Thomas Giddings, the Photographer Capturing the Beauty of the Human Spirit

Thomas Giddings, the Photographer Capturing the Beauty of the Human Spirit

The globetrotting photographer reveals his inspiration behind the captivating book.

The globetrotting photographer reveals his inspiration behind the captivating book.

Text: Danielle Combs

Photography in its purest form has the ability to transcend a particular time, place or subject matter and capture the humanity of the moment. Each image snapped by Thomas Giddings, a photographer based in New York, possesses a profound sense of beauty and humanity that poetically displays his distinct vision.

In Giddings's latest book I Will Make A Way, he takes on the task of documenting his subject matter’s raw and meaningful human emotions in the surreal images that make up the book. In an exclusive interview, Giddings sits down with V to discuss his life long passion with photography and his experience traveling across the globe.

You’ve traveled all over the world—what have been your favorite places so far and how has that impacted you and your photography?

India, which obviously is featured pretty heavily in the book, is a big inspiration for me. I have an uncle who spent half his life living, and when I went to visit him on an ashram there,  I ended up meeting these motorcycle guides. They taught me to ride and I ended up on a thousand mile trip around Southern India. I think I had a very preconceived idea of what India might be, but actually I had a really positive experience. The people are so friendly, proud, I found it to be a very visually exciting place that really informed my image making and this project

How has traveling across the world opened your eyes to new cultures and people?

It’s always interesting to go somewhere, and so often when you travel, you go to places that are so unfamiliar that it forces you look at things differently and then also when you return to your regular life, you kind of also get to see your everyday surroundings through a new eye.

Your photography is extremely poetic and beautiful. It shows the intricacies and layers that make up a single person. What is your process like when capturing a subject and how do you decide on when and where to shoot?

It’s really about observing. It’s about capturing moments, like unseen kind of everyday moments, little movements, objects that people might well walk past and never notice, and seeing the beauty in those moments.

You shot over a period of five years, was this a topic that you had come up with before you started shooting? How did you decide on that?

I was in India at the beginning of this year and that’s kind of how the title of the book came about. It was all post-election, post-Brexit (I’m English...) so it was a funny time all around and then this car pulled up that had “I will make a way” painted on it and I just thought it was so uplifting, especially in a time when people were really struggling trying to find positivity. When I came back to New York and I read this piece about this marching band in Alabama that had been invited to play at the inauguration and had accepted and had started a GoFundMe to hire coaches to get to D.C., and it went viral, raising $675,000. I went down to photograph them and their spirit reminded me of people I had come across in India, and in turn this reminded me of an older project I had been working on about a stuntman in London. Somehow this idea of rehearsal, struggle, goals, achievements, all that kind of tied together and I wanted to weave these narratives into one project.


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