Tony Cobley – South West Commercial Photographer


Born in Leicester, then moved to South Devon in 1991, Tony Cobley has been a passionate photographer since he received his first “proper camera” at the age of twelve. Combining his passion for image making and the beautiful landscapes he decided at the age of thirty that he wanted to pursue a career in photography. Cobley enrolled at Plymouth College of Art to study FdA Photography and BA (Hons) Photography and graduated in 2008. Tony Cobley Photography began trading in April 2005, covering all areas of Devon & Cornwall including Plymouth, Exeter, Saltash, Torbay, the South Hams, West Devon and North Devon.

Tony Cobely had the kindness to come into Plymouth College of Art as a visiting lecturer for the first year photography students, and provided us with a first hand insight into the commercial photography career. During his time at Plymouth College of art the photographic industry was evolving into the digital era. He told us how how he worked with the college marketing department taking photographs for the college, which gave him an opportunity to experiment with commercial photography and gave him the chance to further build his portfolio. During the lecture he provided us with a lot of useful tips for getting into the industry;

 – “The better your portfolio, the more you get paid. The more you do, the more you get paid.”

 – “If you’re interested in interior photography contact estate agents for potential work.”

“Always remember what the client wants.”

 – “Be prepared to do anything as an assistant.”

 – “First impressions are really important.”

 – “Don’t do a job unless you are sure you can do it well.”

Tony Cobley produces a wide variety of genres in his commercial work; from weddings to sport photography. I was particularly drawn to his personal documentary work, especially “The Seaside Time Forgot”, which he explains on his website;

Photography can be highly subjective depending upon which way you point the camera.

We normally photograph locations to show the unspoilt, idyllic, clean and tidy, happy, smiley scene.

However, in this personal project, I am showing the opposite and equally subjective viewpoint of our English Seaside. One which is sometimes sad, sometimes humerous and often ironic and poignant. But always very “English”.”



I found this work really fascinating as it reminds me of the photographs from legendary street photographer David Gibson. I really like the way that he has presented the seaside in the series as he has shown us the opposite of what we think a seaside looks like. I was also drawn to these photographs because they all have a humour within them, and weirdly most of the photos are of the older generation, suggesting that the seaside holidays are now just a thing of the past.

Here are just a few of the wide variety of photographs that are on Tony Cobley’s website:



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