We are happy to introduce you to our Top 10 Interview with a Photographer series! Meet photographer #5, Nic Nichols, as interviewed by nation_of_pomation. Does his name sound familiar? Bet it does - he maintains an informative blog about film photography, Four Corners Dark.
How did you get started in analogue photography and what about it appeals to you?
I started out as an analog photographer, throughout High School and College. During my last year in College in Philly we learned about this new thing called ‘Photoshop v2.0’ and my life changed, quite literally. I went to the University of Delaware to Study under John Weiss and was the first graduate of their electronic imaging program (early 90’s). But after years of shooting digital, and spending hours in Photoshop, at the end of the day I wanted to get back to the simplicity of film.
What was the first analogue camera that was truly yours and how did you come about getting it?
I got an old Nikorrmat from my Grandfather, when I was about 14. That was my first real introduction to photography.
What is your favorite toy/lomo/vintage camera you’ve ever owned, and why?
I would have to say the Holga 120. It’s been my camera of choice for a long time, and I think that I have gotten some of my finest images from it. The Holga is really the symbol for lo-fi photography, it’s a camera stripped down to the bare essentials. Just zone focus, two f-stops and a plastic lens. Unpredictable results, light leaks… each image is a little surprise that you get once you process it.
What is your favorite thing to do other than analogue photography?
Well, two things. First I own a store that has become one of the largest independent film and toy camera stores on the web. I love searching down old film, new cameras, making deals and interacting with clients. I never thought that I could combine my love of cameras with business, but it has been a perfect marriage. Secondly, I am obsessed with cars.. always have been. So I like to watch Formula One, work on cars, race our Mini Cooper and we’re about to embark on one of my life long dreams: restoring a 1966 Porsche.
What five things you always have with you when you’re shooting?
Holga, SuperHeadz Slim camera, bag of various films, Digital harinezumi, and one or two ‘special cameras’ picked out for that day of shooting…
If someone off the street asks you, “Why analogue?” (or “What the hell is that thing you’re holding and why can’t I see the picture you just took?”), how do you respond?
That film photography has a soul that digital photography will never possess. You can talk megapixels all you want, but you’ll never get the same feel from a digital image. Digital also takes away too much of the skill involved in creating an image. I like to work without a net, no photoshop, no auto exposure, just real images from real film.
What inspires your photography, or what is it that drives you to shoot?
Just capturing that moment in time, that split second of life that you can look at again and again. Documenting our lives, environments and emotions.
What is the one non-camera item that is essential to your photography?
I hate to say it, but my Mac. Without a good computer I would have no way to spread the images to world, write my blog or maintain the store.
What is your favorite type of film, and why?
Kodak Ektrachome VS, super saturated, thick rich colors that look fantastic processed regular or cross-processed.
Any advice you’d like to share that has helped you with your own analogue photography?
Don’t take anything too seriously. Have fun with it.. it’s not a competition, and not every image is going to come out. Don’t always worry about getting into shows, or selling your images. Make the images you want to make.
Nic Nichols can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nation_of_pomation’s LomoHome: http://lomography.com/homes/nation_of_pomation