JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
TOBY MASON: I didn’t know for sure what I wanted to be when I grew up: I never really found a path. I had ideas about being an architect (as I liked drawing), or a landscape gardener (as I liked being outdoors). I don’t think I really started finding my way until I was well into my 20s, and by that time I had fallen into the wine trade..
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
TM: I get inspired by the seasons in the UK, and at the moment we are heading from a changeable yet welcome -spring, into a (hopefully) warm and vibrant summer. But I try to live my life so that I am gaining new experiences, and going to new places whenever I can. That way it’s easy to become inspired.
JC: What are you up to right now?
TM: I have just had a visit from one of Japan’s finest Lomographers: Yoshitaka Goto aka Gocchin, which was a great opportunity to discuss ideas and techniques, as well as go on some photo-walks (and enjoy a beer or two). I’m also working on a couple of global film-swap projects. I have an exhibition starting soon in Canary Wharf in London, plus another show later in the year in Margate, with a fantastic screen-printer and designer, Zoe Murphy.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
TM: Not so much mentors, but I have been lucky enough to meet a few photographers whose work I have admired along the way, such as LomoKev, and Hodaka Yamamoto. I have gained a lot of inspiration through Flickr and Lomography contacts, as well as through meeting up with fellow analogue photographers in Brighton.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
TM: I have lived in Brighton, on the south coast of England for around 5 years now, with my wife and boys. I love it here by the sea, where there’s a rich mix of people, city life, seaside and beautiful countryside too. It has all the ingredients that I love.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
TM: Do what you enjoy and hopefully the results will follow. If you are enjoying how and what you shoot, then you’ll want to keep doing it, and the more pictures you take, the more chance you have of achieving the images that you hope for.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
TM: Well, photography has only ever been a hobby for me, so I don’t really have the need for a plan b… Really it’s just a case of keeping on shooting film, experimenting and trying to push myself to get better and better. I’d love to have some work published, but I guess that’s a little way away.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
TM: I think so – many ideas have come to fruition through conversations with other analogue photographers, it’s great to gain inspiration as well as feedback from communities either online or with local meets. But the most important thing for me is to get out and about shooting film, as I’m not taking pictures if I’m stuck in front of the laptop!