Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Glasgow based photographer, NickyPhotographer.
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me. We should probably start at the beginning...When and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?
'I had failed at everything else in life so I had nothing really to lose. When I was a kid I had dreamed of being a photographer, captivated by photographs in old books and annuals once owned by my father which he had passed on to me which featured everything from old cowboy photo-stories to football images from the 1950s. The only real link to all the photographs is that they were all black & white and growing up in the beige 1970s and the garish 1980s I viewed all those pictures as an exiting alien world. Unfortunately, back in those days photography was expensive not least the cost of film as 36 mistakes added up to an entire roll of wasted film rather than just 120MB of memory which can be quickly freed up anyway in this digital age, so sadly I was unable to afford to get into photography. Many years past, not least my years of teenage vices, twenty-something relationships and focusing on a career in my 30s and i just never seemed to have the time for photography and my dream was put to one side and largely forgotten until my 40th birthday when I had some kind of mid-life crisis as I was passing a CEX store and saw a 2nd hand silver coloured Canon 400D that seemed to call to me. And that was it!'
Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?
'I would definitely describe my photography as awesome, verging on the genius but most people would not agree with me! Even most models I work with are not very impressed with the photographs I send on to them after each shoot but I think that's due to the fact that I don't Photoshop or do any post-editing short of cropping. I'm quite certain that many a model has been disappointed at opening those email attachments and not seeing themselves in front of some Mad Max post-apocalyptic style backdrop with a baby swan perched on their shoulder and glitter emanating from their bottoms and it's a pity as I would love for the models to fall in love with the images I lovingly create but I know what I want to shoot and I am convinced that I am treading the right path, completely undaunted by what all other photographers are doing.'
Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?
'If truth be told I would love to be a wildlife photographer, but unfortunately, I have had to admit to myself that I am rubbish at wildlife photography. My rudimentary camera equipment would rule me out of this particular style of photography anyway, and even if I did have the patience to sit around for days waiting for a golden eagle to swoop past, something invariably would go wrong. Which is why I decided instead to photograph nude women who are far less likely to hide themselves behind a rocky outcropping or poop on my camera. I think it's really important to acknowledge your limitations so that you can concentrate on the things you are good at.'
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
'My inspiration comes from the knowledge that when I take a photograph it's an original image and the first and only time that moment has been captured. Nobody will ever take the exact same photo from the exact same angle in the exact same place of the exact same person so that image will always be my creation.'
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
'That's a good question! Only old family photographs ever used to held any significance to me and as most of my family have passed away so most of the photographs have been put away. Stieglitz's horse and cart photograph does hold some significance for me however, as it's the first time I saw how a photograph could be like a living breathing image, a doorway you could almost pass through into another moment in another world. I swear every time I see that photograph the steam from that horse moves!'
Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?
'Every photoshoot scares me as I've always been pretty socially inept and I often end up talking for the sake of talking, the result of which makes me sound like a serial killer who has drank too much Sunny D. Once, during a shoot with a model who had a partner in attendance, the lovely young lady told me that if we ever arranged another photoshoot together she would be 'more than happy to do penetration'. I immediately blushed and replied "I'm afraid I'm a bit too old for all that and besides I'm not sure if I would be able to hold the camera steady". She laughed and said that she had meant a more adult shoot with her partner involved but as I don't shoot adult/glamour photography I had to pass on that offer (yes, poor jokes are an important prop on every one of my shoots...)'
We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year? More of the same? Any special projects? Plus in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
'More than anything I want my photography to be remembered, so I will continue to follow no conventions or indeed any rules. Are there any rules? If I'd had any formal training in photography I would probably know the answer to that! I sometimes compare myself to Mother Theresa in so much as she didn't often look like she had a clue how she could pull something off but importantly she was able to get people to sit up and take notice of what she was doing, and like Mother Theresa I also sometimes wear a scarf when it's chilly. I definitely plan to continue bringing more and more elaborate ideas to each new shoot and as time goes by I would also like to do more outdoor work but as i live in Scotland that is dependent on whether I can find models who don't mind suffering a wee bit of frostbite for their art...'
We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?
'Due to financial restraints I use a 12-year-old 2nd-hand Canon 400D and an even older Canon 40D. In terms of props I have used everything from silly string to Bacofoil, football scarves to curdled milk, as well as various elaborate outfits bought from charity shops which often leads to the assistant behind the counter inquiring as to whether I'm just a cheapskate husband or a very prudent cross-dresser (my long hair doesn't exactly help me with my protestations about the latter...) I believe that every photoshoot calls for a different set-up each time, as each model is unique and the dynamics behind the ideas you start out with are quite likely to change during the shoot.'
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find more of you and your work?
'I'm keeping most of my work under wraps in preparation of an exhibition, which I will hopefully get my finger out for in the near future, but I do have a thousand or so up on Viewbug as an example of some of my work. I hope everyone likes it but if they don't then that's okay too! Art is subjective and my art is very subjective...'
I'd like to thank Nicky again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me.