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Toby Burrows: Fallen

The photographer speaks to Dazed about his new photo series called ‘Fallen’...

Since launching his career outside his native Australia, Toby Burrows has been getting recognition from worldwide buyers and fans alike. Adding to his awards and exhibitions, his new ‘Fallen’ series have been picked up by celebrities such as Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. Burrow's recent images explore ethereal forms floating in timeless landscapes. Dazed Digital sat down with him to find out more about Toby’s recent project and his upcoming shows that will come to London's Mews42 Gallery in September.  

Dazed Digital: Can you tell me how you got interested in photography and art?
Toby Burrows: My mother owned a gallery in Paddington, Sydney. ‘Paddo’ was a colourful, vibrant suburb. I grew up surrounded by artists. As a boy, I have memories of painting with Australian artists Charles Blackman and David Boyd. I remember taking my first series of photographs as a child. I stuffed fireworks inside a toy car and photographed it burning. I am not sure whether this was this the artist or arsonist in me?

DD: So you learned through experience and your surroundings rather than books and college?
Toby Burrows: I went to London at the age of twenty and started taking photographs. The environment was new and inspiring. I had a darkroom in my bathroom. My first job in the industry was as a studio assistant at Holborn Studios, a photographic hire studio. I was lucky enough to work around some great photographers. This experience gave me a good grounding of technical knowledge. Although, often the best photographs are created when those technical ‘rules’ are broken.

DD: Did you enjoy working and living in London?
Toby Burrows: I love London. I originally planned to stay there for six months but stayed for eight years. I was into cycling. While living in London, I took a cycle trip from Sweden to the south of France.

DD: How did the 'Fallen' series come about?
Toby Burrows: I was inspired by the style of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The ‘Fallen’ series explores both tragedy and celebration through form. We cast a talented dancer to create expressions through shape. We shot the series in the Southern Highlands. I had spent some time in that particular area prior to the shoot. There is something in that landscape that has a surreal quality and I wanted to bring that into this project.
DD: Are you done with the 'Fallen' series yet?
Toby Burrows: I am looking to expand the current exhibition and explore some more challenging environments. I have been shooting a follow up series called ‘Tempest’. I'm looking forward to bringing the show to London when it's complete.