Andrea Stevens talks to New Zealand photographer Jeremy Toth about city nights and film noir

03 Feb 2011

Jeremy Toth photographs people and place. His work spans raw photojournalism, fashion, portraits (such as the image above of Andy Morton) and architecture. He finds inspiration in the city: often at night and empty, apart from a solitary figure.


Untitled – “I just wanted to see what a gymnast would look like in an urban environment.”

“I’ve always had a fascination with the city and urban landscape,” muses Toth. “It’s such a cool setting if you’re photographing people. I keep going back to the whole film noir, cinematic feel.”


His private work regularly informs his commercial work, particularly in its mood and lighting. He prefers keying off ambient light – using natural daylight or diffuse and surreal street lights, with extra light if needed.

Like a director, he captures his models raw, apparently unaware of the camera. His dark tones and subjects evoke emotions more than place. The place is often nowhere in particular: a lonely back street, under a motorway bridge or on the docks.


Close Encounters – personal – James Russell/Red 11



Part of a look book shoot for Little Brother – “The chair broke”


“It’s nice to have the freedom to experiment and execute images that are in my head,” he says. “I have a fascination with the city at night and the city being a character in that, in and of itself.”


Metro – Local actor Dean O’Gorman


Toth’s images for Café Hanoi in Auckland, designed by Nat Cheshire, recently featured on Its location in an old brick merchant warehouse suited Toth’s style and tone. He used multiple and contrasting light sources in the shoot, including natural, candle and street light.

His gritty realism, and surreal, slightly unexpected effects, carries through into his portraiture and landscape studies.


Jeremy Toth