Tom Duffy

“In photographing, I do not worry about what my style is or the ‘rules’ for composition. I simply look for interesting compositions and interactions that tell a story and engage the emotions.”

Tom Duffy

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As a professional photographer for nearly 20 years, Tom Duffy views his career as a journey that’s allowed him to see the world through the lens of different photographic genres.

He’s traveled the spectrum, telling his photographic stories through images of nature, documentary/conservation, still life, and more recently a contemporary approach.

“I try to have projects going in all four genres, since I find a synergy or cross pollination from each approach makes conceptualization and execution of all my work better,” the Bloomington photo artist says.

While Tom is self-taught, he’s studied with several leading photographers, including John Sexton, Peter Turnley and Phil Borgess, who each famously told their own stories through the photographic lens.

Tom likes to tell visual stories, too, and says he doesn’t worry about trying to define his own photographic style or follow any rules for composition. Ultimately, he describes himself as an environmental photographer, but whose environment includes the human element.

Getting his start in nature photography, Tom likes to joke with clients that he’s taking them on a virtual vacation with his imagery, which many describe as “painterly” and relaxing. He says he’s still trying to understand what the term “painterly” actually means.

His focus on storytelling led him to work in documentary photography, including traditional street photography documenting decaying towns in the Midwest or the back streets of Chicago. He also developed two larger documentary projects, one focusing on two sustainable pasture farming families, and the second on the history of Indiana’s limestone quarries.

To explore what “painterly” might mean in a contemporary context where the images were more colorful and more intriguingly abstract, Tom has begun blending various textures with his nature photographs to create unique and contemporary images.

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