The Northcore interviews: Toby Butler, photographer
The Northcore brand has brought me into contact with some amazingly creative individuals over the years, many who are driven to travel, to surf and find adventure. These are often people who have inspired other’s with their work and approach to life, so I’d like to share some of their stories by introducing you to these folks in a series of short interviews.
Northcore have recently started working with a young talented UK based photographer Toby Butler who’s work has been featured by Red Bull, Aer Lingus, Canon, Monster, Leatherman to name a few. So I caught up with Toby recently to ask him a few questions:
Please introduce yourself.
So, my name is Toby Butler. I am 20 year’s old and currently based in a small village just outside of Exeter, Devon. I was born in Suffolk, moved around a fair bit, and at 5 my family decided to pack up and make some changes. These changes wound up with the part of my childhood I do remember being spent on the North Island of New Zealand. I was about 13 when we moved back to the South Coast and my family have been here for 7 years now, which is the longest we have stayed anywhere by a mile.
How did photography find it’s way into your life?
Well, it’s pretty funny because in NZ I played rugby and was into my Music. I used to play the Saxophone and Piano and surfed a little as well but never got massively into it. We then moved back to England and I was pretty miffed with my parents so decided to stop doing all that. Instead I would spend my days at the skate park and became really good mates with a bunch of people down there. We all started sharing this Sony Ericsson phone to film each other skating. I then got more stoked on putting little clips together on that thing than actually skating itself and ended up getting hold of a basic video camera and eventually a half decent DSLR. After a year of shooting skate the scene kind of split further afield and that’s when I looked to surfing and started making the trek over to Cornwall with a small and dedicated group of mates.
When did the surfing become more of an influence in your photography?
I guess the travel bug had stayed with me from being a kid and after seeing so much more of England because of Surfing the whole thing reeled me in pretty fast. I began looking more at the mags and what people were doing in the UK and getting a hang of how things worked. I remember seeing an issue on Ireland and after plastering my walls with spreads from the likes of Mickey Smith and a few others I planned a three-week trip out there. That turned into four months. I’ve been there each winter since, from week missions to a month long tourism project. I love the place and after that initial 4 months it was surfing, travel and the lifestyle of those two combined that became my main focus.
How big a part does travel and lifestyle imagery play in your work?
Shooting surf pretty much enabled me to travel and then once I started travelling more and more I realized that I loved it because of the places we were shooting things like surfing. At this time I was also looking at the works of people like Jeremy Koreski, Chris Burkard and Dylan Gordon and started to get fixed on the lifestyle aspect too. The moment’s in-between the best barrel or wave of the day started to become the ones I loved.
So where has your work taken you since the trip to Ireland?
I have spent a heap of time in Europe, repeatedly headed back to Ireland and arrived back from 3 months in the states in September. It has been all go and its still so new to me, every trip is such a learning curve in its own way.
What are your plans for 2017?
So far I have been at home catching up with family and friends and working on bettering my website. I have just done a massive revamp on that and hope to now spend the majority of summer at home. Then at the end of the year I am heading back over to NZ. My girlfriend and I are getting hold of a van and travelling between both Islands for a couple months. I plan to be creating work for various brands along the way and am buzzing to get back over to that side of the world with a camera in my hands this time.
For more of Toby’s work visit: www.tobybutlerphoto.com