Interview – Tony Hay Photographer

Tony Hay is a London based still life and advertising photographer. We have been following his work for some time now and highly recommend you check out his portfolio. We managed to sneak a few moments with Tony in between shoots to discuss his approach to photography.


Pic: Rum n Coke

CSH: How did your journey into photography start?

Tony: I used to get a hold of my Dad’s Hanimex 35mm camera on holiday and use all the film on stuff that wasn’t appreciated in the family holiday album. Nothing risqué obviously, just not ‘proper pictures’.


Pic: A more risque shot from a recent series

CSH: Was this the point at which you decided you wanted to be a professional photographer?

Tony: I studied photography at school because I thought it would be an easy subject. I originally wanted to be an electrician. But I completely fell for it and ended up studying at Newcastle College, School of Art & Design for 5 years.

CSH: So during those early days who was the driving force and/or inspiration behind your work?

Tony: Early on I was inspired by Andre Kertesz, Edward Weston and Horst P Horst among others because of their creativity and lighting craft. 


Pic: The famous Balzac Armchair for SCP.

CSH: Most of our readers are probably unaware that you still shoot almost religiously on 5 x 4 and Medium format with a digital back, why is this? 

Tony: Because it gives you more control and slows you down. It makes you think about the composition more, instead of running around shooting everything. It’s a throw back to shooting film I suppose, when every shot you took cost money.

CSH: You are a very hands-on photographer with great engineering skills (Tony is forever building things), how have these skills aided your photography?

Tony: A lot of it is about problem solving and working out how to create an image with as little manipulation as possible. Recently I made a latex covered platform to create an exploding earth effect – it worked a treat. 


Pic: Travel diaries

CSH: What do you most enjoy shooting during your free time?

Tony: When I’m on holiday I enjoy having to work with nature’s light source and not being able to control it all myself. It’s a bit of freedom, but you  also have to be able to work around it.


Pic: Berlin

CSH: What is the funniest/craziest thing that has happened during a shoot?

Tony: Kylie kissed me on the cheek once, that was pretty good.

CSH: Final fun question… You’re hosting a dinner party, you can invite 5 people (dead or alive). Who would you invite?

Elvis – because he’s the king.

Muhammad Ali – because he’s the greatest.

Stephen Fry – because he knows everything.

Rosa Parks – because she is an inspiration.

Robin Williams – because we need to lighten the mood at this dinner party.

Tony is based in South West London and available for commissions.