Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. Although he fostered an artistic vision of the world from an early age, he started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, and then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. He then travelled for several months and returned to Minnesota to practice dentistry part-time and pursue his interest in photography.
After taking part in a summer workshop in 1976 at the Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. It is here that he began working on his first extended series on the disco scene in 1976-1981. For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received a NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city ever since. It was at this time that he also began photographing an extended series on the boxing world.
Toby Old cultivated an artistic vision of the world at an early age. Over the years, he has received many awards for his photography, such as a CAPS fellowship, and the Coup Ville de Paris. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and is in many private and public collections-the Library of Congress, the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, and the International Center of Photography, to name a few.
In the late 1980's he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War re-enactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break.
Throughout this time, Toby Old has had a photographic dialogue with Times Square-at different times of day, in all lights, and during all seasons, with its multitude of events, parades, theaters, sports, sex shops, and industries taking place simultaneously on, in, and around the crossroads of the world. Old offers us an alternative look at Times Square -the underside of society, photographed as segments linked to a certain period of time, to a specific place.
Old is a voyeur in the photographic tradition of Weegee, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus. He is not simply interested in capturing the bizarre or the grotesque; the underlying attraction for him is energy. Toby Old is a dynamo looking through the viewfinderf or energy to match his own. He is unflinching, his pictures not always easy to look at but always entertaining, The New York Times said, “The photographs nourish the eye but tantalize the mind. And one of the things that Norman Mailer liked about his photographs is that “they make me think of Toulouse-Lautrec and Hieronymus Bosch, which is not a bad day's work for a photograph.”
In 1993, he met Holly Gaskin. They married and returned to New York City, where Old began photographing fashion events and Times Square, and teaching at the International Center of Photography. In 1998 he collaborated with Ted Hartwell, curator of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, on a project that culminated in the 2002 exhibition and book Times Squared. The show travelled to Tokyo and Philadelphia. His project Waterlog: The Beach Series, is a series of photographs taken at various beaches around the world from 2002 - 2006.
The exhibition DANCE is working on a series about the world of dance.
Exposition / 3 Novembre 2011 - 31 December 2011
T.A.F Track Artwork Factory
6 rue Charles V 75004 Paris
+33 1 42 76 96 79
Weekend portfolio selected by David Fahey.