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The Art
of Light

A self-taught professional, Stone recognised quite young that photography was so all-encompassing that he would probably never tire of it.

I never really understood the appeal of narrowing your creative vision to fit into commercial pigeon holes. Sure, it’s a valid business formula for capitalising on specific skillsets – but. for me, photography hints at infinite ways of seeing. I’m not just talking about perspective, but perhaps also the very nature of Perception and the opening of the mystical third eye.   So why on earth would anyone choose to put blinkers on?
I suppose that’s why I never carved a niche for myself as a commercial photographer – knowing that it would be far too limiting!”

This attitude is reflected not only in the diversity of Stone’s work, but in his business name as well. ‘Stone Free’ is a Jimi Hendrix song about freedom of creative expression, a gentle form of anarchy.. It’s also the title of Stone’s first book, a photographic trip through his first ten years at the famous Glastonbury Festival.  In his foreword Stone talks about ‘synchronicity’ playing an important role in his life:

Photography helped me become more aware of the interconnections that exist in the fabric of life; the subtle relationships between people, places and events. Synchronicity sometimes hits you like a bolt out of the blue, especially when you are ‘tuned in’, but more often it’s just like a tingle up the spine, hairs standing up on your neck or just a subtle intuition. I treat it as a signal from the psyche that what’s happening has a deeper significance for me to discover – but you can’t force it, you have to feel it and flow with it.  It’s all about letting go, not controlling!”

Stone says his whole approach to photography (and life) was deeply affected by a series of synchronicities during a trip to Ladakh in 1999.

It was an amazing and life-changing experience. We visited the Monastery of Lamayuru, perched high in the Himalayas,, and they invited me to photograph their normally closed rituals and even make recordings of their chanting. As we headed back to Leh, I decided to visit the nearby Tibetan Children’s Village School to sponsor a child.  I was given a huge book of pupils to choose from, so opened a page at random. The young girl on the page, Tenzin, turned out to be the youngest daughter of a Nomadic family. On hearing the news of the sponsorship, they invited us to visit them. It was a long, arduous trip over the notorious Tang-Lang-La mountain pass to reach their remote camp on the plateau, but I lived with them for nine days as their honoured guest;  a deeply spiritual and humbling experience – one that no amount of money can buy!

Stone’s music photography is a spontaneous and dynamic response to the energy of live performances, in which Stone often becomes so completely immersed in the music that he’s almost like another member of the band, ‘playing’ the camera more like a musical instrument!
So much so that in 1991 Grimsby musician John Nash gave Stone the ‘mock’ Native American name of ‘Dances with Cameras’!

Being awarded his first Press Pass for Glastonbury in 1998, Stone recalls his early impressions of being allowed into ‘The Pit’ alongside the seasoned pros shooting for all the major newspapers and magazines.

“It’s a hugely privileged position, so close to the stage and in front of the crowd. At first I felt a bit self-conscious about ‘doing my thing’, especially with all these ‘static’ photographers around me, but I remembered the old saying: ‘Dance like nobody’s watching’, so that’s exactly what I did! After a while a group of people at the front, up against the barriers, began to call out to me – apparently they loved the fact that I was the only photographer showing any sign of actually enjoying the experience!  That really encouraged me, especially when it became clear that some of the press guys were taking the piss and sniggering at me behind my back! It took a few years, but eventually one or two other photographers started joining in, much to my delight. The ultimate accolade came after photographing Johnny Marr’s epic set on the John Peel Stage in 2015. After the gig, I took my artist friend Greeny for some food in the backstage Crew Canteen. As we sat tucking in, Johnny Marr came through the door with his gorgeous wife. He spotted us and made a beeline straight for our table. He paused for a second then said “I saw you out there man, grooving away with your camera – you inspired me, man!”I’ll never forget that – thank you Johnny!







Began self-employment as a Freelance Photographer
my first Glastonbury Festival
began teaching at Grimsby College
uploaded my first Stonefree website
6 week
Himalayan Expedition
Moved to Devon for birth of my Son, Finlay
published my first book – Stonefree
winner of Commonwealth Photographic Award
(photo – Water Larks – Glastonbury 2002)
winner of Fujifilm Professional Distinctions Award
(photo – David Cottam – Classical Guitarist)
bought my first Digital SLR (Canon Eos 5D mk1)

Royston 'Stone' Naylor
Small World Festival 2017 - photo by Tomm Morton
on the Naughty Step - Glastonbury Press Office 2014

1983 – started Stonefree Photography
1990 – my first Glastonbury
1997 – began teaching at Grimsby College of Art & Design: uploaded my first website
1999 – Himalayan Expedition (6 weeks)
2003 – winner of Commonwealth Photographic Award
(photo – Water Larks – Glastonbury 2002)
2004 – winner of Fujifilm Professional Distinctions Award
(photo – David Cottam – Classical Guitarist)
2007 – first Digital SLR (Canon Eos 5D)

Royston 'Stone' Naylor


Commonwealth Photographic Award

The story behind the photo >>>

Fujifilm Professional Distinctions Award

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