Horse riding, a video shot by Tom Emmerson

Tom Emmerson on going against the grain

Whether shooting music videos, directing commercials, or eyeing up a career in feature films, the director is determined to make work that challenges mediocre creativity

If there’s one thing you can say about Tom Emmerson, it’s that he isn’t afraid of working things out as he goes along. The self-taught photographer and director’s quietly confident approach to developing his practice saw him shoot campaigns for the likes of Burberry and Helmut Lang before the age of 18, while his first official directing gig came during his first year of uni, when he shot a music video for rising star Mimi Webb.

Emmerson’s journey into the creative industries began as a teenager, when he started taking photos of his friends, mostly skateboarding or just hanging out, and posting them on Instagram. “It was a smaller platform then, so you got a following more quickly. I was meeting a lot of people, because there’s a lot of overlap between skateboarding and fashion.”