When you’re roaming through foreign countries, bright-eyed and ready for adventure, certain aspects of people’s regular lives jump out at you. Whether it’s a different material used to make houses or the fruit at a market or the way locals interact with each other, it’s these little moments that make a place truly feel different. The problem with witnessing these ordinary events in far-flung countries is that it’s extremely difficult to capture the true vibe, but thankfully there are snappers Tom Paterson out there doing it for us.
Born in New Zealand’s rural South Island, the 29-year-old first picked up a camera after uni, where he studied primary school teaching. Unable to afford a high-end digital camera at the time, he focussed on mastering analog on his trusty Pentax Spotmatic F, all the while subsisting on a diet that predominantly consisted of Mi-Goreng (hey, it could be worse). “I’m grateful for that now as learning first on film has given me a lot that I don’t think digital could’ve,” he says.
Whilst working as a primary school teacher – a job that he occasionally misses – Tom continued to build his photography portfolio, eventually getting to a level where he could afford to live off his craft. Since then he spends three-quarters of the year travelling (pre-COVID obvs) with his wife Christina and his camera by his side. “I’ve met girls and guys who’ve become both best friends and idols of mine,” he says recounting the most rewarding experiences photography has offered him. “Also talking and learning from locals is something I always go and do – connecting with the community you’re in is important to me.”
Pack your suitcase, prepare for takeoff, check out some of his finest pics below and head here to follow him on Instagram: