Cob Gallery is excited to announce the first solo show from London photographer Tom Beard, What The Cat Dragged In. From his first commission at the age of seventeen, Beard found himself in the thick of the musical explosion that reinvigorated the London scene in the mid-noughties. He was everywhere and he shot everyone; spending his formative years touring and gigging, snapping countless defining images and record covers for the likes of Florence & the Machine, Jamie T, Adele and The Horrors. In an era of breakneck digital advancement, Beard developed a deep-seated devotion to the values and processes of the old school: he depends on real film, old equipment, viewfinders, shutter speeds, the chemical romance of the darkroom.
Later he drifted seamlessly into the world of film and now at just 26, Beard is already an accomplished and much in-demand video and film director. His work for Florence & the Machine and James Small has taken the distinctive aesthetic of his stills and drawn it out into a captivating whirl of moving images. Most recently he has created and directed the vision for All Saints Spitalfields, his first advertising campaign.
Now, after a decade of ceaseless picture-making, Tom Beard is sitting on a mountain of unseen gems. For his long overdue debut solo show, he has whittled them down and coughed up ‘What the Cat Dragged In’: a raucous and touching family gathering of his own personal favorites. There are flashbacks from the depths of late nights, with an obsessive interest in nameless characters and the sacrificial beauty of the birds and mice his cats have given him as gifts. It’s a grown-up show that fizzes with youth.
Nothing is staged. Artifice has no place in these pictures. There’s no glamour or celebrity or exclusive photo-insights into rock’n’roll fame. What we get instead is a strict aversion to manipulation: no performance, no styling, no cropping, no retouching, no digital anything ever. Beard’s work is purely from the finger and the eye.