Having studied a diverse range of subjects at Cape Technikon and then at the University of Cape Town, Nick’s first real job was as a photographer for the biggest local Afrikaans language paper. In his second month Nick met and photographed Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, got shot at in a riot and had an image of the first fish in Cape Town’s new aquarium on the front page. He was instantly hooked!
But hard news wasn’t Nick’s passion and after 2 years of late nights, men with guns, crying women and lots of dead bodies, he began looking at ways of making more subtle, sensitive images and telling different kinds of stories.
“After a stint working as a (very bad) paparazzi photographer, amongst other things, in London, I spent a few years being mentored by some really great commercial photographers, while working as an assistant (basically a glorified truck driver) in the Cape Town summer fashion season, and freelancing for magazines and newspapers in the off-season,” says Nick.
I have been lucky enough to have been able to explore so many of the things that interest me about society and the world, vicariously, through photography.
In his 20 years as a photographer, Nick’s work has appeared in most of the major publications in South Africa and numerous international titles. He’s shot some advertising campaigns, books, magazine covers, annual reports and countless portraits for corporate, advertising and editorial clients. “I’ve even won a couple of awards!” adds Nick.
“In the last few years, however, it has been the craft of image-making itself that has really captured my imagination and in a sense it feels like a kind of homecoming,” explains Nick. “I love the tools available today and the old school stuff stashed away in my cupboards. I love film and digital and all the possible cross-pollinations of the two. I love the story-telling capabilities of working with motion and the crafting and subtlety that modern photographic post-production affords us now.”
Through all the years, though, there is one thing that hasn’t change in his work. No matter whether it’s products on a white background, endangered predators in a makeshift studio in the wild, the captains of industry or the masters of physical movement … it is always personal!
Nick’s interest in photographing horses came from a couple of places. “As a teenager I was completely obsessed with William Albert Allard’s work with Cowboys in the US, first for National Geographic and then for those amazing Marlboro Ads,” he explains.
“I rode a lot as a kid, but sadly, I’m a city boy, so horses always existed at a distance from my life and the circles I move in, but when my daughter was born we started hanging out at the Hout Bay Riding Centre and spending time with horses. Horses have been one of the few constants in our lives over the last few years.”
I’ve really only touched the surface of where I’d like to take this part of my work.
Nick would love to collaborate with trainers, breeders and owners to produce more images like ‘Ramses’ (used on the May 2015 cover of HQ Magazine) and the image of Kim Meaker and Huntingdon shortlisted in the FEI photography competition last year.