Theo Acworth picked up a camera to document his friends having fun skating and snowboarding, but soon found himself hooked on the satisfying clunk of mechanical cameras. His photos projects such as ‘Riding Bikes Into Hedges’ reflect his surreal sense of humour.
When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I started taking photographs when I was about 15 I think. I was using a digital camera to shoot skating and mountainboarding clips, and ended up enjoying taking photographs as much as video.
What is it you love about film photography?
I enjoy photography in all its forms really, but I like how good the ‘clunk’ is on mechanical cameras. Film just feels way nicer than digital as a process, I find I remember the photographs better, they mean a bit more to me.
What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I skate and snowboard. I think most people involved in this sort of culture have a good outlook on life, we don’t take things too seriously. I’m working on a series called ‘Riding Bikes Into Hedges’ at the moment, which reflects my sense of humour a bit. My photographs are a representation of my take on life I guess, they might not be to everyone’s liking, but they’re mine. It’s the same with drawing, I’ll do a shit sketch of a face, but it’s my shit sketch.
Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
I hope that my inspiration is largely my own. I like looking at photographs, so I’m sure the things that I see and like influence me in some way. Jérôme Tanon is an awesome photographer. Also Gary Larson’s comic series ‘The Far Side’ has always hit a particular note with me. People who seem to have fun and ride in their own way always get me pumped to go out and shoot something for sure.
What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
I’m currently a student, so I’m lucky enough to be fairly involved with photography every day. I’m currently trying to blag whatever work or experience I can get at the moment to help me figure out what to get up to after uni is done really.
How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
I have a page on Cargo, and a Tumblr as well which is more of a digital visual diary. It’s nice to have an output for photographs, even if it’s just a blog. I’ve just made a small booklet called ‘Get Under My Feet’ which I’m hoping to do a small run of pretty soon. I don’t print enough and want to get photographs into peoples hands for sure. I don’t think I’m really telling stories with my work, I’m more just trying to make people laugh or show stuff that I think is cool or interesting!
Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
It’s a mixture of both at the moment. If I get an idea that I think will be funny then yeah the shots are set up, so in that sense photography is something through which to channel creative ideas. For the most part I just like having a camera on me somewhere so I can shoot life as it comes along, it helps me remember stuff that I might forget.
If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
Always a hard one to answer… definitely something fun, like a shot of someone doing a laid out backflip over all their friends!
Check out more of Theo’s work.