Longstanding community member Toby Mason (aka fotobes) is now one of our TEN AND ONE AWARD judges. He has been shooting in analogue for many years and mixes up beautiful, colour drenched xpro shots with double exposures and film swaps with the likes of HODACHROME and Mike Mclean. Before he judges the winners we asked him about his inspirations.
Hello! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Toby Mason (aka fotobes) and I live down on the south coast of England in the beautiful and fun seaside city of Brighton.
How did your interest with photography start?
My interest in photography started at the age of around 8 or 9. I loved the excitement of film photography as a boy, using some sort of 110 cartridge camera (I forget what it was exactly) – I felt like I could capture secrets, and later, when I was about 18 or 20, I bought an Olympus OM1, which I replaced with an Olympus OM10 after a couple of years, and I still use today. I loved the excitement of taking films to be developed, and over the next few hours, days or weeks, wondering what I would find on the prints. However, after a while, I became a bit bogged down, believing that I needed more equipment and better cameras to take better shots. But then I started learning about Lomography, and found that by stripping right down to more basic cameras and a few easy processes, I could really enjoy photography more, and I felt far happier with the images that I managed to create.
How would you define photography? What makes it worth pursuing?
For me, photography is simply the art of capturing a view of the world in a still image. It is down to the photographer’s style and desire as to whether this is a realistic, or fabricated view (i.e. a straight forward view, or one using any range of techniques for a more creative image) and this is where photography becomes such a brilliant art form. Personally, I love the grain and imperfections of film photography, for me this helps to create a beautiful and authentic view of the world.
What inspires you?
I tend to be inspired by travels – whether in the UK or abroad. I love seeing things for the first time, and trying to record some of this on film. But I also find that I’m inspired by music too – I love listening to some great tunes whilst walking around and taking photos – it inspires me and also helps me to feel invisible, both of which helps me to take better pictures.
What makes a good photograph?
There are some amazingly creative processes that can be tried with film photography, and Lomography in particular, such as film swaps, multiple exposures, film soups etc. Some of the results can be stunning. However my favourites images are simple, single shots, ones where nature, the subject and light all combine beautifully and in such a way that they will never combine in the same manner again.
Any advice that you’d like to give aspiring photographers?
My advice to aspiring film photographers is to keep trying! It’s not about having the best equipment, so it doesn’t have to be expensive – the important thing is to keep taking pictures. When I started out, I would be delighted to get one half decent image per roll of film. But the more I practised, the better my rate of success. Open your eyes to the world!
To see more of Toby's work visit his website fotobes.com