photo-editing and marketing for artists.
Thomas began his career as a visual artist in 2005. Before that, he was best known as the harpist and songwriter for the 1990s musical group Trio Nocturna, a Celtic Gothic ensemble that put out three critically-acclaimed albums ("Morphia", "Tears of Light" and "Songs of the Celtic Night") and performed at author Anne Rice's annual Halloween balls in New Orleans, as well as spawning an offshoot band called the Changelings. Thomas also played harp on two albums by Michael Gira (the driving force behind the influential post-punk band the Swans): "the Body Lovers" and the Angels of Light "New Mother".
The images that Thomas creates are basically a visual equivalent of the music he composed in the 1990s. Mythic themes and their relation to emotions and psychological states continue to be his primary subjects and motivations.
Interview with Thomas Dodd
All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
There was a period in my early teens where I was inspired by seeing a gallery show of Ansel Adams’ work, and for a short time thereafter I was compelled to study black and white film photography (of course, digital did not exist back then in the 1970s), but that inspiration quickly was replaced by the kick in the ass I received when I heard the Sex Pistols (in 1977) which made me run out and get a guitar so I could take out my teen angst upon the (non-listening) world!
AAP: Where did you study photography? With whom?
My father taught me the basics of the camera back in the 1970s. I also took a darkroom course in high school. My reemergence as a photographer in 2006 (after a 25 year musical career playing the Celtic harp) was basically a self-taught one with quite a few online tutorials along the way!
AAP: Do you have a mentor?
My father was a great influence on me- both as a photographer and a human being.
AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
Since 2006. My brief dabbling in photography in the 70s barely counts!
AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
My first real photoshoot was of my friend (and first Muse) Halley
dressed in a beautiful Rococo-themed dress she made. We wandered through the streets of downtown Decatur Ga. at around midnight searching for street light to shoot in.
AAP: What or who inspires you?
Beauty inspires me. Great painters inspire me. An artistic or chameleonesque model inspires me...
AAP: How could you describe your style?
“Painterly” photo montage with an artistic approach
AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
My favorite photo is always the one I am currently working on!
AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
I really am not one of those photographers who likes to talk about gear because I think the most important tool that an artist possesses is their imagination... but I shoot with a Sony A57 using a 18-70mm lens.
AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
I seem to spend ALL my time editing photos - What purpose? Self expression and sometimes' client satisfaction!
AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
Jan Saudek - for the way he created such boldly erotic personal imagery while hiding from a repressive Communist regime... He also used texture and color in a very painterly way which has influenced me a great deal.
AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
Don't be in a hurry to "succeed", and shun advice like "Fake it ‘til you make it". It takes TIME and PATIENCE to develop your own style. Always follow your own voice and don't be swayed by what is currently popular, and don't forget to ENJOY it - this is not supposed to feel like work!
AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
Becoming an imitation or a copy of another photographer. Being in a hurry to get published or displayed in galleries is another common mistake. Take the time and develop your craft for a few years before you start thinking about sharing it with the world!
AAP: Any quotes you would like to share?
"I am steadily surprised that there are so many photographers that reject manipulating reality, as if that was wrong. Change reality! If you don't find it, invent it!" - Pete Turner
AAP: What current projects are you working on?
Nothing I can tell you about, but I will drop a hint and say it involves shattering some commonly held preconceptions about a "marginalized" segment of society.
AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
There have been so many, it's hard to choose an absolute best but I will say my first solo show, my first print sale and my first publication were all high points!
AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
My broken D50 which gasped it’s last breath 5 clicks into a nude shoot! Or maybe the memory card and external hard drive that I irretrievably lost data from. Here is some more good advice - ALWAYS use an online backup in addition to discs and hard drives!
AAP:The compliment that touched you most?
When my 92 year old Mother came to my first big gallery show in Atlanta (featuring some very large nude images) and said she was proud of me...
AAP: Your favorite photo book?
Bob Carlos Clarke's "The Dark Summer" and Helmut Newton's "White Women".
AAP: An anecdote?
I long ago learned as a model photographer that the crucial things to pack in your camera bag are not extra lenses, filters and light meters, They are instead bobby pins, safety pins, hair ties, insect repellent and sun block. Oh yeah, and a few model releases too!
AAP: Anything else you would like to share?
Please feel free to "like" my Facebook page
and introduce yourself.