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Written for ‘Skills, Smells and Spells’, an exhibition held at the Strand Gallery in central London:

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012Each image here has a story to tell, a history and a catalogue of memories.

Just like a familiar pair of old shoes, a favourite pen or the creak of the springs on a childhood bed. Time, use and repetition bury memories deep into the psyche, making them a part of you, your essence and your being.

In that way, these photographs live within me: my surroundings when I took them, the smells, the sounds and the emotions all shimmer and babble somewhere in the deep recesses of me.

The images grow stronger with time, not weaker. As I print them, study them, work on them and live with them they evolve and flourish within, sharing their experiences, possibly improving me as a person, but definitely improving me as a photographer.

Yet that moment, that instant in which a photograph is created – the shutter released – is so fleeting, instinctive and immediate. How is it that when the light floods through the lens so much happens, so much is captured, far beyond what is frozen on film and caught in time?

And how does the film, in that split second, capture the essence of me behind it as well as the scene before it?

These questions are constantly asked of me by my photographs and the journey involved in their creation – questions that I have lived with and tried to answer as this exhibition has grown within me, exploding to life here, on these walls.

And as the answers came I found they involved a pinch of magic and mysticism, hidden amongst the science and chemicals of analogue photography. I found they shone a light on my passion for my work, a love of the pace film forces upon me, the frustrations it provides and the boundaries I must work within.

My love and passion for these images – and everything that has brought them to life – transcends the personal history and memories I share with them. I hope these worlds created by that apparent magic and mysticism will shimmer and speak to you, the viewer, too.

Images of Skills, Smells and Spells at The Strand Gallery. PV images by Jim Shannon

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012. Photograph by Jim Shannon.

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012. Photograph by Jim Shannon.

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012. Photograph by Jim Shannon.

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012. Photograph by Jim Shannon.

Skills, Smells and Spells  by Toby Deveson at The Strand Gallery in London, May and June 2012. Photograph by Jim Shannon.

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