Saturday, 25 February 2012

Toby Deveson: Holi In Monochrome

Photo © Toby Deveson-All Rights Reserved

Toby Deveson is a brave man. A brave man indeed to have considered shooting one of the most colorful festivals in India in black and white.

And if you consider his biography in which he writes "Toby Deveson has been taking photographs since 1989 when he was given an old Nikkormat and a 24mm lens. After trying a friend's darkroom he set up one of his own in a damp basement and was soon addicted to the alchemy of intoxicating smells and mysterious light. Twenty years later not much has changed. The darkroom is no longer damp but the camera and lens are the same.", you'll conclude he's a very brave photographer.

Choosing to shoot Holi in monochrome as Toby did is very unusual in this day and age. Holi is such a flamboyant festival, filled with explosions of color, that other photographers normally prefer to record its images in natural colors. The photographs on his gallery were made in the Banke Bihari temple of Vrindavan, Mathura, and in its streets.

Perhaps he chose to go against the grain, and didn't want the all powerful colors of Holi to distract the viewers away from the composition of his photographs, or from the shadow and light play or from the forms in his frames.

After all, I adopted the same rationale when I photographed the equally colorful Durga Puja festivities in Kolkata this past October. I also encouraged the participants in The Cult of Durga Photo Workshop to
produce their work in monochrome to better capture the festivities without the intrusion of color. It's a mindset.

Toby Deveson lives and works in London as stills photographer and television cameraman. He has been living in Britain since 1990 when he obtained his degree in photography, painting and music.