F E A T U R E D  A R T I S T S

Toby Harvard

We've long been admirers of Toby Harvard's work as it has many qualities which make it almost quintessentially DC, with skillful use of colour and contrast and no fear about eschewing some of the more traditional rules around focus and composition.  As well as asking him for a few shots, we also asked him to do us the honour of being our inaugural interviewee, and thankfully he said yes. 

So, the first thing that comes to my mind when I look through your body of work is the question of how much of great photography is a matter of knowing your way around the inner workings of a camera and aperture stops and whatever, and how much of it is a matter of putting yourself in interesting situations where you see interesting things, and having the eye to capture them when you do?  

My technical knowledge is embarrassingly small. For me it's just pointing the camera, fiddling with the settings, taking the shot and hoping for the best.  I just hope my photos have some atmosphere to them.

When you go out to shoot do you have clear ideas of what you're out to achieve or is it more that you just shoot what takes your fancy when you see it and look forward to seeing what comes out when you get your films back?

There are certain images I keep coming back to -- usually female figures from behind against blurry landscapes.  I suppose I'm pretty specific about how I frame those. But most of my shots are just composed randomly in the viewfinder. I think you just know when it's time to take the photo.

Why do you shoot on analogue given that there are so many digital options out there?

Film photos have a lot more depth and weight to them. And I like the little imperfections you get with film: the light leaks, the specks of dust, etc.

What was the first camera you owned, how old were you when you got it, what camera(s) do you shoot on now and what's your favourite camera?

My parents had a lot of 35mm cameras so I'd often steal them and take shots on our travels. Now I'm using a Pentax K1000 fitted with the lens from an old Pentacon-six medium format camera. I also use a Canon AE1 and sometimes an Olympus XA, which I'm still figuring out how to use. 

What three tracks are you most into at the moment?   

1. Real Talk by R. Kelly.

2. Lichen by Aphex Twin.

3. Palisades Park by Freddie Cannon.

Favourite book?

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. And Batman: Year 100 by Paul Pope. 

Saturday Night/Monday Morning?

The latter.

Any words of advice on life for our readers?

Nobody sensible would ever, ever take advice from me.

Check out Toby's Insta !