Tom Wawnik worked as a professional model before discovering his true calling as a professional photographer; his passion for creatively artistic photography. From captivating editorials, through commercial and fashion, to portrait and lookbook shoots; Tom is well on his way to being one of this century’s notable young photographers.
HUF magazine caught up with Tom in London. Usually he’s to be found somewhere between London and Sydney, or Bali. In one of time’s rarest moments, we managed to keep him still long enough to discover what makes Tom the professional he is – what drives his success and creativity.
I was born in Gdansk, Poland, but grew up spending half of my childhood in Germany. I lived from 2012 ’til 2014 in Australia. Sydney was the city where I started to photograph. I just love Australia and its fashion sense. The people don’t take themselves too seriously, they’re always happy to help and are open minded. I’ve been living in London, since last September, but I still travel at least once a month. Sometimes you work with people in London and I feel that they think they’re more important than a nurse or doctor – I find that perspective a little strange.
London is a very hectic place, it’s a good place to challenge yourself and get more experience in fashion. I guess I will not spend the rest of my live here. London is a fashion metropolis. It means, when I don’t like a model agency or a makeup artist, it’s no big drama. There are a lot of other people I can choose to work with in London. In countries like Australia the market of course is much smaller, but still very interesting for me. I love Australia pretty much, and try to go back there from time to time.
I describe myself foremost as a photographer. I have stopped modeling for now. I did style for other photographers when I started learning photography, also styling many of my own shoots in the beginning. I do scout models from time to time. Sometimes, I also try to give models an opportunity through connections to get into a better agency.
I started modeling very late, around the age of nineteen. A photographer in Germany approached me somehow via the Internet and through friends. I had a test shoot and, from there, I did a lot of shoots with different photographers. And then I got signed, somewhat quickly, with a commercial agency in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Modeling wasn’t my first job. I’d already worked from a young age, in my mum’s own business, besides school and study. I also had a lot of other different jobs during my studying, which mostly had nothing to do with fashion. So I gained experience in a lot of different fields.
After I finished my studies, I left to travel the world. I went to Australia and Asia, etc., working there with different agencies. I think traveling and seeing the world was the most I enjoyed as a model, and meeting creative people. But somehow modeling was never enough for me. I always thought I could do more than that. And I figured out modeling is not really something I saw myself doing for a really long period of my life, not really something that I would enjoy to do everyday. But it was a great way to get into photography. And I am very thankful for that.
As a model, you always have to look flawless, keep a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym (especially being a male model) . To get told from everyone what to do, even when you think it’s stupid, that was the most challenging part for me personally. You can tell, I am pretty happy to be more behind the camera now, instead of in front. [Smiles]. My first shoot was something really funny…Read the full exclusive interview with Tom in HUF Magazine issue 49.