Eric Page catches up with one of the cities energetic creatives; Nick Ford, photographer. He’s exhibited across the city, in galleries, festivals and has worked for many years at his chosen art.
What was your first photo? It would have been something colourful. I love taking pictures of big architecture, massive engineering fascinates me, I’ve been to Dubai a few times and that place is amazing. I’ve always loved capturing that sense of astonishing human creativity on film. I think the first thing might have been a building.
Who gave you your first camera? My Dad. He lent me his Rollei 35, I remember using it.
Dorothea Lange or David LaChapelle? Lange. I’m more a realistic type. I appreciate the work that goes into sophisticated post production work from a technical point of view but if it’s on my wall I want it honest.
How does success feel? Not having to worry about work, that’s how success feels. Knowing I have enough work, from enough people who are happy with my work.
What got you into Photography? My Dad used to take photos of peoples’ weddings, it was his paid hobby. I’d go along with him and assist. Carrying his bag and changing his lenses. I was tiny, I could hardly carry the bag, but I managed! It’s a much-loved Billingham camera bag, it’s worn and needs some attention but I still use it.
What brought you to Brighton? Ha ha! I was born here, in the Royal Sussex, lived here all my life. I’m Brighton born and bred and proud of it. I love this city, it’s mix and acceptance of all different types of people.
Tell us something about your grandmother… She used to take my twin sister and I off to her place and make us these most amazing Cypriot traditional treats. Her roast dinners were amazing too. Our Grandparents’ places were always busy, always welcoming. My family is mixed, English, Turkish & Greek Cypriots.
What’s your signature style? I’m more about the physical medium my pictures end up on. I like to print on Kodak Endura (metallic photographic paper) it gives me the look I like. My Studio is open to the public, people can come along and check my work out.
What else do you do in the city? I sing, for the Brighton’s Gay Men’s Chorus which has given me so much. I’ve learnt and grown as a person since singing with them and I recently gave my first paid gig on my own, as a Kate Bush impersonator. Some girls in the front thought I was miming but it was my own voice.
What’s your fave song to sing? I love to sing Laura Palmer by Bastille – it suits my tenor voice. I come back to it time and time again.
What’s your biggest headache? Juggling different parts of my life can be a headache but also heartache. My parents have a strong faith, which like many faiths, condemns homosexuality. We all live in the same house so out of respect for them I sometimes feel that, unfairly, my life is compromised.
What makes you cringe? People saying that they’ll get their friend to do their wedding photos. You’ll take three things home with you after a wedding; your ring, your partner and your photos. They are your memories and to let someone who says they’ve got a decent camera capture the most important day in your relationship makes me cringe. People think anyone can take a beautiful picture, but like anything else it takes skill, experience and training to do really good work.
When did you last cry? There was a man in the street near my studio. He was distressed, ill, and harming himself with a knife. People were scared. I called the police to assist him, and I took control until they arrived. Afterwards a journalist asked if I had any photos of him with the knife for their article. This lack of care, of social consideration for people, of basic human decency made me cry.
Monochrome film or DSLr? Film every time. Digital is great and very easy to work with, but if I could afford to I’d use film all the time.
How has being LGBTQ influenced you? It’s given me contacts and allowed me to offer my work and skills to support charities I believe in. I’ve supported The Sussex Beacon, The Dogs Trust, Sussex Wild Life Trust. It’s great to give to the local community.
Advice for budding business folk? I worked on cruise liners for years, toured the world, then thought that’s it! I want a studio, I want it here, so did it. That’s my advice: do it, if you want to.
You can see Nick’s work during the Christmas Artists Open Houses until the 2nd weekend in December (10 & 11th) 10am-5pm, at Oxford Street Studio, 19 Oxford Street, Brighton, BN1 4LA. Tel: 07834 912247.
May Festival Artists Open House, & Fringe shows (TBC in the new year)
Hear Nick sing with the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus Christmas show Pull a Cracker, December 10, at the Dome, Brighton.
For more information about Nick Ford, click here: