The young photographer Tom Leighton creates cities that on first glance seem to be symmetrical images of places we recognise but on closer inspection have a great deal of subtle differences within them. He pulls apart iconic and much-loved elements of cities and re-assembles them into places that could not exist, or could they, like the imaginative landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries such as John Gandy. His work has become more complex over the years as he has developed his technique and he regularly exhibits through the Cynthia Corbett Gallery.
“My photography is very exploratory – I don’t go on planned ‘photo shoots’, but I am constantly trying to track down exciting architecture or city views. In doing so I have to improvise interesting vantage points or use the part of the structure I am photographing as my tripod. This type of experimentation leads to unconventional perspectives and when combined and manipulated gives my work its illusory depth. Frequently I try to leave the viewer of my work floating from an ‘all seeing’ elevated dreamlike perspective – they become disconnected /disassociated and are left reflecting on a vision of urban splendour which simultaneously conflicts with the evident paranoia inherent in contemporary society.
In my work I have complete control as I contort & construct urban spaces. I show a complete disregard for the fundamentals of physics as I introduce gravity defying structures. I chose to use multiple natural light sources to create a collision of shadows and hyper real lighting. All this allows me to produce areas of ambiguity – and by doing so I play with the brains capacity to ignore or falsely correct what doesn’t make sense. My photographs are akin to a memory of a place – a distorted, reconstituted reality”