Alys Tomlinson on earning a living, her year in New York, how winning the Sony Award changed her life and why she did took an anthropology MA specifically to help enrich her breakthrough photobook project, Ex Voto.
Alys Tomlinson is an award-winning editorial and fine art photographer based in London. Having grown up in Brighton on England’s south coast, Alys went on to study English Literature and Communications at the University of Leeds. After graduating she moved to New York City for a year where she was given her first commission for the Time Out guide books. She returned to London to study photography at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Alys recently completed a part-time MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage (Distinction) at SOAS, University of London, which ties in with her long-term, personal project about pilgrimage, published as a photobook by GOST in 2019 entitled Ex Voto.
Alys was named Sony World Photography Awards, Photographer of the Year 2018 and in 2019 her short film, Vera, was shown at the Rencontres d’Arles as part of the New Discovery Award where it won the Public Prize. The full, feature-length version, co-directed with Marie Cécile-Embleton, is due to be completed and hopefully released later in 2020.
Alys combines commissioned work for editorial, design and advertising clients with personal work, which she publishes and exhibits. She is represented by the gallery Hacklebury Fine Art.
On episode 123, Alys discusses, among other things:
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“The truly original comes from the way you think about it. You might have a great idea. You’ll find out someone has done something about that in some way, probably. It’s almost impossible to be completely original in terms of subject matter. But I suppose it’s how you interpret it.”