About Broadbentius

I'm a portrait photographer based in London

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

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Over the weekend I received a rather wonderful email from the Royal Academy of the Arts. It started with, “We are delighted to inform you” My dear friend I think you’ll find that I am more delighted than you..:-))

Earlier this year I entered Syrrus and Lupestripe having a barbecue in Leeds into the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I had put in two pictures from the series over the past two years and been shortlisted once, so I thought there was a decent chance of getting into the actual exhibition. Especially seeing as the curator is the artist and sculptor, Grayson Perry and its the big one, the 250th year of it running.

Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017
Syrrus, a fox and Lupestripe, a wolf having a barbecue in Leeds, 2017

These things are always a bit of a lottery so having already been shortlisted, I was a bit overwhelmed and blown away to receive the email that said the picture has been selected.  With that of course it means that the furry project is now at the top table of the art world^^ For those that don’t know the exhibition, it’s possibly the biggest and most prestigious open art exhibition in the world. It opens on June 12th and will be on show until August 19th at the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Here’s some more information about it https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/summer-exhibition-2018

This is obviously fantastic and furtastic news, especially seeing as At Home With The Furries will be published later on this year and on that note..

At the end of April  I visited the illustrator, Dane Marinkovic and we finished off the sketchbook pages. This extensive section at the back of the book consists of handwritten notes, additional photographs and illustrations relating to all the furries I’ve photographed for the project.  Included is a text from Uncle Kage as well as anecdotes, thoughts and stories from the furries featured.

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For the rest of the book, the design and text is nearly there, last week I finalised the design with Roger Fawcett-Tang from Struktur Design. I am so happy with how it all looks, feels and flows.

Roger also made a miniature version of the book, which really is a thing of beauty.

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The book is being published through the imprint, Stay Free Publishing and as such is now available to pre-order through the website. Rob Clayton is a photographer I’ve exhibited with and he self-published his book, Estate in 2015. Check it out here, copies are still available to buy. We decided to make At Home With The Furries the second book that Stay Free will publish. Stay Free is dedicated to publishing the best British photography projects.

The book will be published in September this year.

Pre-order a copy of At Home With The Furries click here

To buy Rob Clayton’s book, Estate click here

The Royal Academy Summer Show click here

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It’s a furtastic feeling, it’s Friday and the furs are fully funded!

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Yesterday morning (April 5th) just before 8am, the Kickstarter campaign came to an end. It was a very dramatic last week and it finished, I’m pleased and also extremely grateful to report fully funded. There are 205 superb supporters of At Home With The Furries, time for a furry conga…

London Furries Winter Ball

The target I set at the beginning of the campaign was reached early on Wednesday morning, a good 24 hours before the deadline, so this is a double celebration.

A special thanks to all the supporters who not only pledged, but also tweeted, shared and mentioned the campaign to everyone they know. Thanks to you, we managed to get this over the line.  I’ll be writing about the campaign and book plans in more detail over the coming weeks.

In the meantime here’s a few pictures from the beginning of the project, at RBW 2008 to photoshoots, selfies and more. There are some great memories here, shoots with dragons, rabbits, demon lords and bats to name a few.

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If you missed out on the campaign and would like to pre-order a copy of the book, At Home With The Furries, you will be able to do that via Stay Free Publishing next week.

I’ll be talking about the furry project at FFEATURED 15, on April 19th at The Signal in Forest Hill, South East London, tickets available here

In the meantime, connect with me:

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Thanks fur all your support

Tom

Fursday Kickstarter Update

I feel like we are heading into the home straight now, At Home With The Furries is 73% funded with 132 backers and six days left to pledge. So don’t hesitate, please support the project. It’s an all or nothing campaign, that is if we don’t make the target, the book is a bust. All being well, that won’t be the case. So pledge, pledge, pledge..:-)))

At Home With The Furries

Saethwr, a dragon from Cardiff. Available as a pledge through the Kickstarter as a limited edition print, comes with a signed copy of the book and set of four postcards, £85

Time Out featured the project and an interview with me on their website today, see link I recall my first encounter with the furries at RBW, which set me on the path to where I am today.

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“It took Broadbent around a year of going to furry meetups in London – which can sometimes attract as many as 200 people – and building up trust with members of the community before he began photographing them in their houses. ‘Now, many of them have become my good friends – I’ve even worn a borrowed furry suit myself many times – and the response has been phenomenal, both from the furry community, many of whom have pledged money towards it and other people and media outlets.’

There are more than just London based furs in the book of course, most of the furries I’ve worked with in this project live outside the capital.

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Furry tote bag, signed book and set of four postcards, £70 through the Kickstarter. Additional options include a limited edition print of Saethwr the red dragon for £115.

Dog Patch Press also featured the project on their website today, see link,  it has a short interview with me and some lovely words from the editor, Patch O’Furr who has been a supporter of the project over the years.

From Patch “Tom Broadbent has been staging creative fursuit photography for many years. I covered him in: Five pro photographers advancing the art of furry documentary. For each I named a signature approach, and to me, Tom excels at “whimsy”. His carefully chosen fantasy scenes show a depth of intrigue and storytelling beyond conventional scenes. Tom takes great care with relationships with his subjects. I think he’s the ideal photographer that furries could ask for.

