Tom Barnes of Tomba Images:
When asked to put something together explaining what Tomba-Images Photography is, what we do, and how we got here doing what we do, I didn’t realize it would be a trip down memory lane. But of course, to tell stories the fun part is remembering when! For Tomba-Images, while playing with Joes Nikon F for fun, it was January 2002 that I left the corporate world and enrolled in College of DuPage (COD) Photography program. Before getting my degree, I, like most photographers, bounced from subject matter to subject matter. Because of the talented professors at COD, who stressed finding your own style or subject matter, I found that niche in Action Sports.
While photographing the interior of The Garfield Park Field House, I came upon a room with a boxing ring where George Hernandez was training his fighters. I knew I had found my “photography home” and never looked back. Starting off with our humble beginnings at the Garfield Park Gym back in 2002 was the beginning of a business that is 100 % Action Sports. Our primary client list is Professional Boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) promoters, publications such as The Chicago Tribune Hoy Publications Media Group, Ring Magazine, etc. These images are primarily action shots taken at ring side or cage side during matches. When shooting for publications, many times speed of getting files to your editor is extremely important in order to meet Saturday night deadlines. Several times I have been under a ring sending files before a match was over in order to meet an 11:30 PM deadline. Whenever that happens, I always remember in the COD photography program thinking nothing of spending hours, OK, days on one file. Now I better “nail it” in the camera because there’s no time or also many editors will not allow any type of Photoshop work or enhancing.
The photojournalism end of Tomba-Images (photographing Action Sports) is the exciting part and what everyone knows what Tomba does. But in reality it’s approximately 30% of what provides revenue for us. Anyone who has been a photographer since the film days has seen the dynamics of the photojournalism photography business, if not all photography business’s change in the past ten years. While we still sell prints, due to the amazing quality of the “prosumer” cameras available, phone cameras that everyone has, a generation wanting web files rather than hard prints, bloggers who shoot for sports blogs for free, etc., anyone who wants to make photography a full time business better have something special “up their sleeve”. We have been so very fortunate to be able to provide studio portrait services for the fighters that have been present and well accepted by their sponsors. Actually, most of our best work never gets a Tomba logo put on it or has any mention of our name on it but, people in the Action Sports Business know whose work it is!
What does the future hold for Tomba-Images ? Our goal during the next couple years is to promote and increase the “Action Water Sports” end of our repertoire.
To Learn more about Tomba Images and Action Sport Photography, Visit: