A one-minute film created on a trip to Vietnam with an ex-girlfriend was picked up by global coffee brand, Nespresso. They gave Tom his first directing job. ‘My work has snowballed from there,’ he tells Heath. ‘As a freelancer the only way I could justify my trip was to make a film out of it.’ The planning paid off…
Tom Byfield is a London based film maker and photographer. He makes short films for brands from Nespresso to Adidas and has created the photography for Heath. His TV Producer mother has been his biggest influence.
Film or digital?
If you’re starting out you have your iPhone for your digital stuff, it will cover you for most things. But with film, you don’t have the get out clause, it gets you to thinking about each image you take, rather than looking through 50 and then choosing the best one. Try, it. I’m shooting on film more and more and it’s improving my photography skills. I have even started a new Instagram for my film photos: @tombyfield35mm. Talk to your granny or mum and see if they have an old film camera.
Best place to buy a great camera?
There is a place called Lomography on Newburgh Street parallel to Carnaby Street. You can pick up quite cheap film cameras there and you can even buy Polaroids.
Last great meal?
Clipstone in Fitzrovia. It’s the sister restaurant to the Michelin star Portland. There is an amazing young chef there, he does English food with a European feel – French and Italian influences. It’s around the corner from the Portland and does similar food, but is more relaxed.
Where do you go out?
You’ll find me in London Fields on Broadway Market where there are lots of pubs and clubs. It’s where I’ll go with friends on a Saturday night.
I love Turkish barbers. They’re quick, they know how to do a gentleman’s cut and there isn’t too much chatting – I want to be in and out. I go to Ted’s Grooming Room which is near my office. They do the whole threading and ear flaming thing.
Are you a soap and water man or do you moisturise?
I moisturise every day. What I use changes quite a bit – I’ve been using Heath’s aftershave balm and think it’s great.
Heath product of choice?
The Face Wash is my favourite. Everything about it. It smells great, it’s refreshing it is the nicest way to start my day.
Whose style do you admire?
Oliver Cheshire is someone on Instagram who I think dresses impeccably.
Which men’s clothing shop ticks your boxes?
Goodhood in Shoreditch. I recently bought a navy Norse Projects shirt there – a Danish brand – they do nice simple stuff. It’s also great for inspiration then I might go to Uniqlo.
Shoe of choice?
Clarks’ desert boot is my everyday shoe. If smarter, I go for Grenson – their brown Archie brogue. Grenson are a great, English shoemaker.
Last great movie?
My favourite recent film is Call Me By Your Name. It was set in Italy, a beautiful romantic place where I would love to spend the rest of my life! And it showed that you don’t have to have all the budget in the world to make a beautiful film. The father’s monologue at the end was one of the most powerful scenes I have seen in cinema.
How do you unwind?
I run in Regent’s Park – it’s a mental thing for me. It clears my head and helps reduce stress.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mother. She was a successful TV Producer and her work ethic, being a single mum, watching the way she works has really pushed me. The advice she gave me when I was starting out in the industry set me up for where I am now. It was about working hard. I am from a certain privilege but she made it clear that you can’t have entitlement, and never take anything for granted but to keep pushing.
What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?
Don’t take people’s opinions too seriously or worry about what other people think.
Gadget – Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Ear Phones for travel – changed my life.
Aftershave – Dior Homme Intense, the 100ml size
Drink – Beavertown Gamma Ray American Pale Ale
App – Sun Seeker, invaluable for photography
Music – Rhye Blood, chilled out melodic rock
Interview Emma Hill