As you may recall, we did a short feature on young photographer Nicolette Clara Illes’ lovely analogue portraiture a few weeks back. We’ve recently gotten in touch with the London-based photographer through this e-mail interview, where she opened up on how she started with photography, what her favorite subjects are, why she chooses to shoot film, and so much more!
Hello, Nicolette! Please tell us a bit more about yourself.
Hello! My name is Nicolette Clara Iles and I’m a photographer from Kent in England who is based in London. I’m also a big fan of anything involving beautiful colors!
How and when did you first dabble with photography? What made you pursue it and why do you choose to shoot film?
I’m often told by my mother that as a young child, I would climb up to cupboards so I could reach her camera. Years later, when I could actually be trusted to hold a camera, I found interest in photographing parts of my life, places I loved, strangers, and friends. It was around age 15 that I really decided I wanted to pursue my photography interest. At 16, I began uploading my photographs to various websites and had my first agency model shoot, too.
I think what made me pursue photography as a career is the drive to create. I’m always, always eager to create something. I chose to shoot with film, first with disposables and then later with 35mm SLRs, because I wanted to challenge myself in the way that you never know what you’re going to get! With film, you have to think more about what you want to capture and how you want to do it, and that’s one of many reasons I love working with it. It’s exciting.
What/who are your favorite subjects?
People are my favorite subjects, definitely. Young people are fascinating to photograph because there’s that fast-moving exuberance of youth that’s great to capture. I love shooting with all types of people, though. I love to shoot with people who have an almost magical quality to their personalities.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I would say my photographic style is quite reflective of my personality. It’s often bright, colorful and dreamlike. When photographing, I always want to evoke many emotions within the images, whatever the subject. Photographs that look like memories are my favorite, and hopefully it’s what my work conveys, too.
Have you ever had any experience shooting with Lomography cameras? If so, kindly share your story with us!
(Nicolette, unfortunately, was unable to provide us with the photos, explaining, “I’m afraid I haven’t got the prints from when I used the Diana and won’t have access to a darkroom for a while.” However, she also revealed, “Lomochrome Purple is next on my wishlist so I’ll let you know when I get around to buying some of that and creating!”)
What are the cameras that you use? What’s your favorite, if any, and why?
I mainly use a 35MM Canon EOS 300. It’s not the most extravagant of cameras but it does the job well! For digital, I’d use a Canon 7D, and another film camera I use is the AE-1. My favorite is probably the EOS 300N film camera because I’ve had it for so long that I hate parting with it!
What inspires you? Also, who are the photographers and/or artists that you look up to?
Honestly, everything inspires me. Sometimes the least likely things will end up sparking inspiration, and I’ll end up with an idea for a photograph. Colors inspire me a lot, as well as the emotions certain colors can cause. The artists I look up to are very varied, so it’s anyone from Paolo Roversi or Karl Ferris to younger photographers such as Alison Scarpulla and Neil Krug. I’m very much inspired by old paintings as well and surreal art films like those of Georges Méliés.
You’ve already shot for modeling agencies, magazines, clothing lines, and even musicians! What’s your favorite project that you’ve done so far? Any interesting and memorable story? Please tell us about it!
It’s hard to pick a favorite project, as all of them are snapshots into my progress so I like them equally. The most interesting stories usually involve me falling over while shooting on location!
Your dream project?
My dream project would be to photograph someone like Natasha Kahn of Bat for Lashes. She’s been such an inspiration over the years. My absolute dream project would probably involve a big beautiful house or a shoot in the desert would be amazing!
Aside from photography, is there anything else that you do?
I also write poetry, and occasionally model for other photographer friends. I really enjoy writing though, and perhaps would like to write more publically in the future.
What has been keeping you busy these days? Any ongoing/upcoming projects that you’d like to share with us? Exhibitions you’d like to promote?
Life has been keeping me busy! I recently finished all my studying so am no longer a student, and am trying to get more into my photography and work with more people. I had to take a short break from shooting for a couple months and it’s felt like a lifetime. I have a shoot I’ve currently just finished editing into a story as we speak! All I can say now is watch this space.
Any advice that you could give to other aspiring photographers?
Never give up. If you fail, and we all do sometimes, then keep trying and if it’s meant to be you’ll get there in the end. Shoot what makes you happy too.
Any last words?
Thank you! I’ll be updating my website very soon and keep being creative, Lomographers!
All photos in this article were provided to Lomography by Nicolette Clara Illes.
Related article: Analogue Portraiture by Nicolette Clara Iles.