There is gentleness in Nico Pérez's creative work. It's impossible to look at his soft-focused photographs and wabi-sabi collages and not feel a sense of calm.
Originally from London, Nico is almost on his 11th year in Tokyo, Japan as a photographer, filmmaker, and creative director. He has worked with a remarkable list of clients, from publications such as Penguin Books to American musical trio Khruangbin. Recently, he had an exhibition called '離れる| Take Off', a project that was born out of the experiences and emotions that he felt when moving to a new country and a new city. "What was I doing here? And why? Was I running away from something? Or was I running towards it?"
Here's our little chat with Nico.
Being a photographer and filmmaker - was this part of the plan, or did it happen naturally?
What do you love about being a photographer and filmmaker?
That's all I've wanted to do for quite some time, and it allows me to express myself. I feel very fortunate to have found a way to show a part of me through a craft.
Who or what inspires your craft?
Being open and vulnerable to life, allowing myself to learn from all mistakes and appreciate them at the same time. It brings energy to my work, it brings truth.
How did you get started in photography and filmmaking?
The best way to put it would be, I needed a way to express my feelings and I got my hands on a camera when I was around 19 and it started to become part of me, I would carry it everywhere and it became my direct root of expression at the time. Filmmaking however I was interested from an earlier age, I became very interested in camera movement in relation to the scene, I always feel when I’m behind the camera and photographing or filming someone that the energy created at that moment is all so important to allow some sort of truth to show in the image.
Can you tell us what a typical day is like for you?
A lot of printing, a lot of image creation, I print most of my work in my darkroom (@tokyocolourdarkroom) so it’s a lot of that!
What are the projects that you're most proud of?
The next one. I hope to always look for the next project, I must be present in the moment of whatever project im working on however Id like to hope to think that I am proud of the future development of a project as it slowly grows into its own shoes.
Having moved to Tokyo and being exposed to a different culture, did you notice any changes in your visual style or in the way you see/photograph?
Absolutely, life is constantly changing and challenging, I imagine my visual expression will always be changing, simply because we change as people constantly, even if we are not aware of it. For me, I like to see photography through the way I experience life, so imagine some parts of my photography will express the way I felt in that period of life. Ultimately my "style" will be influenced by my experiences.
What does film photography mean to you?
Photography and image-making are my life, it’s my way of expression and it’s also my job, I'm grateful for this. I print my work in my darkroom so film photography is very important to me, the process of printing is a craft and I dedicate a lot of time to it. I also like my digital camera and my iPhone too, I like the end product to be tangible, printing by whatever means is what I really love, I like the process, to feel the paper and hold it. Whether it’s hand printing or a digital print from digital data, the photograph in its final print form. slightly imperfect, this attracts me.
Given the pandemic situation happening globally, how does this affect your creative habits?
I think my habits are the same, chasing light as much I can, period.