Exclusive Interview with
By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues
Nicola Davison-Reed is a UK-based photographer with a natural light studio in the Robin Hood county of Nottinghamshire.
Nicola shoots portraiture, conceptual, street and weddings; predominantly in black & white. She photographs with two Canons and tends to use homemade backdrops and a bed sheet. Everything she has in her studio has been scored from the local charity shop or has been cobbled together by her, from things she has found lying around.
When her professional assignments are done, Nicola practices and experiments with her personal photography. She loves shooting street portraits, and uses her Canon 5d mark II and pancake lens for this purpose. For the editing and developing process, she uses Lightroom and Exposure7 respectively. She also enjoys Conceptual Photography immensely.
Nicola divides her time between her work and her family, which includes her husband, two daughters and several pets.
Hello Nicola! Thank you for agreeing to this interview with Lens Magazine. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.Hello Nicola! Thank you for agreeing to this interview with Lens Magazine. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Sheffield, raised in the Robin Hood county of Nottinghamshire, and I continue to live and work there. I’m a photographer as well as a mum of two daughters. My family also includes my husband and our pets – a cat, a dog and a hamster. Sadly, the fish died last week. My family is everything to me.
I’ve been interested in photography since I was a young girl and have always made photographs, developing and enlarging my own prints in my bedsit when film was the only option. These days, I’m all digital but maybe one day, I will return to the trays and the reels again.
I have lived in Australia for a year, in Greece, in Italy and in France; working in flower farms, telemarketing, the grapevines, au-pairing, begging and borrowing, so as to travel and see a bit of the world, which I managed to do. Although sometimes, I didn’t know where the next night’s sleep was going to be. The whole adventure was totally worth it.
Please tell us a little bit about your journey as a photographer.
My photography journey started during the long, hot summer of 1975, in Blackpool, with an instant Polaroid and my family. With two sisters and a brother, I had plenty of muses to capture around the sand dunes. I can imagine the journey of a lot of photographers from the seventies, started with the Instamatic.
My inspiration comes from various places – art, music, dreams, literature, societal values, rules, laws, injustice, prejudice, oppression in any form, and of course, the great masters of photography like Eugène Atget, André Kertész, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt. The list is endless. Not to mention, the more recent photographers like Chris Friel, Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman, Claude Cahun. Again, the list is endless.
I’m inspired by everyone I meet and everything. There is always somebody or something to be inspired by. It’s the very backbone of my experience and then my work. I can have an innocent, gentle conversation with a stranger and something they do or say can springboard my inspiration.
Your images have an ethereal and mysterious quality about them. How did you zero-in on B&W photography and this unique style of imagery?
When I was 18, my dad bought me a DIY camera kit (an SLR if you like), with all the gear for developing your own films. From that time, my choice of film has been B&W. The photography books I read were all B&W masters. I just had a natural preference for it. I had experienced the colour Polaroid era and I wanted to learn about B&W.
The still life, the blurred motion and hidden identity images are my personal reaction to the world I live in, have lived in, escaping to or inviting in. My studio allows me not only the physical space but also the inner space required to explore my creativity.
Do you shoot in colour at all? Do you shoot in colour at all?
For my studio business, I shoot in colour, turning images to B&W when colour fails in the photograph. The business folios are mostly in colour. Weddings are 50-50. My portraits, conceptual and street are always B&W.