Over the past 7 months I have had the privilege to get to know and work with Thomas Gaffney on a lot of various articles for Pinkbike. In the short time that I have gotten to know Tom, his work has gone from pretty good to just amazing!It is my pleasure to introduce to you all to Thomas GaffneyHey Tom - Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Thomas Gaffney, I'm 20 years old and a photographer currently living in Staffordshire. When did you start getting into photography and how did your passion begin behind the lens?
I kind of fell into photography about 2 years ago after going to college to study Art & Design and after this it was photography all the way! I have always liked creating images and hopefully doing this will become my work.
One of Tom first shots, Adam Halling
You did your first pro shoot this year with Sam Pilgrim, Blake Samson and Sam Reynolds - what was that like?
One of Tom first shots
It was completely epic, to be very honest I was nervous as I have only ever covered downhill racing before. This was a great challenge though and after hating my first hour and a half’s work it slowly started to pull together and I even ended up with a published image in MBUK, which was a great experience.
Sam Pilgrim going upside down into Corby's Foam pit - also landed him in MBUK!
With yourself being a downhill rider do you find other cycling boring to photograph?
Having fun with the people involved!
Not at all, at first I was only into downhill, but my horizons are broader now! I enjoy every aspect of the sport now even if I’m useless at actually doing it, just gives you more respect for the people absolutely killing it in their discipline.
What camera setup are you currently using?
Tom loves to ride too!
From January I have been using my Canon 5Dmk2, hands down the best money I have ever spent! Before that I had a 400D for about 2 years. The flashes I use are all borrowed and my syncs for the flashes where all about £20 off Ebay! But if it ain't broke don't fix it! Also got two borrowed tripods which are slowly falling apart. We know you love to shred as well as photograph - describe your dream ride and dream photo shoot?
Canada. It's my biggest dream to go there, I think it would be for anyone, just the trees and how everything is sculpted is so supreme. Another dream is to train as a bike coach so I can go and work over there in the summers and hone my photography in the spare time. Who to photograph there though would be a tough choice, just someone with bags of style such as Vanderham, Gracia, Hill, Fairclough and Steve Romaniuk got me into riding, so no doubt him as well.Which Photographers inspire you most and why?
I have always looked at Sterling Lorence's work and loved it. Just beautiful settings and he uses natural light really well too. One year for my birthday my partner did a drawing of one of his images and it was amazing.What do you prefer to shoot more than anything else?
Downhill. Simply, I just love trying to find angles other photographers aren't, love watching people at such high speed and it's the most scary one to watch. It's not until you get off the bike and watch that you think, "am I really going that fast?"!What's the most challenging factor to overcome in UK photography?
Exposure! Pricing and exposure. If it wasn't for John Lee I would probably have stayed in the shadows forever, but with this help I have got onto the front page numerous amounts of times and got my first POD and everything, so thanks for that. It's still really hard trying to get in with the big companies, just got to keep plugging. Is it a challenge to keep cycling photography fresh and original with so many talented guys out there doing it already?
Definitely, like I say I try and find different angles and stuff, but then I log on to here and my confidence is blown by so many people doing it and all to an immense standard. But I think riding really helps with creating angles because you stop and think, "a picture from there would look good." Worst feeling is seeing something epic and not having your camera.
What was it like meeting your hero Steve Peat for a very quick shoot?
Blake Samson at Chicksands
It was awesome! I met him briefly at Bala NPS in '08 when I just started to get into photography and riding. Again it's weird as at first you are a bit star struck (Although I wasn't the worst!) but after talking for a bit it's all just like talking to a mate down the local woods, shame we didn't get more time.
Catching Steve chilling out
You're covering most UK national races, Pearce rounds and other bike events - if people are wanting to get some pictures off you how do they do that?
XC training with Steve Peat
Just keep posted on my race flickr for a few preview images and then take down my e-mail, send me the race number and what bike/attire you had on and that's it. I don't charge much and hope to get a different style of image at each round.
Anyone you want to say thanks to?
Gee Atherton at Rheola
First of all is my partner Steph, she's been amazing straight up and supported me and missed times seeing me and not grumbled once, even enjoys coming to watch every now and again! She's always picked me up when I have hated my images and just been the best. Thank you.
Also John Lee! As without him I wouldn't be known to anybody, wouldn't have had the privilege to work with such talented people and wouldn't be doing this interview today! So cheers pal! As ever it's much appreciated!
And also just everyone I ride with and that's pushed up the hill countless times just to come down for a snap!