Toby Price has much been documenting virtually every worthwhile gig, event, clubnight or house party that's happened in Nottingham over the past two or three years and has had his work featured in Dazed and Confused, Vice and Drowned In Sound to name but a few, all whilst completing some shockingly complex PhD on Hydrogen Storage. I asked him a few questions about his photography, he of course obliged because he's (genuienly such) a hero like that. (Pictured above is the lead singer of Chrome Hoof from Supersonic festival 14/7/07 - as before just click on the picture to take a closer look)
-Let's start with the basics; what setup do you use? filters/flash/camera. And more importantly why use these things? what edge, for lack of a better word, do they give you?
TP 350D – Probably a little outdated, but up the task until I can afford more
Canon 50mm F1.4 - Best prime bar the F1.2 for low light, allows shallow depth of field.
Sigma 30mm F1.4 - Equivalent to a "normal" 50mm when taking into account camera crop factor (lens x1.6 over actual focal length) also has shallow DOF and allows low light shooting
50-150mm F2.8 Sigma - Festivals
Canon 430ex flash – Not as nice as the 580ex but cheaper, can be triggered off camera when I can upgrade.
Kit lens – good in conjunction with flash for wide photos
-What's your background in the medium, obviously everyone's used a camera before but what first got you seriously thinking you could had some aptitude at this? Any specific photographers, or even, photographs that inspired you?
No inspiring photographers, I learnt through trying to achieve the most from cameras I’ve owned (and first borrowed a finepix point and shoot) then used A60 canon point and shoot, then a Olympus 5050 and finally the DSLR. I always try to capture the mood with the light/equipment I have. I don’t think I thought any more about it than using a tool to reach an objective, as I reached the limitations of the tool I upgraded (until I ran out of money).
-You're work's been featured in several publications and internet sites, how did you manage to make the jump from one of the glut of amateur photographers to having published work?
It’s really only about how accessible you make your photos (don’t watermark photos) and how they compete with other peoples shots from the same event... if there’s been a review and no one took photos but you, then they’ll use a camera phone shot... if you supply it.
Lovvers @ The Chameleon (Notts-10/10/08)
-Do you regulate who you allow to use your work? Or is any exposure, good exposure? (excuse the horrific pun)
I would complain if it was tagged on to something I disagreed with, but for the moment The Mail haven’t asked to use any photos.
-Have you ever been commissioned to do a promo photo or gig and simply not got the results you've specifically wanted? Is photography quite liberating in that respect, in that you've always got something to show for a nights work?
Yes, I have, I did a shoot for Jack Daniels and due to a very short set, and the lighting guy having a smoke outside I didn’t get good enough shots. It’s not liberating when you need a certain type of shot, and regularly your commission will demand a specific shot..
-In a live situation, do you find it difficult to sometimes get the shots that you want, getting the correct angles/being in the right place at the right time?
Sometimes, but if you have the time to work around the conditions (lighting position etc) then you should be able to achieve what you want, obviously often you’ll be unable to get a certain shot… which is when you lust after more kit... also when you know you’ve got a good shot but your equipment fails that can be the most frustrating.
Tomb Crew @ Stealth (Notts 02/10/08)
-On Sun Kil Moon's recent tour, Mark Kozelek asked for no photography to be used during his show, others such as Bjork share similar rhetoric, though to less an extent. Are these attitudes frustrating for you, or do you understand where they're coming from?
I quite understand, we generally work to 3 songs no flash at larger events, even first song no flash, sometimes we have to stay seated for film cameras to shoot over crowd… there are often constraints… you just learn to work around them.
-Do you ever find yourself so captivated by a performance that you end up putting your camera down or do you feel that the two aren't mutually exclusive?
I do, certainly find my head violently nodding to some great bands, but when I see a shot then I phase it out and the objective of achieving it becomes all consuming.
-Who's been your favourite person to photograph?
Monotonix at Rose of England– because I couldn’t put the camera down there was so much to shoot
Monotonix @ The Rose of England (Notts -01/06/08)
-You're a Nottingham resident, how has the city affected your work?
Nottinghams venues have decided my style (flash in some, positions and angles etc) and the people in it have allowed me to shoot in some fun ways, on top of stepladders over ballpits, standing on the bar in the Social, climbing walls around the Angel. etc
-Would you ever consider hopping onto any other branches of the tree of photography, fashion/documentary etc? Do these things appeal to you?
I’ve done some fashion photography, and some event shooting and it has a similar feel in that I strive to achieve something and get a kick when I do, but I respect musicians so much more that I feel more value in presenting their works visually than yet another company merger…
-You're an amateur photographer at the moment, will this always be the case? With a career elsewhere, do you always find time for this hobby of yours?
I’m paid for photography fairly regularly, but I wouldn’t want a fulltime job out of it… I don’t get as much out of it as academic stuff… I’m not an artist, I can achieve technically good photography and really enjoy every moment.. but I’m not creating in the way fine art photographers do. I’m documenting.
Boris @ ATP Nightmare Before Christmas (07-9/12/07)
Toby's Portfolio Proper, yo - http://www.photosinthedark.com/