We got to speak to Aidan Tobias a Cape Town-based photographer who is inspired by many but motivated by himself.
DYD: How did you get into photography?
Aidan: It was a natural progression after my gap year; I bought the Nikon D5000 my first SLR and I stole a bunch of my dad’s old film lenses that had the same mounting bracket. The only thing with using these lenses was that the in camera metering didn’t work so I had to guess the correct settings. Looking back now it really helped me understand exposure and how to break the conventional rules of photography. I had my camera wherever I went and I still do to this day.
DYD: What do you have in store for the near future?
Aidan: I have some really amazing things happening at the moment; I just started leasing a joint studio space in Woodstock with 5 other creatives. We have a Music producer, Artist, Fashion designer, Graphic designer and I am the in house photographer. I am installing an infinity curve into the space. We are also going to be having some events and exhibitions in the space. It’s basically just a huge creative hub for whoever is inspired and keen to create.
DYD: Do you have any dream collaborations?
Aidan: What a question, I would love to work with Gavriel Maynard from Australia, also Henrik Purienne; from L.A. I think Henrik is insane! (He actually drove behind me for like 30min the other day all along the coastal road to Hout Bay.)
Some others include Ulrich Knoblauch, Sticks and Stones agency and Tamara Lichtenstein.
Locally, I love what the guys at Between 10 and 5 are doing, and we-are-awesome are always on top of what’s happening here. I have to also mention A Fashion Friend; they are doing some amazing things at the moment. I shot for the one issue last year and hope to do some more work with them this year.
DYD: How do you feel about the stigma placed upon photographers regarding the advancement of smartphone photography?
Aidan: I think it is inevitable and progressive so I have embraced it but I hate how it has made everyone who has a smartphone “think” they are a professional photographer. Nobody cares about your coffee artwork and your cats. Besides the landslide of crap that is uploaded every day, I think Instagram is one of the most underrated platforms today. Everyone is contestably on their cellphones scrolling. I would not be surprised if soon it brings me more work than my website.
DYD: If you were a ghost, who would you haunt?
Aidan: Is haunting a good thing or a bad thing? I guess you just follow someone around and fux with them. If that is the case I would probably haunt my twin brother. He is the most annoying person on this planet and it would give me great satisfaction to annoy him as much as he annoys me.
DYD: Are you working on any personal photography projects, if so, tell me about it.
Aidan: I have some long term projects I am busy with. The first is about people sleeping in public spaces. The plight of the homeless in Cape Town is always “in our faces”. I have quite a few images, but it will still be a while before I release them. I am also doing a portrait project shoot using Ilford 125 film and a Minolta Dynax 800si. I used a 20mm lens, so it’s quite wide and it has produced some really interesting results. I have a couple other projects planned for later this year. WATCH THIS SPACE.
DYD: What gear have you relied on during your progression as a photographer?
Aidan: I have a Nikon D7000 and an 18-105mm, 35-70mm and a 35mm 1.8 lens I use a lot. I have also recently bought a Nikon F-401s that I have been using, it is amazing! My girlfriend’s owns the Minolta Dynax 800si. I have 2 Speedlight’s I use, the SB 700 and SB900. The 900 is a lot more powerful and I use them for events and night adventures. Finally, I also have the Fujifilm Polaroid Instax Mini 7s, a couple tripods, reflectors and lights that I use.
DYD: Can you tell us about any great moments you’ve had as a photographer?
Aidan: Meeting The Foals was one of the biggest highlights. Hanging out with Ninja from Die Antwoord was scary but entertaining. It also still excites me to rock up at an event or festival and get handed media accreditation. You know you will have access to places where most people aren’t allowed. I think most photographers that do event work will agree with me. I also still love the feeling you get picking up your developed film and not knowing what you have captured, that anticipation and excitement is like Christmas!
DYD: In your opinion, what makes a great photographer?
Aidan: I love the quote by Charles Bukowski; “find what you love and let it kill you”, I think the best photographers don’t just have a passion for imagery, it is actually an obsession to create and document. It’s very easy to become uninspired… but the great photographers never stop.
DYD: What is the best advise you’ve ever been given?
Aidan: The best camera is the one that’s with you – “Andrew Harvey “
DYD: Which local and international photographers inspire you?
Internationally: Gregory Crewdson, Gavriel Maynard, Tim Walker, Toni Frissell, Henrik Purienne, James Natchwey, Ulrich Knoblauch, Tamara Lichtenstein, Terry Richardson, Howard Schatz, Francesca Woodward, Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange , Richard Avedon , David Hauserman , Arnold Daniel the list is endless…
Locally: The guys at AVA, and we-are-awesome, Jono Jebus, Caroline Mackintosh, Katja Marr, David East of Instagram, Gareth Pon, Matthew Stanley, Tash Montlake, Lani Spice, Leon Bester, Loop Photo, Paul Ward, Chris Rogers, Adriaan Louw, Gabriella Achadinha, Jared paisley. I know I am forgetting other important photographers.
DYD: Where Can we find more of your work?
Aidan: You can find more of my working by clicking through these links;