That’s why I’m rushing out a post on short notice to urge support for his project. Tom has a dream to showcase furry subjects in a photo book, a beautiful archival object. It’s a few days from the Kickstarter deadline, and of course the funding is all or nothing.

We’ll know on April 4. I usually avoid covering crowdfunding – so this is an unusual request.”

I also talk about the importance of sticking to principles and not compromising in the quest to only have the work shown in the best places, it’s a good read. Thanks Patch

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A sample of the rainbow coloured fur being used to make the slipcases. For £100, you can choose a Custom Creatures designed slipcase with a signed book and set of four postcards. Additional options include a limited edition print of Lupestripe and Syrrus the fox having a barbecue in Leeds for £140.

In exhibition news, one of the images has been shortlisted by the Royal Academy for their Summer Exhibition, which is very exciting. I’ll hear whether we made the cut in late May.

Here’s the Kickstarter link, all book supporters get their name or chosen name (i.e fursona) in the back of the book.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries?ref=bpoi2h

The campaign ends on Thursday 5th April at 7.42am

Links

Time Out feature

Dog Patch Press

The Kickstarter Campaign

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It’s that Furday feeling..again

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Friday is a special day for the furries, there’s a tradition of posting photographs on social media under the hashtag fursuitfriday, (#fursuitfriday) Have a look and see what my fellow fuzzies are up to!

London Furries Winter Ball

A classic #fursuitfriday image of Marshall

In campaign news, the At Home With The Furries Kickstarter is now up to 44% backed with 85 supporters, there are 19 days left so worth getting pledges in sooner rather than later. One thing that’s worth mentioning is that the funds are only taken from backers at the end of the campaign, April 5th. And that’s assuming the target is met, no target, no money and that’s the end of the story. But we don’t want to do that, oh no! Fingers and paws crossed. Click here

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The furries are hugging to get this project over the line

In publicity news, Cosmopolitan interviewed me for their website (the US version) and did a really nice job with the feature. The conversation took place over the phone and I’m pleased that the journalist Kaitlin Menza included my anecodotes about furries, scalies and featheries. Thanks to the photo editor, Kathleen Kamphausen for organising that. See here

At Home With The Furries

Lupus Londonwolf and Alfa Fox

Finally, I was pleased to hear from an old friend, Wolfy who I got to know at one of my very first furmeets in London. It was one of those classic situations where I was with some friends and I noticed he was on his own, we got chatting and it turned out he knew me through the magazine, Bizarre ( I used to be the photo editor there) he was a keen reader and we have kept in touch since through social media and the odd furmeet and convention. He backed the book this week and tweeted the following.

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Wolfy by the artist-VHSrat

Art by VHSrat

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I asked Wolfy about the furry fandom and what it meant to him
“Before (the furries) I had no social life. Struggled like hell with people and often had panic attacks. It wasn’t until I started to go to furry meets that I actually felt connected with people. For the most part the people were friendly and welcoming and very understanding. I still struggle at times in crowds but I have been to conventions, done furry camping. Things that would have scared the hell out of me 10 years ago”
To support the Kickstarter campaign to turn  At Home With The Furries into a published photobook, have a look here and thanks
There are plenty of fantastic rewards available, postcards, limited edition prints, the book and lots of actual fur, including slipcases and tote bags. You can pledge any amount to back the campaign. Click here and let Pazuzu tell you more
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Furday update-At Home With The Furries Kickstarter

Straight off the bat, I am so grateful to each and every one of you who have backed, shared and mentioned the At Home With The Furries book Kickstarter campaign so far. This book is about communicating a thought I had nearly ten years ago, I had no idea then that I would be now sitting here writing a blog post about how privileged I am to have this level of support for the project.

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To break it down into numbers, we launched on Tuesday at 8am and since then 67 amazing people have pledged just over £3000, putting us just shy of 33% of the total required to publish the book. The campaign closes on April 5th.

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A sample of the fur being used by Curious Creatures to make the furry slipcases. One of the campaign rewards

It was always my intention to publish a book of the work, and every magazine feature, exhibition, website and press article that has been published in the subsequent years since I started the project helped me along towards that goal.

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From the Absolut Manifesto Festival, Madrid, January 2018

I should add at this point that this project has been and is only possible because I have the support of the furries themselves.  Those who have featured in the book of course,  but also those who I’ve met more widely, through for example social media, sometimes following that up in person at furry meets and conventions. Perhaps furries who have visited from abroad and we’ve met for a coffee, a tea or a pint.

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Shooting the film for the Kickstarter campaign with Syrrus Fox and Lupestripe

The project has grown organically, through being given the nod by furries I had photographed, and other furs I met at meets and on walks. In 2013 when The Sunday Times Magazine featured the project, I had no idea that I was only halfway through at that point. Since then, Saethwr, Fangorn, Rebel, Pazuzu, Bucky, Zepp, Blacksnip, Edward Fuzzypaws and many more furs have allowed me to go to their homes and make portraits of them.

