Red Riders Drummer Tom Wallace Talks Us Through His Favourite Photographs

Sydney based drummer Tom Wallace (previously of Red Riders and now of Palms) has been studying photography for over a decade now. In that time he has compiled a personal archive of more than 70,000 images while completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) in Photomedia and nearing completion of a Master of Fine Arts in Photomedia.

Focusing on quiet Australian landscapes, complex architectural geometries and solitary objects, a new exhibition of his work will open this Thursday at Sydney’s Mart Gallery and draw from 40,000 images that until recently lay unprocessed in the back of his fridge. Below, Tom took some time to talk us through his favourite images in the collection.

Chair Stacks: This is a pretty early shot for me, taken way back in 2003, in New Zealand. On the flight back from that trip I met a depressed bass player coming to Sydney to join Red Riders.

Floor Files: This photo was taken at a call centre I worked in for what was definitely too long a time. The work was drudgery and I was open to distraction.

Cheese Grater: One of Sydney’s most prominent buildings, Harry Seidler’s “Horizon”, or the Cheese Grater, has found its way into many of my photos. Since taking this photograph I can’t help but see the building as a deconstructed Storm Trooper’s helmet.

Pool Tunnel: Before switching to photography completely I used to paint in a geometric, abstract style like Charles Sheeler or Richard Diebenkorn. This photograph is of the old Prince Alfred Park pool, and reminds me of that type of painting.

Volvo: I love this shot because the subject and the lighting remind of early colour photographers like William Eggleston and Stephen Shore.

Square Lane: When taking a photo I think most of the time I am responding to colour and geometry in the environment, and how it can divide up the viewfinder in a complex and appealing way. This photo was taken in a small town in North Island N.Z.

Road Line: I have loved this photo for years, but only recently discovered in a hi-res scan that the figure in the distance was giving me the finger.

Tom’s exhibition opens Thursday 7th June and finishes Saturday 16th June at Sydney’s Mart Gallery, 156 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney.

All Photos Provided by Tom Wallace