Meet Patrick Tomasso
Unsplash Ambassador, Freelance Designer, Videographer, Foodie, Podcast Producer, Community Leader and (secret) Musician
Some of us, when asked, identify with a specific career. Perhaps as ‘a photographer’ or ‘a chef’. Not so for Unsplash Photographer and Ambassador, Patrick Tomasso. He has managed to fill his life with so many creative pursuits that I find myself wondering if he has magically time-turned a few extra hours into his day.
Patrick is not only one of Unsplash's most followed photographers, but a freelance designer, photographer, videographer, leader of Eaters Collective, producer of the podcast Exploit and musician behind some epic mashups you can find on Soundcloud.
Take a peek at some of the work Patrick has gifted to the Unsplash community.
Patrick's work with Eaters Collective, a community of foodie photographers rallied via Instagram, leaves our mouths watering daily. His tight-knit relationship with food photographers in the Toronto area (and local chefs too) has taken off to create a life of its own (even on Unsplash) .
We took a few minutes to sit down with Patrick to ask him how he fits his many passions into his life.
Can you give the community a brief introduction to what you do?
I come from an advertising background. My last role was as an associate creative director at Mirum and my job was to manage a team of creators and drive analytics strictly for social and digital advertising for companies like Taco Bell, Honda and Stella. Now I get to work with small business and other creators by taking knowledge from working with bigger brands and bringing it to smaller brands. Content is king, people need content and I can bring that to them because I have no overhead. I don’t have an office and tend to be super cost effective.
So, right now I am heading to Toronto shooting a DJ doing a live mix installation in a graffiti store. I will be filming that to turn into a video for YouTube. I get hired for straight production and to create entire social campaigns and websites. I do anything from a mini documentary series down to simple blog style videos.
I also spend a lot of the time behind the scenes. There is Donald Trump and there is a guy or girl on the sidelines who is really pulling the strings. I tend to play that role, from strategy guiding to consulting and helping execute.
Wow you are one busy guy. So with all of this going on, can you tell us why you also give away a portion of your work for free?
Unsplash just helps people make things. That’s ultimately what I want to do. The money will come when you do stuff when you love. A lot of people have a hard time making that association.
You are obviously involved in many creative endeavors beyond photography, one of them is your podcast Exploit. Can you share how you became interested in running a podcast and what the experience has been like?
It really was an experiment that turned into something successful. There is such a low barrier to entry and I absolutely love podcasts. Also, I have production ability to pull it of—editing video is really similar to audio. With my understanding of how to record, I felt like...why not?
I though people would be interested in the conversation, I knew that I could produce it properly and I had figured out the formula to make a solid podcast. Next thing I knew Exploit was top ten in the Apple podcast app and I thought “holy shit this is working.”
There is always a way to do something different, always a way to do something better.
My advice for anyone thinking about starting a Podcast, even if you can just get one episode out—just do it. It proves that the idea is possible. Whether its on Youtube, Soundcloud, Instagram or an official podcast. People might say there are too many people doing it, but there is no such thing. Just go into a liquor store and pick a bottle of wine. Wine makers don't say “there's already too much wine out there.” There is always a way to do something different, always a way to do something better. Can I talk all the elements of these and make something new out of it? Can I make something new out of all of the things I enjoy?
So, in addition to Exploit you also have another side project called Eaters Collective. How did you get interested in food photography and the food scene in general?
It wasn't something that I really planned. I had a good reputation within the social advertising industry because of my work with Stella—I launched their global social channel back when brands weren't even thinking about doing Instagram. Out of necessity I learned how to shoot beer and food. My claim to fame was doing KFC and Pizza Hut on social. At that time it was ridiculous to think about shooting something for a brand with an iPhone. The perception was that you needed a professional that cost 50K to shoot food. Then with mobile phones, the whole idea of “I have to show everyone what I eat today” became a trend. There came a point where I had to sit in front of the CMO and tell them you can’t use your 50K photos, let me show people what your food really looks like. When I started doing it, everyone else started following, putting up ‘authentic photography’. Now its just the norm. Kids with DSLR’s shooting food content.
When I went freelance, my portfolio was full of food related work, so I got contacted by restaurants. Eaters Collective is a group of people that I can send to restaurants that shoot high quality content that isn't expensive. I run it with my girlfriend, we have a great working relationship. We work together really well. She deals with emails but I’ll give tips on how to shoot or say to a photographer “here’s a cool restaurant you should check out.” The opportunities coming through are insane and they all include free meals!
Restaurants are literally being built for Instagram.
On the Eaters Collective Instagram account, we only put up the best of the best that people send in. We got 4,000 followers, completely organically. Our inbox is flooded with people who are trying to join. It could become its own full time job! We are actually seriously thinking about hiring a part time intern.
The truth is, your Instagram is the new website, the new Yelp. People want want to know if your food looks dope and your atmosphere is good. Toronto is in a food bubble, everyone is trying to build something interesting. Restaurants are literally being built for Instagram. They are setting up their environment for social. The success of this is built on being photogenic.
So, tell us more about your ‘stage’ name, Spike Fincher…
So, Spike Fincher was inspired by two of my favorite people—Spike Jones and David Fincher. I really just wanted to make 80’s music. I was born in 89 so I grew up in the 90's. I felt like we were always 10 years behind. Anything we were consuming came out 3 years before. It took a year or two for a VHS to come out after it was in theatres. The idea of inheriting things was much more alive. Everything I consumed was made in the late 80s early 90s. There is a comfort I feel in that time period. I was actually in a few bands back in the day as a drummer. I ended up getting out of that because of photo video.
I got into photography and video because I wanted to build a Myspace. I ended up liking video stuff more than music. 2-3 years ago, I was working at agency at a director level and I realized that I really missed making music. The only time I had was to get a mini keyboard and just make shit with my laptop. I ended up learning Piano from YouTube. I can't read music but I know how to sit there and craft a song. So I started just making random music and it just started to do well. I have actually been booked to play shows! I just do it because I love to make music. All of us 80's kids are trying to bring back elements of our youth. I’ve turned it into an art project. The idea of making under the alias 'Spike Fincher' is so that I can do some weird shit that doesn’t fly on my main accounts. Its kind of a therapeutic side thing, I can do the funky weird stuff and can make a commentary on things as a different person.
When it comes to the music I make, I want people to use it for whatever they please. It's been used in documentaries and all kind of work on youtube. Its my creative commons outlet for music.