Career Analysis: Photographer Tommy Ton

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Queen Elizabeth School park.


I have realized I tend to comment from the female perspective. Sorry fellas, I do not mean to leave you out I simply write what I know best. I want to remedy this by shedding some bright light on a fantastic contributor to the world of fashion. Ladies and gentlemen, please get to know the incomparable Tommy Ton.

Tommy who? Tommy Ton. Ton may be best know for his work as a street style photographer. Style.com and GQ.com regularly commission his work on their sites. He covers all the fashion weeks in the most stylish cities in the world including Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto, London, and most recently, the inaugural Men’s Fashion week in New York City.

Known for his detailed shots (rather than a shot of the entire outfit, head to toe) he carved out a niche for himself early in his career. Over the years he has become THE street style photographer staple for many shows. His perspective has become essential to the candid coverage outside the shows that is often times just as exciting as the shows themselves. 

He explains his work to style.com

"From the get-go, my intention was to emphasize shoes and details. At the time, there wasn't much of a focus on how women were accessorizing, so I wanted to fetishize that through my images."

"It wasn't a deliberate strategy to cut off someone's head—I was interested in body language and how the women I was photographing would eloquently text their driver or search for something in their purse despite being in a frantic rush. It felt energizing to me to see how someone would accent their stack of bracelets with their statement clutch."

"Before focusing on the woman behind the clothes, it was about the clothes and celebrating fashion."

"I originally set out to observe and document these women as if I were on safari. I never wanted to stop and speak to these individuals that I looked up to, but eventually they started recognizing me and knew what type of images I was trying to capture. So they didn't feel that I was being invasive and trusted me as I documented them running from show to show."

He has over 99,000 Twitter followers, 228,000 and counting on Instagram, and a robust Tumblr account. The most impressive numbers may be his paycheck. He does very well as he is one of the highest paid street style photographers out there.

If his portfolio or social media gaggle isn’t enough to impress you know this: he’s Canadian. Like all Canucks, we love to celebrate our own simply for being Canadian. Celebrate Tommy Ton you should.

From his social media posts and a 5-year retrospective posted last fall, I suspect it may the end of era for him. I will be keenly watching closely for what he transitions to next.