Pixelheads: Nicola Jones

Pixelheads is a new and occasional feature for this blog. When the mood takes me and circumstances allow, I will interview a random person about their photography. The interviews will not be with professional photographers – those can be read in abundance elsewhere. I’m interested to find out what makes a non-professional photographer tick.

Here is the first Pixelheads interview:

Nicola Jones, aged 34, of Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, is a keen photographer, budding graphic designer, and founder of the Bradford on Avon Photography Group.

I asked her about her life, photography, influences and tastes.

Graphic Designer Nicola Jones of Bath

Nicola Jones likes to shoot grime and decay.

What do you do for a living? 

I’m an office manager and designer and to progress my designing career I’m interning at a Bath design agency.

When did you get into photography? 

When I moved to Bradford on Avon in 2009, the place inspired me to start taking pictures.

What cameras do you use? 

I have a Nikon D3000 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm kit lenses, and a 50mm f1.8, which is my favourite lens, a Canon Powershot S90 and a Polaroid 500.

The S90 is my main carry-around camera, with the D3000 being for more complicated stuff. I love using the Polaroid camera, but the new film doesn’t work well through my camera because it’s a bit volatile in daylight, so I need to find packs of old stock.

What kind of pictures do you like to take? 

I’m a bit of a mixed bag really. I went through a big macro phase when I had a macro-enabled bridge camera – shooting things like Lego minifigs (Minifigures), but I’ve got into shooting derelict buildings because I like grime and decay. Street photography too, though not so much of that now.

Lego minifigure with Free Hugs sign.

Nicola's minifig phase...

Tell me more about the minifigs shots. 

I started with standard figures, then they brought out series of figures (Star Wars, Batman) and I’d buy a handful of those. I’d set up film themes like Psycho, Forrest Gump sitting on a bench, that sort of thing.

Titanic? 

No, the arms don’t go out the right way for that, but I did The Shining. But I stopped doing those pics and sold most of the minifigs. I go through phases really.

Why not the street photography so much now? 

I enjoyed it, I used to snap away and not care, but had some run-ins with people complaining and I sort of lost confidence. It doesn’t float my boat as much now.

And the derelict building photography; what draws you to that? 

I’ve been to a few places; hotels old factories, that sort of thing. Obviously you have to be very careful, but it’s so interesting to capture the essence of a place. Getting a sense of what was there before, the life that was there and what used to happen. One hotel I visited still has a website as if it still takes bookings, which is quite funny.

Interior view of derelict building

Vanished lives haunt Nicola's derelict building photos.

Which photographers do you admire? 

Martin Parr; I understand his approach. I just think his photos are amazing. The New Brighton series especially.

Don McCullin also, his conflict work. The landscapes don’t do it for me, but I understand why he had to do them – to get his brain back together again. Then if we’re talking portraits, it’s got to be Jane Bown.

What’s next photography-wise for you? 

At the moment I’m devoting more time to my design work, but looking forward to seeing Martin Parr’s exhibition at the Bristol M shed when I go with the Bradford on Avon Photography Group soon.

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One comment

  • Ken of London September 27, 2011   Reply →

    Well done Tim, look forward to your next interview

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