I have had the pleasure of working with contemporary artistic photographer, Nigel Tooby, before when he launched an exhibition, Eye Spy, in support of homeless charity, Simon on the Streets. His works and installations for the exhibition were creative, engaging, uncomfortable and moving.
Fast forward to January and I find myself once again working alongside Nigel to share the story behind his most recent exhibition, ‘Of our times: the price of money’, which takes place from 17 January to 1March at the Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber.
Creating a series of images taken from a photobook, which resulted in him receiving a Contemporary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society, Nigel uses his own unique and controversial style to share the story of a businessman in pursuit of money, power and fame.
Taking some influence from his own autobiographical experiences as a top executive, the series of works, which are to be shown in sequence, take a step-by-step exploration of the uncomfortable and increasingly challenging world of a high flying business man. This person is expected to be permanently available, while being surrounded by colleagues who will do whatever it takes to reach the top.
What I found most compelling and worrying about this exhibition is that I could relate to the images. It actually made me question the priorities I place on work and what impact this could be having on my relationships and my home life. Finding a balance is often difficult but the question does remain do we live to work or work to live?
Whilst talking me through each image in turn, Nigel was approached by two visitors who had come to the preview. The overwhelmingly positive responses that he received for the thought and honesty that had gone into his works were nothing short of remarkable. There was no holding back as the audience gushed their applause for ‘one of the most thought provoking exhibitions of recent times’.
It’s sometimes difficult to be balanced when you are working so closely with a client and in particular when you know how much time, effort and energy has gone into a project. I know what this exhibition means to Nigel and his family and to hear people go out of their way to endorse his works was fantastic.
What I most like about Nigel’s work is that you don’t have to be a serious art lover or culture vulture to enjoy the stories that he tells through his photography. His subjects are hard hitting and gritty, leaving you in no doubt of the message that he is giving. The works invariably lead to discussion as the audience provides their take on the subject, encouraging each individual to think more deeply about what each piece means to them.
What Nigel has done is to create a new genre of photography, bringing together a collection of images which when pieced together become the sum of a story. Although each image can be viewed independently it would be like taking the page from a book and reading it in isolation – it may be good but not as impressive as the whole story, which takes the audience on a progressive journey.
The show has already attracted the attention of leading photographer, Professor Paul Hill MBE, and Nigel is hoping that further interest will be received as the story of the exhibition is shared both online and in print.
That leaves me to wish Nigel every success. His passion for photography and the art he loves is the only thing that leaves no room for debate. I really enjoyed learning more about each piece and know that this is just the start for someone with such an amazing talent.
Nigel, thank you for sharing it with us and for letting us become a part of your incredible story.
For more information about ‘Of our time: the price of money’ please visit www.nigeltooby.co.uk