The photographs in Times Squared represent four bodies of work: Times Square, Boxing, Fashion, and Disco. Toby Old documents the street, the arena, fiction, and sex. Old is looking through the viewfinder in the tradition of Weegee, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus. He is not simply interested in capturing the bizarre or the grotesque; the underlying draw for him is the action. The New York Times said, “He is unflinching, his pictures not always easy to look at but always entertaining.”
According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.” Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. Toby Old started out studying biology and working as a dentist. During the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina he began to explore history and photography. He then decided to practice dentistry part-time and pursue his interest in photography. His work has been exhibited internationally including galleries in Tokyo, Philadelphia, and will soon be on view in Lisbon, Portugal. He participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 1980.