About Tom Epperson
With his constant craving for adventure, insatiable appetite for creative media and vigorous desire to immerse in different cultures, American photographer Tom Epperson, in his countless interpretations, has helped revolutionize the vast landscape of art and photography wherever the tide took him.
Although currently based in Manila, which has been his home since 1985, Tom was actually born in Cleveland, Ohio. He got his first camera at the age of 11, but would not begin studying photography until he reached 18. In those years, Tom is also into surfing, and would spend the better part of his youth traveling throughout the United States and other parts of the world. It was in his stop at Hawaii that he got a call to work for Hanna Barbera as a cameraman, which turned out to be the beginning of a long and meaningful stint in the animation industry.
His transition from animation to photography was not without complexity, as he had to uproot himself from his native land and move to more exotic locations such as Australia, Korea and the Philippines before realizing his true calling. In 1985, Tom was sent to the Philippines by Burbank Films, a Sydney-based animation studio he used to work for, to help set up a studio in Manila while teaching the proper use of an animation camera under a three-month contract. This unexpectedly turned into three years before returning once again to Australia. After reading an article in American Photo about French-born photojournalist and war photographer Katherine Leroy, whose life story had so inspired him, Tom instantly decided to quit his job in animation, a job that spanned 14 years, to become a photographer.
After working as a freelance photo assistant in Sydney for two years with photographers who were into a wide variety of disciplines such as fashion, food, still life and commercial work, Tom headed back to Manila in 1990 to help run another studio. He brought along his portfolio and on the side, visited a few agencies to merely test the waters on his newfound pursuit. He was immediately hired by a design agency. After a year, Tom left the agency to set up his own studio, Tom Epperson Photography, which, in the last 19 years, has been a recognizable name in the field both here and abroad.
Tom’s first major exhibition entitled “One Light” was held at the Ayala Museum on October 18, 2005. It featured 55 portraits taken over the course of the past 20 years of people from all walks of life shot using only one light source. Socialites, musicians, actors, businessmen, family and ordinary folks were exhibited. His second exhibition was called “Frozen,” an event sponsored by BMW Philippines, which consisted of about 40 images of a variety of flowers frozen in water. His most notable exhibit is his "12 Below" show which was held in Tyler Rollins Gallery in New York City.
Tom is married to a Filipina, Jenni, and has a daughter named Aryanna and a son named Dylan Finn. He still surfs and plays the harmonica for a local Filipino blues band, The Blue Rats.
Nike (Manny Pacquiao Campaign) , Puma, Fila, Payless, BMW, L’Oreal, Uniliver, Levi’s, Pizza Hut, Shakey’s, Harvard Magazine, Habitus Magazine-Australia, Timex, Philippine Airlines, SeaAir, San Miguel Corporation, SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merill LLP), Ayala Corporation, SM Corporation, Fil-Estate, Filinvest, Aboitiz, CTSI, Globe, PLDT, Shangri-la Hotel & Resorts-Asia Amanpulo Resort, The Manila Peninsula Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, Pan-Pacific, Mandarin, Sofitel Hotel , Solaire, and Marriott Hotel
One Light- October –November 2005, Glass Tower Ayala Museum, Makati City Philippines
Frozen I - 2007, BMW
12 Below – April 2009, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York NY and June 2010, Nova Gallery Manila
Frozen II – April 2010, The Gallery M, Makati Shangri-La, Philippines
12 Below - Sept 2011, Nova Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
City- December 2011, Now Gallery, Makati City Philippines