Spring 2024 Customer Spotlight – Tom Jolly

Welcome to our thirty-sixth Bergen County Camera Customer Spotlight. This seasonal posting features a customer who’s made an impression on us. They might have grown in their understanding of photography, gained a mastery of the craft and / or have become a strong advocate of our way of doing business in the world of photography. During the next few months you will see this customer’s images displayed on our digital signs in store, in our emails, blog posts and social media.  

Tom Jolly is our customer spotlight for the 2024 Spring season. We hope you both enjoy and are inspired by this new addition to In Focus and look forward to your comments and suggestions. Below you will find a bit about Tom, and a gallery containing some of Tom’s images.

Photography has been an important part of my life since I can remember, starting with my first camera before I was 10. Growing up in Tennessee and Pittsburgh, I photographed family, friends and sports events, and then spent hours in the darkroom, thrilling at the sight of my images emerging in the dim light. 

As time went on, though, my own photography gradually took a backseat to my career as a journalist, even as photography in the larger sense remained an important part of my job: I was Sports Editor at The New York Times and currently manage the team that designs and edits the newspaper.

But then around 2017, my daughter took up hockey. I started shooting her games and sharing the photos with the families of her teammates. They were appreciative, but I wanted to do better, so I started asking questions at Bergen County Camera, coming to the Focus Sessions on Saturday mornings, taking advantage of guest presentations there by the likes of Jean Fruth (backgrounds! shadows!) and Rick Gerrity (faces!) and learning from the many talented photographers who are regulars at BCC. 

Early on, Paul Carretta said something to me that hit home: “The best way to get better is to keep shooting pictures.”

It occurred to me that sports events represent a programmed way of doing that since they’re scheduled, they feature fast action, competitive passion and fresh storylines. It’s no surprise given my daughter’s interest that hockey has turned into one of my favorite subjects – and I always keep John Currens’s guidance in mind: “Get the puck in the picture.” 

Before long, I was getting requests to shoot all kinds of sports around the area. As those opportunities grew, I asked the former New York Times photographer Jose Lopez if he would critique my work and he has become a gracious mentor. Separately, my friend Ashok Ginde and I created a photography club that meets once a month at the Hillsdale Library. It’s a great opportunity to exchange ideas and inspire each other. (Let me know if you’re interested!)

In fact, in many ways, the community of photographers I’ve gotten to share a part in is as rewarding as the work itself. 

That makes me all the more appreciative of Bergen County Camera for featuring my work here. If you’d like to see more of it, you can find me on Instagram @tom.jolly.photography and on my website at tomjollyphotography.com

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