The first memory Bryce Thomas has of being captivated by photography is on a field trip in the middle years of school. Rather than documenting the trip as assigned he instead turned the lens on his friends, who he found much more interesting. “I was telling my friends, ‘Go over there. Let me get a photo of you here.’ It was meant to be quite documentary, but then I started doing my own thing,” reflects Bryce.
His fascination with people and capturing their personality remains a part of Bryce’s work today. He still takes photos of friends, but these days the film spends more time undeveloped in a box under his bed while he’s busy working with publishers and clients like GQ, 10 Men and, of course, Nique.
Although many would think of him as a fashion photographer given his recent work, Bryce isn’t so quick to label himself exclusively. “When I started taking photos I wasn't a fashion photographer. Now I'd say it's like portrait-meets-fashion. I'm not too hype on shooting models in fashion. But when it's a real person in style — let's do it!”
It’s this type of portraiture through a fashion lens, where real characters are heightened yet remain honest, that has quickly become a signature of Bryce’s work and a reason he’s so indemand. It’s also what made him the perfect collaborator to capture our U-Nique campaign and photograph campaign stars, Amy and Joshua Dowdle. Bryce’s uncanny ability to connect with a subject and allow them to project their identity is perfectly exemplified by the commanding shots of the sibling duo throughout the campaign.
Increasingly though it’s the technical side of photography that has been occupying Bryce’s thoughts. A slight tendency towards perfectionism means he’s been thinking about how to see his creative vision through from beginning to end. “I really don't like it if I don't get to finish the process. That really irks me because I feel like it's not finished and I don't want people to see it,” he explains.
The solution, he thinks, might lie in a new skill, “I've just started learning about hand printing in the dark room. It’s pretty crazy, you need a bathtub to warm up the chemicals and paper and an enlarger and stuff.”
With so much already going on in his career it’s hard to imagine he would have the time, but that’s the thing about Bryce — everything is treated with a casual precision and care. From photos of friends on a field trip, to magazine covers, to developing photos in a bathtub.