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FOCUS: Todd Antony

7 January 2021


© Todd Antony

We catch up with AOP Photographer Todd Antony who reveals more about how he captured the 'Flying Cholitas' in his renowned AOP Gold award winning series.  As a multi award winner, Todd tells us about the importance of entering Awards, which jump started his career many years ago.  We also find out more about his distinctive style and how he is navigating the pandemic.


© Todd Antony

How did your journey into photography begin?

Starting way back at the beginning, my dad brought a Canon EOS 650 home from his office one day. I was hooked instantly, and the camera never made it back to said office. From there I took photography at high school, missing the odd class while I was holed up in the darkroom as much as possible. Later things quite literally took a bit of a circuitous route to where I am now, going around the world ‘working’ as a cruise ship photographer in my early 20’s, before returning back to my home in New Zealand where I began assisting advertising photographers there. Then moving onto London a few years later and doing the same.



© Todd Antony


How would you describe your distinctive style.

It took me a while to be able to boil that down to something succinct. But I think in the last couple of years I’ve settled on thinking of it as ‘Stylised Realism’. Making sure the scenes are grounded in reality, but using light and colour to then heighten each situation slightly out of the ordinary.



© Todd Antony



© Todd Antony


Can you tell us more about the craft behind creating the series of images ‘Flying Cholitas’ that were awarded a gold in the 2020 AOP Awards?

I don’t want to go into too much of the technical detail, so that the illusion isn’t spoiled. But the Cholitas that are pictured are professional wrestlers. So each moment you see captured is quite literally them in mid flight performing one of their wrestling moves. They were absolute troopers as there was a lot of repetition needed to get the desired shapes in flight and getting the timing right, and they don’t use crash mats, I’ll say that much. I’d feel pretty guilty whenever my timing was slightly off and they had to go again! From a lighting standpoint I used high speed flash units to freeze the action, which were gelled and shaped to match the ambient lights visible in each scene.

We’re all used to seeing boxers and wrestlers depicted in the ring, so that is something I really wanted to avoid. And given the Cholitas struggles in overcoming the racial oppression and marginalisation, and their history of taking to streets and marching to make their voices heard, I decided on showing them out of their normal context on the streets of El Alto where they live.



© Todd Antony

As a multi award winner can you talk about the importance of entering awards and the effect they have had on your career?

I absolutely think entering awards has had a positive impact on my career. But I think entering the right awards is the important thing. There’s a real saturation of various awards out there now, and not all are created equal. So it has to be the right calibre of awards to be involved in and hopefully winning. It’s definitely not a case of entering any and all. You want to be surrounded the best of your fellow photographers and best quality of work. So awards have definitely helped in increasing my profile and gaining more work as a result.



© Todd Antony

How are you navigating the pandemic?

Obviously during the first lockdown everything ground to a halt for all of us from a shooting perspective. But I was very lucky to be really busy as soon as we came out of that period. Largely I’ve been using the time to plan my next personal project which I’m hoping to shoot in March and will involve stills and a short film. Like most of my personal projects its overseas, so hopefully Covid will play ball. So despite the obvious frustration of multiple lockdowns and day to day life being drastically effected in and around those lockdowns, having the time to really dive into research and planning on projects has been a real positive. Normally you try to squeeze it in around constant shoots, so it’s nice to have a bit more time to dedicate to things like that in a block rather than piecemeal. You get more of a flow on.



© Todd Antony


What does being a member of the AOP mean to you?

The AOP assistants awards, a fair few years back now, gave my career one of its jump starts. So I always be grateful for that. And having access to industry information and advice in that early period was also really helpful. The awards night is always great as well. By its nature photography is generally an individual pursuit in terms of spending time with other photographers. So I always love catching up with the other photographers I know, and getting to put faces to the work of photographers that I don’t.


View Todd's profile in Find a Photographer

View Todd's images in the 'Most Likes Images of 2020' Spotlight exhibition here

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