Nicholas is a photographer and educator based in London. Starting his career in the analogue age working as an assistant to many established photographers, he progressed to making work for editorial clients and record companies.
After completing his MA at Falmouth College of Art, Nicholas started teaching. With a full-time teaching role Nicholas concentrates his photographic practice on areas that are important to him. It reflects what he is concerned about preserving. He uses 35mm analogue and digital depending on the nature of the project. His recent work is shot using only daylight relying on simplicity and the interaction with his subjects.
– How and when did you become interested in photography?
I became serious about photography after my twin brother Simon died in 1988.
It was something that we both had interest in, and this event prompted me to go to college and start a more formal understanding of the medium. With the help of a supportive lecturer I was able to progress quickly on to a professional course and my career began in earnest.
– Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
Nick Knight! Yes, I know this legendary photography normally works in colour but his work ethic and pushing of boundaries is a constant source of inspiration. I have no desire to be a clone of another photographer, so Knight provides me with motivation and a desire to improve. In terms of photographers who made work relying solely on composition and observation embracing the B&W medium; André Kertész and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
– Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
I am intrigued by the escapism of monochrome and it acknowledges the classic look of those who inspired me originally. Two of whom are listed above. The removal from reality, the entering of a fantasy world full of tones and devoid of colour has a strong appeal.
– How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
The technical preparations and equipment are minimal, with ‘One and the Same’ the biggest challenge was finding identical twins who would allow me to photograph them at their home.
All the work for this project is on 35mm with a standard lens using day light only. This helps to explain why the images are cropped tightly. It is then about trying build a rapport and sometimes this will involve a period of embedding in their lives even in a small way. Photographing someone in their private space is personal and requires a building of trust. Often there is a lot of rearranging of furniture and putting the models in whatever limited daylight I can find. These technical constraints that I have placed on myself do give the work a uniformity and cohesion. As a ‘Lone Twin’ the other preparation I had to make was an emotional one to use my camera to photograph twins. Additionally the 35mm camera used for the project was given to me by my Father as a Christmas present tin the year of Simon’s death.
– Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
My latest project is documenting independent high street shops. I want to record those on the front line of enterprise before the high street morphs into homogeneous retail chains. I spend hours in their shops chatting to the customers and working slowly photographing the premises. This will often involve going back many times over a few weeks, so the customers and owners get to know me. There are many shops that are worthy of inclusion and I would like to include second-hand bookshops and some more traditional retailers who are undergoing fundamental changes.