Toby Mason – a.k.a. “Fotobes” – has been on the top of my list for film photographers to interview since Analogue Sunrise began. He’s helped Analogue Sunrise advance from the beginning days – he can’t be thanked enough for all of his contributions and impact. After seeing his Flickr many moons ago, I realized Toby is in a class of his own – from double exposures around Brighton with the beloved LC-A+ to capturing the moody environments of subway tunnels, working people, and the ever so beautiful Brighton Beach, his craft truly stands out. With a recent photo exhibition in London, there is no slowing down his iconic imagery.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 38 years old, recently married, with a one year old son, and a seven year old step-son. Through photography, I have become far more aware of the beauty in the world around us, and I enjoy trying to capture a little of this. As well as photography, I have a passion for music, and I think that photographs can be enhanced with a little musical accompaniment.
What inspired you to pick up film photography?
I grew up on film photography, I remember my mum using an Olympus Trip and my dad’s old Pentax SLR.. 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 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. When digital cameras first arrived on the scene, I purchased an early Nikon CoolPix, but I just found the results to be too flat and lacking in character. So before long I switched my attentions back to analogue, and there I have remained.
Since moving down to Brighton on the south coast, I’ve met lots of people who share this passion for film photography, and there’s a great melting pot for shared ideas and techniques in Brighton. I suppose what I try to achieve through my photography is to capture some of the quirky and natural beauty of the world around me.