No Strings Attached

Photography has become my art.

Photography has become important.

Laden. Very serious.

Photography has become entangled in a web of emotional strings and hang ups.

Recently there have been moments in which I’ve found myself wishing for simpler times, wishing to take a photograph with no strings attached.

Part of the 'West of the Sun' series. B&W analogue landscape photography by Toby Deveson. Taken with a Nikkormat, a 24mm lens, Kodak TMax 400 & Fomatone 532. January 2001Back in 1989 when I discovered photography, when I had no pretensions of being a photographer, it was fun and done for the sheer joy of it, I took snaps and bathed in the simplicity of it. I didn’t mind spending hours in the darkroom printing anything – portraits of friends, holiday memories, pets.

I loved it.

I used a Kodak box brownie 6×9, the camera that brought photography to the masses. I used old bakelite cameras with 127 film. I used my new Nikkormat.

I tried different films, at extreme speeds. I used 3200 ASA films at 24 ASA or 100 ASA at 6400 ASA. I cropped prints into extreme shapes, vertical stripes, horizontal stripes, anything and everything,

I photographed.

I continued to love it.

But slowly, ever so slowly, that enthusiasm, that love turned it into a job. Into something serious, precious, laden with connotations. I no longer took photographs unless it was for a good reason.

The child like enthusiasm had dripped away.

And then, sometime around 2010, 22 years after my first B&W snaps, 18 years after I graduated from college with an-ever-so-serious exhibition of reportage photographs taken in Romania, about 8 years after the concept of West of the Sun had come into my life, I began once more, without realising it, taking photographs for the sake of taking photographs.

I had an I-phone.

Much like a box brownie, it was fixed lens, simple, easy to use and had helped revolutionise photography for the masses.

I could snap, without a second thought. I could snap without worrying about the amount of work needed in the darkroom. I could snap without my Art feeling threatened. I could snap, finally, for the sheer hell of it.

Jake and Joe on the waterslide in Arezzo, Italy. Part of the personal collection of I-phone snaps by Toby Deveson. August 2014My children growing up.

Landscapes I passed when I didn’t have my ‘serious’ camera with me.


Portraits of friends.

Of Carla, my beautiful muse, calling to the very essence of my creativity.

I was even doing what could be considered photographic jobs, taking photographs of Carla at work with Art Model Collective.

I could take wonderful, instinctive photos. I could experiment with the framing, I could have fun, I could still be a photographer, but without all the excess baggage.

What an amazing, creative, fun art form photography was proving to be. Again.

How wonderful to be able to enjoy myself. Again.

And, yes, to enjoy myself with no strings attached.

Related Images

Personal I-Phone image of Joe on the beach in Corsica by Toby Deveson. August 2016

On the road in the Canyonland National Park, Utah. Personal I-Phone image by Toby Deveson. September 2016

Personal I-Phone image of Rodolfo Villaplana in London by Toby Deveson. June2017

Personal I-Phone image of Carla Tofano in the darkroom by Toby Deveson. April 2017

Personal I-Phone image of Rob White in Iceland by Toby Deveson. August 2015

Personal I-Phone image of Carla Tofano at the Dangerous Minds exhibition held at The Underdog Gallery by Toby Deveson. April 2017

Personal I-Phone image of Carla Tofano at the Truman Brewery after an Art Model Collective session by Toby Deveson. September 2017

Personal I-Phone image of Jim Shannon on a motorbike in the Himalayas in Ladakh Truman Brewery after an Art Model Collective session by Toby Deveson. March 2011

Personal I-Phone instagram image taken during a flight from London Heathrow to Panama City by Toby Deveson. January 2017

Personal I-Phone instagram image of sunset over Evian, France by Toby Deveson. September 2015



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