Licensed drone pilot Tom Chant is exploring the art of 360 degree photography to capture Shrewsbury's historic buildings. Charli Canfer asks how he gets such spectacular results.
What inspired you to take your beautiful 360 degree photographs and how do you do it?
I remember seeing this style of image when I was in a cinema as a teenager and instantly fell in love with it. It’s not until recently that the equipment has become more accessible and for the software to be user-friendly. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a camera and start snapping, and the architecture of Shrewsbury was the perfect subject matter. The pictures are taken from the ground using a tripod which exaggerates the proportions of the buildings. I use an app to take the shots from a distance and editing software to enhance the image. It’s a case of trial and error to get the right placement to make the final composition. I am a licensed drone pilot which also gives me the option to take aerial shots for some of my other work.
How long have you been doing photography for?
Photography was part of my graphics course at college. At the time we were still developing our own pictures in the dark room. Since then I have always enjoyed photography but have only actively made it a hobby since joining Instagram in 2018 (@chant_man). I decided to only post images that I thought were interesting and hoped that others might think so too. I have printed many of the shots I have taken to decorate my home; they act as abstract reminders of places I have visited.
You’ve got a real variety of photos on your Instagram, do you have a favourite style?
I love angles and symmetry in photography. I enjoy finding alternative ways to look at something to find the detail that might otherwise go unnoticed. The 360 camera has given me a whole new way to look at the world and I am enjoying experimenting with the effect. Having only had the camera for two months I am very excited to see what else I can create with it. My only worry is that I will run out of wall space to hang the prints.
Do you work as a photographer, and if not what’s your day job?
I am not a professional photographer but photography is a big part of my job. I work in marketing for a local logistics company, where I produce visual content to promote the business. The management encourage creative ideas and I am looking forward to incorporating this style of photography and video into my work.
Are you from Shrewsbury and what do you like most about the town?
I am originally from Evesham in Worcestershire and moved to Shrewsbury almost five years ago for work and I don’t think I could have picked a nicer town to move to. The thing I like most about Shrewsbury is the variety of things to do in the town and all within walking distance from my home. Fantastic restaurants and bars with new ones popping up on a regular basis. When friends visit, I love to show them around the historic sites but you can’t beat sitting in The Quarry on a sunny day.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for taking an interest in my work. I was honoured when I was contacted to be part of My Shrewsbury magazine as it’s an opportunity to give something back to my new home town.