Photographer of the Month: Tony Cooney

Hi Guys,

My name is Tony Cooney. I’ve been married to Allison for 22 years, we have two beautiful daughters Hannah and Natalie, and our Dog Scout is a very loved member of the family.

Standing on Aldershot Bridge with both my film and Digital Camera

I’ve always had a camera in my hand from an early age, my first camera was a Kodak 126 which I still have in perfect working order. My first SLR was a Pentax which I bought at the age of 18, this was back in the days of film cameras.

Although I had a love of taking photographs I never really dedicated much time to it on a serious level. In 1990 I moved to Bristol where I soon found myself travelling around the city on my push-bike with a camera slung over my shoulder.

At the age of 22 I joined the Territorial Army as a young Sapper in Bristol, where I trained as a Combat Engineer. It was clear to many that I had an eye for an image and my skills were called upon many times for events and training purposes.

One of the most memorable display of controlled aggression I have ever had the pleasure to witness and photograph. The Kiwi Hacka welcoming The CO of 38 Engr Regt.

In 2003 My Regiment was called to serve in Iraq, where my photography was extensively used to record the Regiments work and activities, weekly shipments of film were sent to and from the UK and many images were used in the papers promoting our work whilst on Tour. I had taken literally thousands of images and every member of the Regiment was sent home with footage of the Tour taken and produced by myself. I bought my first digital camera whilst on a few day’s rest in Kuwait an Olympus 550 which at the time was all singing and all dancing 5megapixels, video and sound.

One of my favourite images from my time in Iraq taken on a short rest break during a Patrol

2004 I did my first wedding for one of the chefs that looked after us so well in Iraq, he practically begged me to do it! From that day on I had a very successful run of regular wedding work shooting both film and digital. I bought my first DSLR in 2007 again an Olympus. I still cover weddings today.

2010 saw wedding work slow to an almost halt so I started to turn my attention to people/models.

Badgering friends and family to pose for me, 2012 I had the opportunity to share a studio space which was a dream come true and gave me the opportunity to home my skills and create a great working relationship with many models and MUA’s. I’ve always been a ‘tog’ but 2012 saw my focus shifted to working with models and creatives.

If I wasn’t a photographer I really don’t know what else I would do as photography is my main passion in life. One day my true ambition is to be a full time photographer.

Many years ago I was inspired by David Bailey, as I’m sure many of us were. Today’s inspiration is taken from many social media groups and the willingness to improve and achieve a high standard of work.

Within the photography world, unfortunately there are some who use their position to abuse or degrade their subjects which is totally unacceptable! I’m a strong believer in safe working environments and references are essential especially to new young models starting out.

The proudest moments of my career so far have to firstly be setting up a small photography business with my Partner Toni, Tt Visuals. We offer a wide range of services from weddings, family portraits and even corporate events, we have been partners for 3 years now and the business is becoming recognised as offering a first class service at realistic prices.

Melissa one of our newest members of the team.

My second proudest moment is the setting up of The Dream Team where any one can join in, have fun and learn about photography and modelling. We have a very diverse Team of all ages and ability and it’s a great fun place to work. We shoot every month with a different theme and its very rewarding to see the quality of images produced by the Team.

Members of the Team will source their own costumes for Shoots, models featured Ashleigh Claire and Keith Bristow

My professional goals for this year are to increase Tt Visuals business and profile, personal goals are to see the continued growth and success of The Dream Team.

I think the modelling Industry is slowly pulling away from size zero models and you see many more ‘The Girl Next Door’ style of models in advertising. There is still a long way for the Industry to go before it shows true representation of every day folk. The latest ad campaign by Dove is a brilliant example of changes in industry attitudes.

Many of the social media groups I’m a member of have a very diverse range of models to work with all ages, shapes and sizes.

Model Paul Walker

One thing I would love to see change is the role of the Male model, there are far too few of them around. The ones I have worked with have all been brilliant. We need to encourage more male models to step in front of the camera!

Model Matt Matrix Price

Model Eddy Shore shot with Toni Hasell

I will continue to support charity Fundraising events where ever possible, Project Brailler, Cams Smile, and of course the amazing Fundraising efforts of Daz Rocks 4 Charity and not forgetting Walking With The Wounded where I walk every day in December to help the wounded and homeless ex-service men and women.

I never tire of working with wonderful and creative people so keep your eyes peeled for a few creative projects coming up very soon.

Model Claire Hindle Body Artist Claudia L Spoto

Model Caroline Hutchins on Thunder, MUA Bridget Esmonde shot with Toni Hasell

Model Kelly Wolf Rogers MUA Florian Grey a creative Team shot with Toni Hasell and Mike Martin.

#KristyHooper #Interview #Issue2

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