Tom Wood: Photographs 1973- 2013 at the National Media Museum

NTLEMEN, Cowley, Oxford, 1973 © Tom Wood, courtesy of the artist

NTLEMEN, Cowley, Oxford, 1973 © Tom Wood, courtesy of the artist

National Media Museum Gallery One presents the first ever UK retrospective for photographer Tom Wood. 116 photographs displayed, including more than 10 previously unexhibited and unpublished images. The exhibition draws from an acquisition of 80 Tom Wood works by the National Media Museum - one of the Museum’s largest single acquisitions of work by a living photographer.

“My best pictures have a life of their own, as if they are nothing to do with me.” Tom Wood.

Tom Wood: Photographs 1973-2013 is a new exhibition, and Wood’s first full UK retrospective, opening at the National Media Museum, Bradford, on 8 March 2013.

 Born in Ireland in 1951, Tom Wood has taken photographs almost every day over the last 40 years. The resulting bodies of work now form the basis for this new show.

The retrospective features116 photographs and concentrates on Wood’s photographs of people, made mainly in Liverpool and Merseyside, on the streets, in pubs and clubs, markets, workplaces, parks and football grounds, images of strangers, mixed with neighbours, family and friends.

Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum has also acquired 80 of Wood’s prints for the National Photography Collection, held and cared for by the National Media Museum. It is the largest single acquisition of Wood’s work, and one of the Museum’s largest single acquisitions from a living photographer. The selection includes photographs that have not been exhibited or published before.

Hobson said: “Tom Wood is a photographer with rare vision; instinctive yet insightful, connecting with his subjects on a deeply personal level.  His works are subtle explorations of the nature of people and their relationships with their environments.

“Wood’s enduring fascination with the possibilities of photography, in particular the use of juxtaposition, and his tireless experimentation with the relationships between formats, film and printing techniques, have created a phenomenal body of work that is consistently exciting and rewarding to view.”

Wood’s work is not organised as a series of projects, each with a start and end date. Instead, he works daily on an unfolding, diary-like recording of his observations and encounters. He spends many years returning to particular places, studying them in an attempt to refine and distil the essence of the locations and the people in his photographs.

Wood’s open and experimental approach to photography means he is constantly pushing its formal and conceptual possibilities, and the curated show is conceived to reflect this approach. Tom Wood said: “I’m not trying to document or prove anything. I’m interested in how life works and how photography works. I’m researching with a camera, seeing how many new view points I can take, looking for what I know and what I don’t know.”

The exhibition will feature original images from all Wood’s major bodies of work: Looking for Love (1989), All Zones off Peak (1998), People (1999), Bus Odyssey (2001), Photie Man (2005), Men and Women (2013).

 Venue: National Media Museum Gallery One, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1NQ

Open: 8th March - 16 June 2022

For more information visit:

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