If you’re a regular reader of the Baltimore Guide, then you’ve no doubt seen Tom Scilipoti’s photos published in our pages.
In addition to our gratitude for his continued contributions, the Guide would like to extend our congratulations to Tom for winning first place in the “Flora” category of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2012 Photo Contest. He won himself a State Park Passport good through the end of 2013.
Tom agreed to an informal interview with the Guide.
What was your winning photo?
Tom: It was a log. It’s a log in wild grass. I took it down near Ocean City.
Do you visit Maryland’s state parks frequently?
Tom: With a free pass, I might go more often.
How long have you been taking pictures?
Tom: Since 1947 or 48. That’s a long time—you’ll give my age away! I had a whole studio (Thomas Studio) on Eastern Ave. for 45 years. I shot for different magazines. I had a boat and I used to do a lot of marine photography. Plus, I did a lot of politicians and everything, you know.
What’s your favorite thing to shoot?
Tom: I like marine, because I had access to a boat. I like sports, too. I like the action shots.
Did you ever study photography in school?
Tom: No, I did it from the ground up, the hard way, trial and error. I got started at CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) at St. Leo’s Church. There was a priest there named Father Joe. He taught me the basics—a little of the darkroom work, and what have you. I got interested in it, and it took off from there.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in becoming a photographer?
Tom: It’s a lot of work. (Laughs) Today, everybody’s got a cell phone. You go to a wedding, and everybody’s got a cell phone, shooting pictures. It’s hard today.
I would say if you’re interested, join a good camera club, and you’ll get a lot of info from the camera club. I was a member of the Baltimore Camera Club, one of the oldest in the country. We had a lot of good photographers in it.
by Erik Zygmont