Toby Butler, A Photographer On A Mission
There are those of us who know the goal from an early age, and there are those of us who wander.
The nomads, those of us with itchy feet and the burning desire to keep moving, searching, and exploring. Toby Butler embodies these characteristics.
A born wanderer combining his nomadic lifestyle and his passion for photography. This year has seen him cover significant ground, including: road tripping to France, exploring the Scottish wilderness in winter while camping in a tipi and trying to score waves, snow, and the wild. Toby is one of those people that has a burning desire to wander, explore and document this through his lens, in his own words: “It’s when I’m at my happiest.”
With his sporadic origins: born in Liverpool, half of his youth in New Zealand, now residing in Exeter from around the age of 11. It comes as no surprise that the desire to travel would grow. Stemming from the innocence of hanging out at the skatepark, shooting pictures and videos on his phone, and having the freedom of being an hour away from the coast. This hobby would grow into a passion that Toby now shapes his life around.
Wandering through the highlands, Toby found himself piling into a Tipi where he would “never forget” the fierce Scottish nights and the feeling of urgency in the mornings to get the fire lit for warmth.
Toby explained it was mostly a road trip, however, there was a lot of hoofing it to find a camping spot.
Except for the one night when they had the luxury of staying in a Bothy: “A long trek to get to this Bothy that we kind of knew the location of – with a bit of finger crossing too. Rocked up to our shack on the hill and entered to see what was going on. It was basic as hell, a long wooden bench to sleep on, a fire, and some tins of beans hanging on the wall. Thankfully we had come prepared with steak and Barry cooked us up a crazy meal with some tinfoil, Jacket spuds, lovely steak and the open fire … Shout outs to that guy when it come to cooking with limited supplies!”.
“Barry was after waves – which we were all stoked on – Rich was after camp vibes and some snow – which again had us – and me and Christian had a bunch of spots to snag shots of and basically just made sure we had the right to stop Rich in his tracks whenever we felt the need. It was an epic time purely for the reason that I think that was about as deep as the plan got.”
Always up for an adventure, after Toby spent time In Iceland, he got off the ferry and his good friend Jack Harvey calls him and says they’re all booked up to get the ferry to France, don’t bother unpacking. “Road trips are always my favourite way to travel, hands down. Maybe because I rarely have the money to travel any other way but probably because I just love hitting the road so much! When you can drive there from your front-door with a van you prepped from your own home.” Getting up early, buzzing along the French coastline, finding some sets to hit and then finishing the day off with some wine and olives . . . it was a memorable first time in the country for Toby.
Eager for adventure, Toby finds it hard to tie himself down. It’s the breezy lifestyle that allows him to just “get in the van and go,” with one trip funding the next.
Whether it’s shooting down the French coastline, chilling in a tipi in the Scottish Highlands, or exploring more of his favourite place, Ireland. It’s not about the destination; it’s the journey itself.
Words by Louis Hall
Photos by Toby Butler