At Home With The Furries

Edward Fuzzypaws, a poodle and Teddy, a labradoodle in their drawing room

There are plenty of great rewards, postcards, limited editions prints, furry tote bags, furry slipcases and of course the book! Check out the campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram

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At Home With The Furries Kickstarter

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Today I launch a Kickstarter to self-publish At Home With The Furries as my first book.

At Home With The Furries

The intention with At Home With The Furries has always been to publish a book of the work. I felt back in 2008 when I initially started working with Smirnoff, Lupus, Alfa, Lupestripe, Broccoli, Chill and Zuki that there weren’t really any portrayals of the furries in the media that were balanced or fair and so my approach was to address that with my photography.  My plan was to do something that although quirky, the idea of placing a furry in a domestic setting, the overarching feeling was to laugh with them, not at them. I was more interested in building a relationship with the furries I photographed, and indeed that happened quite naturally. I was a stranger, an outsider to this world and yet I could not have been welcomed more warmly into people’s houses.

At Home With The FurriesThe project over the years has received some wonderful feedback, not least from furries themselves. One confided to me that having seen the feature in The Sunday Times Magazine (March 2013), it gave him the confidence to go to his first furry meet and make friends. For me personally a watershed moment was seeing Smirnoff, the husky wolf, the first picture I took for the project, feature in the book by Paul Lowe, 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die. Mainly to see my work alongside work by photographers such as Leonard Freed, Eve Arnold, Susan Meisalas, Simon Norfolk and Sandy Skoglund (photographers I studied at college and university) spurred me on to move ahead with the Kickstarter to self-publish the book.

The key to any successful Kickstarter is to put together a great video and its thanks mostly to two furries who have become close friends and supporters of the project over the years. Pazuzu and Lupestripe. The idea of shooting a short film about the furries had been on my mind for a while and so the thought of bringing the furry project to life on film seemed like a logical next step. You can see the campaign video here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

In 2016 I attended a book making workshop with Aron Morel at Photofusion, it was there that I was challenged to decide what my vision for a photobook would be of the project. Since then, the concept has become more fleshed out and everything about the book reflects the nature of the project. The cover, the paper stock, the materials, the design, the writing, the photography and the rewards for the crowdfunder.

At Home With The Furries

Alexandra Tomlin, a professional animator and illustrator, designed the cover.

The cover will be a flock (felt) material and the plan is for the design to be foil blocked onto the surface.

The designer is Roger Fawcett-Tang of Struktur Design, I’ve worked with Roger for many years on book projects.

The book will also contain an essay by Laura Noble, she has written a wonderful piece about the project.

It will also have a text by Uncle Kage, the chairman of Anthrocon, a Pittsburgh based furry convention. It’s also one of the biggest furry conventions in the world with attendees numbering some 5000 every year.

There will also be additional illustrations inside the book alongside thoughts, words and quotes from the furries themselves.

At Home With The Furries

It is being printed in Turkey by Ufuk Sahin, a leading photobook printer.

The rewards for pledging include postcards, limited edition prints, furry tote bags, furry slipcases and of course the book itself. All book pledgers get their name/chosen name in the back of the book as a supporter.

I will be posting many more updates over the next 30 days as the campaign goes on.

In the meantime, here’s a link to the campaign. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/466109304/at-home-with-the-furries

Thanks for any support you can give the project.

Tom

Links:

At Home With The Furries Kickstarter Campaign

My website

My blog

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

Absolut Manifesto Festival

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Last month I received a lovely email asking me if I would like to be a collaborator to a new music and art festival in Madrid end of January sponsored by Absolut.

They were interested in the furry project and since it hasn’t been shown in a physical space outside of the U.K, I thought why not!

The themes of the festival; equality, love and responsibility to the future resonate with the reasoning and ethics behind At Home With The Furries. Plus they revealed their intention to print eight images absolutely huge. Each one six feet tall, from a scaffold.

There’s also the added excitement of the fact that local furries from Madrid will be in attendance, which is always helpful in bringing the work to life.  We did this with Fix Photo where some of the actual furries in the project suited up for the launch party of the exhibition. The word I received back from attendees was that my work was the best part of the exhibition, I’m not biased honest.

But what are the #furries you ask, what is your project, what the fur is going on?

Read this  and this  and also this

At Home With The Furries

Jester, a sergal and Red, a lion play a game of tabletop roleplay in Sheffield

 

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I’m headlining mum

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Zuki, the gargoyle, Milton Keynes

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I’ll be heading out there to see the work in the flesh or the fur, so to speak. Plus I’m also planning to meet with a few local furries to work on some new shoots. Because when in Rome…or Madrid you have to go the whole hog!

The date for your diaries is 26th January 2018 and the event runs from 9pm-1am. Address is: PABELLÓN SATÉLITE
Calle Ferial, 9. Casa de campo.
28011, Madrid.

More information and tickets are available here

At Home With The Furries can be seen here

My Instagram for the latest updates, here