Tom Wilkinson


I picked up an old 35mm film camera I was given in 2005 last year after seeing some work from a friend. I spent about 6 months shooting around the streets of Sydney with this camera and still do when i can.

At the start of 2016 I decided to try out shooting some live music, since I spend most of my time at gigs anyway I figured why not bring a camera along? I contacted a Brisbane publication called AAA Backstage who luckily were looking for a Sydney photographer and have shot for them ever since.

I’ve shot mainly on an entry level camera since the start of the year and I’m pretty proud of some of the shots I’ve been able to capture on it. You can see some of my efforts either on my website or follow me on Instagram for more live music moments as well as many others.


How long have you been shooting for & what got you started?

I’ve been shooting for a couple years now. One of my mates started shooting on an old film camera and I had one in my cupboard for like, 8 years or something.

It had been collecting dust and all of a sudden I decided to take it out one day.

I stuck with that for six months or so. Shooting 35mm. I processed film all over the place until finding a regular spot in the city.

I still go back and forth between digital and film – but maybe not as much as I used to. Digital cameras are just faster, not only on the night – but when you’ve got deadlines.


Were you shooting primarily music stuff?

A little bit of music, but mostly street stuff.

My first band shoots were just my mate’s shows. I remember taking it along to shoot Los Tones, some mates of mine who are in a garage band. That was my earliest memory having the camera at a show.


How did you come about getting accreditation to shoot this Rackett gig?

I’ve known the bass player, Ally, for a few years, from around town and in her other bands. I saw that she’d started in this punk band, Rackett. I heard from quite a few other mates… they started saying this name, Rackett, and I was like, ‘alright, I’ll have to have a look at this.’ So, I went to a show – actually, I was seeing something else that night and then just sort of moseyed on down to the Vic in Enmore where they were playing.

It was completely rammed and they were killing it. I took a photo of Bec and sent it to them and they liked it a lot. Then there was another shot a bit later on – from when they were supporting Stonefield at the Imperial. Same thing.

Next, we all ran into each other at the airport one day cause we were all… well, they were going to Queensland and we were going to Melbourne – so I actually met the band for the first time and they were like, ‘oh you’re the guy that takes photos!’ We had a chat and now we’re buds.


Can you tell us about the specific moment you snapped your award-winning photo?

Well, if anyone knows Brighton Up Bar they’ll know it’s a fairly tiny little place and it was sold out – so it was pretty busy. There’s no photo pit so you need to do a little bit of pushing and shoving to get near the front. I saw one of the photographers there, up on a sub in the corner. I was like, ‘well that’s probably a good idea.’ So when he jumped down I just set up camp there – balancing on top of a smoke machine. I guess, cause it’s so small and Bec’s kinda doing her thing and working the crowd, putting on a show – she saw me there and grabbed my camera. It was a bit of a fluke really, I saw her lunge over to me and I fired, then hoped and prayed when I got home that it would come out alright.

I thought the shot looked good in black and white. Mainly because the little venues don’t have much lighting setup and it can look a bit underwhelming sometimes. Not like The Enmore where it’s like amazing all the time. Monotone also seems to work well with more lively bands.

I was shooting digital – my little film camera probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with Bec or a really lively band like that. Compared to my film camera the digital Canon is like a big machine gun. It’s a tank as well… like, the amount of beer it’s been soaked in and it’s still running strong.


Can you give us your thoughts on the Moshcam Photography Awards?

It’s very cool man. It’s a very lively little community. It’s cool for me cause I don’t know that many people who are photographers.

The other night I did some video work for the Rackett girls when they were supporting The Darkness. I got a pass and was able to hang out properly – and I met a few people, like Pete Dovgan, and not just on Facebook! That was cool – to get to know these people better.

It forces you to step your game up a bit as well.


Who’s your favorite band to shoot?

I just did a run of shows with Polish Club who are really cool. Their show at The Oxford Art Factory was really fun to take photos at.

Rackett as well. They’re probably my most photographed band in Sydney.


What’s your favorite venue to shoot in?

The big ones I really like… like The Enmore.   They’re super friendly to the camera folk.

But, at the same time, I really like the completely dodgy, dive bar, rough-as-guts places. Places like The Chippo, where those crazy-action type bands will tour.

And then the Oxford Art Factory is a middle ground. It’s got a really good setup but there’s not usually a photo pit – so you’re in there with the crowd.

One of the last times I went there was for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – where I copped a black eye. I was near the frontand sometime dived into it and sent it into my eye… but it’s all good, that’s to be expected.


Who’s on your photography bucket list?

There’s band in the states called the Schizophonics. They’re not particularly big – I don’t know if they’ve gone outside of their country. But if you look up some of their photos… there’s a lad over there called Dave Evanko who does a lot of photo work for them – they just look insane.

The Schizophonics @ The Casbah

Half of the photos, the lead singer is upside down or in mid-air with his strat with a head-stock the shape of a crocodile head. It’s a garage rock kind of thing – they look super fun and it would be cool if they came to Australia cause they’f play in a really good venue – or really bad – but in the best possible way. It’d be crazy fun. He’s crazy – you can check em out on youtube as well – they’re non-stop.



If you had a time machine – who would you go back in time to photograph?

Hmmm, ok – that’s a hectic question. If I could travel back in time – it’d be 70s Sabbath. I think that would be wild.


If you could tour the world with any band, who would it be and why?

The dream… if he was ever to do a tour again… would be Tom Waits. For me – that would be the pinnacle.

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