IWMxTheOGC: The Comfort of Strangers -NDR

NDR is me. I am a Midlands based photographer with a small studio in Tuxford, Nottinghamshire.

Arriving at my studio after the insanity of the school run (although after 14 years it is getting slightly more bearable) and between the pretty witching hours of 9.30 & 3pm -put on the music, breathe, listens to the breath, stares into space-  then enters ‘The Zone’, one of the small scruffy rooms I rent and photograph in. This I do every day.

NDR is me; a drug addict. My drug of choice – Photography .

My studio is far from the cutting-edge , I tend to use home-made backdrops, and a bed sheet.  Everything I have in my studio has been scored from the local charity shop or cobbled together by myself from things found laying around. I shoot with two Canons, one of which was half-funded by the Bassetlaw Enterprise board after I stood in front of a panel and tried to convince them to help me in some way to fund a camera so I could take my ‘business’ out of my dining room and into a ‘space’. When my jobs are done, I  experiment and practice my personal photography-  street portrait and conceptual photography.

The photography included here is example of my Street Project ’30 Seconds of Street Portrait #Thecomfortofstrangers’ .

How do I choose my subjects?… Different ways, they choose me by way of eye contact and a smile, or I choose them by way of something about that person intrigues me, of course it may be something glaringly obvious like a head tattoo, or it may be a style of coat because I love fashion & style, or the way someone holds themselves or presents themselves, mostly it is do with their eyes.

My approach, is never from behind, I always tell people who are going to shoot street portrait don’t creep up behind someone as you will set them off in a bad mood, no-one likes surprises in the street, gently gently. Also don’t come across like someone rattling a tin begging for a photo, busy time-starved people are quick to turn you down if they think you are selling something, so get that across first thing. I approach with a warm smile and explain very clearly what I would like. I show them my street cards which have all my street portrait pictures on them, and we take it from there, hopefully then we ‘make’ a portrait together.

I do want to have a good street portrait collection of all the wonderful diverse humans in this part of the world but would love to shoot street in another country… Paris?…one day.

Light is my affair, I have a romance with natural light. I don’t use any flash, only the big one in the sky on a cloudy day, which is perfect for street portrait. I have never used flash – just natural light – which has its challenges and its uniqueness.

I shoot street portrait with a Canon  5D Mark II and pancake lens using Lightroom and  Exposure 7 in the editing and developing process.

I am careful how I treat people on my street adventure , I keep integrity, always be kind, respect a ‘no thank you ‘ or even a ‘f** off” , people have the right to refuse as you have the right to ask politely. Most people still love having their portrait taken, but  I don’t take, we make.

For more of  Nicola’s work and updates check out her website or follow her in Instagram 

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