As is often the case, we stumbled upon the unique work of Thomas Pitois – who works under the nom de plume of Thomas Fotomas – while scrolling around Instagram. Intrigued, we reached out to Thomas and he was kind enough to respond and answer a few of our questions and share his unique application of photo and art.
There was a bit of a language barrier but we got through it and we hope you enjoy his work. There are a few links below to purchase some of his work if you so desire.
What Youth: Born and raised?
Thomas Fotomas: I’m was born in the ’80s near Paris and then lived in Hossegor for 10 years, where I began to surf and got into surf photography. I now live in Bordeaux. I love to surf when it’s offshore but it’s a problem for me to choose between the photo or the glide. I leave my board when the waves are over two meters or too many surfers in the water.
WY: Tell us a little about the procces you use.
TF: I simply draw the lines with a pen on my graphic tablet onto my photography.
WY: How did you start combining photos and art?
TF: I started this kind of photo/art in 2015 with a boat and a plane then just for fun I tried it with a surfer. Then in 2017, to stand out and make different artwork, I posted some work on social media. I thought people would only like ordinary surf photography so I kept my work just for me. Last year one of my works buzzed around on Instagram so now I do only lines!
WY: Are there any other artists that inspire your work?
TF: No, because I create my own art and I am self-taught. I want to do different things and I don’t l want to do the same of other artists who want to make the same lines as me.
WY: Do you work with specific surfers or just shoot whoever?
TF: Yes, I shoot everyone, amateur or pros and I just selected the good light, sandbanks, barrels, and good style on the board. I’d prefer to shoot an amateur during the sunset with mountains and swell than a star surfer who has all photographers focused on him.
WY: We added a link below to buy your work but is it for sale in galleries as well?
TF: I sell my artwork in two web galleries, one here in Europe and one in the US. I also do personal requests on my Instagram page.
WY: Have you done any commercial work with a surf brand?
TF: No, not yet but I hope to one day!
WY: Are there any surf photographers who inspire you?
TF: I like to follow the work of Helio Antonio from Nazare and Tommy Pierucky because they are locals photographers and they take only local photos. Hawaii and Portugal waves are the dream.
WY: Before COVID did you travel much and create art?
TF: For me, travel starts when the landscape changes. And being in France it’s easy and Spain is my Eldorado! I don’t like to take a plane as I think it’s a huge problem of consumption. I also prefer to represent the local waves. I think we need to live and do stuff simply with what we have close to us and don’t search around the world for what we have one minute down the road. I love the ocean and earth and it hurts me to act irresponsible which on a global scale could destroy the balance of the elements. When it’s flat, I skate. I understand people who take planes and such but to fly a lot in one year is a little bit of a crime against humanity. Like eating meat/fish every day or changing shoes every month.
WY: Well put Thomas. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and work with us.