The Risks and Rewards of Photography | Toby Burrows


Esteemed photographic artist Toby Burrows will speak at SUNSTUDIOS Sydney on Saturday 27th August from 1.00pm for a special masterclass on the Risks and Rewards of Photography.


This special class for artists and aspiring photographers will take place amongst his current show PANDEMONIUM.


In a moderated discussion attendees of this free talk will hear Toby Burrows discuss his artistic process, as well as his idiosyncratic approach to portraiture, money and art.


He spoke to Sunroom in the lead up around the joys of getting out of one’s comfort zone and what he has learned from taking risks in his professional fine art photography.



When did you first begin exhibiting as a photographer and what have been some exhibition highlights of your career-to-date?


I started small by trying to include images into group show where I could. This is great as you feel less pressure and have around you a group of like-minded artists often at the same stage of their career.


PANDEMONIUM, your current exhibition at SUNSTUDIOS’ Atrium Gallery, is made up of distressed prints – an act of ‘post-pandemic defiance’. Can you tell us when and how this defiance brewed, and how this took shape in your artistic practice?


I have always believed in evolving and changing ideas as you experience the process of putting an exhibition together.


Nothing is ever set in stone for me. Giving yourself creative freedom and license with your own projects is imperative.


I work in the exploration space right up to the time at which you hang the work on the walls. This exhibition, however, was more radical in its evolution than ever before. As the name PANDEMONIUM suggests, the unprecedented times of the pandemic warranted this abandon in the work. I decided to turn a relatively formal portrait series on its head.



How has the making of this latest exhibition been unique or different from your other shows?


I feel closer to the work. I have spent sometimes several hours manipulating and distressing each print. The way in which it is exhibited required some consideration. This differed from a traditional photography show.


This newer work due to its sculptural nature feels beyond photography and steps into a broader realm of art.


Your portraits subjects include some very familiar faces and names. What goes into selecting and securing access to portrait subjects in this project?


Although I sort out some known faces, it was never my intention to leverage their fame. In most cases, I embraced the anonymity of each portrait, purposely obscuring the identity of the subjects.


I approached the management of the subjects with clear intention and passion for producing an honest and respectful portrait of each sitter. Honest communication is an important element as for the most part, I was dealing with creatives that also have a strong passion for their work.



What can people expect to hear more about in your talk “The Risks and Rewards of Photography” at SUNSTUDIOS Sydney?


Though I will have some sort of structure to discuss around my artistic process, portraiture approach, money and art, and getting out of your comfort zone, I want to keep it broad whilst reacting to attendees' interests. Hopefully we can all learn something. Looking forward to meeting you all at the artist talk!


PANDEMONIUM, a photographic response to the pandemic by Toby Burrows was launched on Thursday 4 August 2022 at SUNSTUDIOS Alexandria, NSW and it will finish on Saturday 27th August at 4pm.