The bigger picture
Tristan Kermode finished university with a plan. He graduated with a degree in product design but was more interested in pursuing his love of photography.
The London-based content creator went freelance to build his portfolio, hoping it would be strong enough to land him a full-time job at a London agency. But in the past week, he has booked trips to Spain, Bermuda, France, Africa and Croatia.
“I was only going to do freelance for a couple of months while looking for other jobs. Freelance really picked up,” the 23-year-old said.
“When I finished boarding school [at Wellington College] I didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew that I liked design, so I went to university with that intention. Through that, photographing the products and finding Photoshop and Illustrator, I found photography.”
In his second year at the University of Sussex, he built a drone from scratch.
“It was a gift for my brother but I ended up using it more,” he confessed of the 2015 project.
“That was where my fascination for photography came from. I’d always done it but that rekindled the spark — to want to take aerial imagery.
“Back then it was a GoPro attached to a receiver and you’re waiting for the reception; flying with that was very tricky. You only got five minutes of flight time. Fast forward to now and the one I have fits in the palm of my hand. It flies for half an hour and takes pictures of the same quality as my iPhone. It’s an incredible tool.”
His aerial shots have given him an edge over other photographers, but he believes the two go “hand in hand”.
“It’s such an incredible perspective, especially how far it has come along in the few years,” he said.
Underwater housing is the newest addition to his kit.
He used the set-up while shooting last weekend’s triathlon with Burnt House Productions.
“That project was cool because I was capturing something I’d never done — a sporting event,” said Mr Kermode, who was working both a digital video and stills camera to capture the event.
“That presented a unique challenge to me. It was intense, quick, instant. When you’re presented with a challenge you get a much better sense of fulfilment when you produce.”
While he started as a photographer, he said his work now leant more towards video.
“I enjoy the creative process of video more,” he said. “The aspect of capturing movement, feeling and emotion.”
He has travelled to Morocco and Cornwall with the surf travel company Sponsurf. Next month he will join them again in the South of France before documenting a charity bike ride from Zambia to Zimbabwe and photographing Yacht Week in Croatia.
“Photography has definitely taken me to some cooler places than product design ever could,” he laughed.
His day-to-day is taken up with reaching out to new clients, processing images. He travels back to Bermuda “sporadically”.
“In Bermuda you get these beautiful vibrant colours and tones. I’ve stuck with that.
“I really like bringing out the best in a photograph, making it eye-catching and vivid. I love the contrast between the turquoise and the greens at home. It’s hard to replicate in London.”
His Bermuda clients include travel experience app Winnow, jeweller 1609 Design and charter companies Sail Bermuda and Rising Son.
“My initial thought with this year of freelance was to create a stronger portfolio of work to then later on this year go full-time at a creative agency media outlet or production house. But I’m very much going to see where I’m at towards the end of the summer and whether or not there’s still the same amount of clients,” he said. “If I get booked up to the end of the year and can keep it sustained, then I’ll keep going.
“It changes very rapidly. I’ve always seen myself working full-time to get some industry experience but if the freelancing goes as well as it’s going, then who knows?”
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