A Road Less Travelled. #001

Tommy Clarke

I ended up striving to take the best shots of the beach I could. Then the lightbulb went off, and I thought: let’s have a go from up there.

TOMMY CLARKE

Our bags have been part of some pretty unique stories. Carried to all corners of the globe by the men and women who choose Bennett Winch for their own journeys - whether for work or play, we bring you a series of exclusive posts to document our bags and their owners as they take a road less travelled. 

We start with Tommy Clarke; a man who creates some of the best aerial images you’ve ever seen, and considers a helicopter or light aircraft his office. We caught up with Tommy on the rare occasion he was on solid ground, as he changed from wings to two wheels on Britain’s south coast…

BW: How did you get into photography?

TC: I had a snowboarding accident when I was 16 that ruled me out of sport for a good few months, so I picked up a camera just so I could still feel involved in some way… it snowballed from there really

BW: How did that progress into aerial photography?

TC: It was a windy route, but it went from sport to portrait, to fashion, to weddings, back to fashion-which then went commercial fashion, and ultimately a move to Sydney. Being there for a couple of years helped me fall back in love with the coast and I ended up striving to take the best shots of the beach I could. Then the lightbulb went off, and I thought: let’s have a go from up there.

BW: You’re famous for going the extra mile and avoiding the likes of drones, choosing instead to shoot from planes and helicopters - Why is this important to you?

TC: When I did my first shoot there weren’t drones available, so I had to hire a helicopter to get the shots I wanted. It's pretty addictive hanging out the side of a chopper a thousand feet above the landscape I can assure you, and I never thought drones would fill that adrenaline junkie desire I have in me.

It's pretty addictive hanging out the side of a chopper a thousand feet above the landscape.

Tommy Clarke

BW: Rumor has it you led the Dothraki in the final series of Game of Thrones and applied purely to meet the Queen of Dragons. How much truth is there in this?

TC: Haha…well, I did get to play a leader of sorts in this final season. I was more of a technical leader rather than in the field, so I got to stand round a map table with Emilia, Kitt and the gang and pretend to be intimidating.

BW: There were some amazing characters on that show- if you had to pick one of them to sit on the iron throne at the end of it all, who would it be and why?

TC: Ser Jorah Mormont was a favourite character of mine, for his loyalty to Kaleesi- but I also loved how he always got friend zoned! Aside from that, I did always think Jon Snow would sit on the thrown but turns out he didn't want it.

BW: What’s the one thing you don’t leave the house without?

TC: A water bottle (a reusable one I might add). I once got stuck on a packed tube in mid-summer without one and vowed never to make that mistake again.

BW: We all have a style staple- what’s your go to and why?

TC: I tend to wear clothes that I can just as easily ride my motorbike in, as well as turn up to an event in. In the same sense, I like to have bags that can keep all my camera gear safe and dry but also go with my outfit that doesn't scream 'I have very expensive cameras in this bag'.

BW: What are your go-to brands?

TC: I am a huge fan of Belstaff and Acne - but I always have a custom Marcel Rodrigues hat with me.

BW: If you had to carry one style of bag for the rest of your life, what would it be?

TC: It has to be a back pack for me, they are much comfier on the motorbike and keeps both hands free to use the camera

BW: Finally, Any new projects on the horizon you’d like to share with us?

TC: I am just finishing up a script at the moment as I’m dipping a toe in the movie world. So watch this space on that front. And of course there'll be coastlines, motorbikes, cameras and stylish bags featured in it - got to write about what you know!

Shop Tommy's Bag of Choice

To discover more of Tommy’s work visit: https://tommyclarke.co.uk/ 
Highly recommend following him on Instagram too: @tommy.clarke