Thom Bleasdale's Rare Photograph of the Soul Leaving the Body at Centrespace Bristol

By Ben Miller | 20 July 2012
A photo of a young skateboarder balancing on his skateboard on a ramp outdoors
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
Exhibition: Thom Bleasdale – A Rare Photograph of the Soul Leaving the Body, Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, July 27 – August 3 2012

A skateboarder, surfer, DJ and prodigious photographer, Thom Bleasdale suffered from severe asthma as a child and, following misdiagnosis and poorly chosen treatments, lost much of his 20s to illness.

A photo of a child skateboarding down a concrete path surrounded by greenery
Bleasdale shows his skateboarding skills at the tender age of nine
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
As a result, his art, he says, stems from a place of “isolation, pain and exhaustion." But it also represents a highly original perspective on the world from a man who moonlights as an accomplished close-up magician and hypnotherapist.

“The pieces are mainly about my view on life and my attempt to convince myself that death isn’t terrifying,” he explains.

“Some of the pieces show living to its fullest extent, and others demonstrate aspects of life that are often unnoticed, but are much more significant than they first appear.”

Often of beautiful wildlife, frequently on the photogenic pastime of skateboarding and occasionally autobiographical (a snapshot of him balanced on a board as a nine-year-old), Bleasdale’s photos have earned notable praise.

“His photographs are so distinctive that I recognise them from his style alone,” says Jim Goodrich, a staff photographer and artist for Skateboarder Magazine who calls Bleasdale’s images “true art in every respect.”

“He frequently shoots the most simple scenes, yet each image tells a deeper story and moves the viewer to feel something. His insight is evident in every photo.”

“This exhibition is mostly about life and death in that all the pieces relate to that subject, but I’m trying to put a positive sense of calm among the concepts,” adds the multitalented artist.

“The skateboarding photos are an exhibition of life and living life to the highest possible degree, and my other photographs are all about, in various ways and on various levels, life and death, living and dying, even if that link is sometimes not obvious.

“Some of my pieces are very blatantly what they are, some are quite subtle, and some of them are stories that I want to tell.

“Some of them are pieces that make me feel something very specific and I want to try and communicate that, or cause those feelings in other people.

“I want people to look at my work and feel the kinds of things I feel when I look at the works of art that I love. I just hope people like it and ‘get' it."

More pictures:

A photo looking upwards at a bright blue sky with two bridge arches shooting forward
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
A photo of a small black insect sitting on one of the petals of a bright yellow flower
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
A photo taken from the sea of the calm blue waves reaching out to a surfer ahead
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
A photo of a rainbow against a dark blue cloudy sky with raindrops falling in front of it
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
A photo of a young man sitting on a soft sandy beach as a light blue sea hits the shore
© Thom Bleasdale Photos
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