Bio: Represented by the Found agency, Thomas Ingersoll describes himself as a storyteller above all else. A photographer, retoucher, writer, and educator born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Thomas spent his life racing motocross, but hung up the helmet for a camera, never imagining photography would bring so much fulfillment in his life. Although he didn’t pick up a camera until he was 21, Thomas was introduced to art in the early days of his youth drawing Dragon Ball Z characters. He has a dog named Winston, and a cat named Beau.
I would describe my style of photography as…
What was your first camera, and how’d you get started in photography?
My first camera was my dad’s 35mm Minolta X-370. I grew up racing motocross in Arizona and was captivated the whole motocross industry. I would watch these motocross videos and been mesmerized by the cinematography. I wanted to capture my friends how I saw these guys in the videos and in the magazines. So I took my dad’s Minolta and fell in love with the process.
Why did you want to become a photographer?
I wanted to become a photographer to document my friends in the motocross industry but quickly fell in love with the creative aspect. Being able to express myself in a visual manner impacted me greatly. I was able to feel like I was a part of something bigger, I could create images that would bring people together.
What’s your most memorable shot or shoot, be it challenging to capture or interesting subject?
One of my most memorable shots was of my buddy Lear ripping down a trial on his mountain bike. I set up 2 580ex speedlites, with pocket wizards to shoot HSS, and shot it on my Canon original 5D and 85mm f1.8 lens at f2 . I remember the pocket wizards misfiring most shots because the technology was not good at the time for HSS, so I was missing most shots with the strobes. Then I was shooting on an original 5D, which was not meant at all for sports, and shooting at f2 on a 85mm lens meant I was rarely in focus. But I had this photo dreamy shallow strobed image in my head. So Lear kept hitting the berm till the stars aligned and I got the shot. I remember looking at the image and thinking there was no way I just shot this, it was too good for my skills at the time, to this day I don’t think I could recreate it.
What image are you most proud of from your photography portfolio?
There is definitely one image that really stands out to me that I am most proud of. I was in the studio one day with a friend of mine while he was doing a model test shoot. About 10 minutes before the shoot was over the model’s mom came in to pick her up. She came in wearing a bandana around her head and I could tell that she had been going through Chemo. But she had this radiance about her. I began to talk to her so she didn’t just sit on the side and wait for her daughter. We started with some small talk, but that turned into her telling me about her story and what she has gone through having breast cancer. I was so deeply touched by the positivity that exuded out of her. I was so moved that I asked if I could take her portrait. She instantly blushed and was hesitant. I told her that I found her story and her spirit incredibly beautiful and that it should be shared with the world to help people. She uncomfortably sat down in front of my camera, and I could feel her being slightly guarded, but I proceed to instill confidence in her and tell her she was beautiful until she gave me the look that matched how she spoke. The look of confidence, positivity, and hope. I posted the image on Instagram later that week and the model reached out to me and told me that when her mom saw the image she cried and felt beautiful. Of course, as I was reading that I was balling. But I am definitely most proud that moment.
My dream gig would be…
My dream gig would have to be shooting campaigns to help raise awareness about our impact we have on our earth, and on how we can help one another.
My favorite piece of gear is…
I have a hard time picking one piece of gear, but I the companies I love are Tether Tools, Slik, Profoto, BlackRapid, Think Tank, Savage, and Sigma.
Do you shoot tethered?
You bet I do. Tethering has made my process much more efficient.
My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…
My favorite Tether Tools gear would have to be the Tether Station we have at Blok studio.
What’s on your photography gear shopping list?
Everything from Profoto lol, maybe that new Sony A7R iii, but it’s usually just essentials like grip equipment.
The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer would be…
I have two pieces of advice for photographers. First, learn business, I can’t reiterate enough how crucial this is to thrive in the industry, and it’s definitely the least practiced aspect. Take an accounting course, learn marketing, learn how to run your business. Second is learn to engage with people. This will help you get the most out of your subject, relate to people, and tell better stories through your images. You have to become a people person no matter what you shoot.