Thomas Prior uses the camera as a way of finding order amidst the intensity of lived experience. His photographs break down complex actions and events into elementary forms, drawing out details of place, gesture, and expression that would be overlooked by a less searching eye.

Thomas Prior uses the camera as a way of finding order amidst the intensity of lived experience. His photographs break down complex actions and events into elementary forms, drawing out details of place, gesture, and expression that would be overlooked by a less searching eye.More


At the heart of Prior’s practice is a pair of apparently contradictory motivations: a desire for order and simplicity, and a fascination with the minute details of his subject matter. Prior often becomes totally absorbed in the stories he shoots. Sometimes, this obsession with detail is embodied in photographs that mirror the complexity of his surroundings. At other times, Prior distils extremes of visual and sensory information into stripped-down, graphically precise images. Repetition often makes its way into his photographs – the same gesture acted out by different subjects; objects and themes that reappear from one frame to the next.
Prior’s aesthetic is rooted in the split-second timing of street photography and classic photojournalism. Many of his photographs capture moments of heightened tension or excitement – the physical discipline of the athlete, the unruly energy of crowds and shared social spaces. But if he often places himself at the heart of the action, Prior also has a gift for finding the stillness and understated drama of the everyday. He’s a skilful observer of the odd, the obscure, and the quietly humorous; of unplanned, in-between moments when circumstances come together in less spectacular ways.