Tom Ferguson & Jac+ Jack | Feature InterviewSydney, NSW, Australia
Becoming professionally successful in one field takes talent, hard work, perseverance and time, so it is rare to find someone like photographer and architect Tom Ferguson who has made a name for himself in two competitive fields.
His experience in architecture informs his work in photography, and while his architecture is almost purely residential, photography has given him the chance to explore other aspects of the built environment in new ways. Since 2013, Tom has been photographing the interior design work of George Livissianis, who designs minimalist clothing brand Jac+ Jack’s stores. Several of his Jac+ Jack photographs have been printed and framed, each print highlighting how the architect’s eye guides his work through the camera lens.
After studying architecture at the University of New South Wales, Tom began working at Cracknell Lonergan Architects. During his time at Cracknell Longergan he began photographing architectural projects, eventually going on to receive external commissions and continuing the photographic work after starting his own architecture practice in 2006. Since then, he has become well known for his architecture, interior and product photography.
While architecture came first, photography has become Tom’s main focus, ‘although it feels like it has been a very natural progression from one career to another’, he says. Other than actually experiencing a building in person, photography is the main way architecture is represented so he sees a strong relationship between the two professions. ‘My practice as an architect helps me understand the process of achieving the final product and the things that are important to capture in the images’, he explains.
Through his photography, Tom aims to ‘tell the whole story of a building’. This includes not only the main hero shots, but also the intimate details of a building. ‘I think it’s important to try and convey what it feels like to be in the space’, Tom says, ‘but also to inspire the viewer through visual drama and composition.’ Compared to the constantly competing requirements and external influences of working as an architect, photography has a much more singular focus. His experience as an architect gives him the capacity to use the photography to distill the complexity of a space, working with the many conditions that influence light to bring the building alive in the final image.
It is perhaps this synergy in his approach that reflects the success of Tom’s work with Jac+ Jack. ‘Jac+ Jack has a very refined aesthetic – beautiful clothes that are beautifully considered and made’, he says. ‘George’s interiors have the same refined aesthetic and attention to detail and I would like to think my photography aligns with those principles and illustrates them through the images.’
Tom’s most recent project saw him focusing on the subtle details of the Jac+ Jack stores, the shapes, forms, textures, materials and lighting, and abstracting them from their retail context. The resulting images are fluid, refined and reflect Tom’s love of mid-century modern architecture and photography by the likes of Richard Neutra and Julius Schulmann. In his images, the details become the hero, highlighting the beautiful simplicity of each element. ‘I wanted to create strong compositions that stand in their own right, as well as being an interior photo’, he says.
Several prints from this series are now the subject of a giveaway on The Local Project in partnership with Jac+ Jack. The abstract quality of the images takes familiar interior elements and shows them in a new light, giving us an unusual insight into objects we have seen countless times before. Framed in natural timber, the prints are timeless interpretations that reflect a deep love of architecture and detail.
In the twenty years since he became an architect, Tom Ferguson found in photography a career change, albeit not in the traditional sense. Rather than moving away from one field and into another, his career change has resulted in broadening his engagement with architecture and the built environment. The ongoing working relationship with Jac+ Jack serves to show how productive it can be when there is such a deep connection between subject matter and photographer.