Tony Briggs is a photographer with over 30 years experience. Propelled into his career by a love of album artwork, he has since photographed countless famous faces, including Kate Moss and Paul Weller, as well as every comedian you’ve ever heard and many more that you haven’t. Like his subjects, Tony Briggs’ work is humorous, irrervent and in much demand.
Some highlights from Joe’s interview with Tony Briggs:
Have you got any advice for someone trying to get to where you are today?
The whole digital thing has killed it a bit. It’s taken a lot of the ‘blood and sweat and tears’ out of it, because you get instant results. Twenty years ago, with film, it was real trial and error, and you really had to put the hours in and have a bit of a flair for it. But with digital now, there’s so many people out there doing it, and so many kids out there looking for work. Even though, obviously, there are still some people who have a real talent for it, it’s more difficult finding them. A lot of people who buy photography, who commission photographers – without trying to sound too cynical, they’re just interested in the price. Rather than have a brilliant job done, they’d rather have a job done cheaply.
But if you are really into it, and you’re not going to be distracted, just stick at it. I don’t think I’ve had any favours, really. I’ve been quite lucky with it, but I’ve never deviated from doing it; I’ve done it non-stop for 25 years. Perseverance, I suppose.
There’s a lot of humorous stuff on your website, and there seems to be quite a humorous and irreverent streak throughout your work. Is that intentional?
‘P**s-taker’, I think you’re looking for [laughs]. Yeah, that’s kind of what I do. I’m not curing any illnesses, am I? Photography’s a bit of a blag for me and it always has been, so I just laugh in the face of it, really. I’m not saying I ‘take the p**s’ out of it, but it’s all done very tongue in cheek and light-heartedly. I don’t like to think of myself as too serious with it.
What I took from it is… it’s like seeing the funny side of life. Do you think that’s the strongest element of your style?
Definitely. What did the BBC call it? ‘Cheeky and irreverent’ [laughs]. That just about sums me up, really – ‘cheeky and irreverent’. My mum would’ve been proud of that [laughs]. I didn’t make a conscious effort to be a comedy photographer, but that makes up 75 percent of my work. Even if it’s advertising, it’s the funny advertising – photographing comedians. Every big British comedian I can think of, I’ve shot. Apart from Harry Hill - I never shot Harry Hill. But, apart from that, I’ve worked with all of the TV channels and the big comedy agents.
Find out more about Tony and his work at www.tonybriggs.com.