I’ve known Australian photographer Nicole Reed for a good few years now, mostly via her great work for Australian T-shirt journal, T-World. She’s easily one of the best photographers I know, and I have to thank Eddie Zammit, founder of “the world’s only T-shirt journal” (interviewed), for connecting us. He is a huge supporter of her work – Nicole accompanied him to the US several times to shoot portraits for the publication, shooting some of the biggest names in art, design, and streetwear in the process. We met on one of these visits and have kept in touch since. You can follow Nicole on Instagram for more incredible photography. So without further ado…
Where are you today? At the moment I’m sitting in a 6 seater van on my way to Mungo National Park to shoot an album cover. It’s a 13 hour drive from where I live in Melbourne to central NSW where the desert is!
What are you working on? Commission-wise, I’ve been shooting the collateral for a huge lawn tennis club. It’s one of the biggest shoots I’ve worked on, as I’ve been shooting every aspect of their facilities. They are a dream client! I’ve also been shooting a few interiors for my client Hot Black, shooting the album cover in the desert, some clothing flat lays, some portraits for a tattoo magazine, portraits for the Hype DC in-store magazine “Limit’d”, some lifestyle shots for Crumpler and some press shots for Producer Plutonic Lab (Leigh Ryan), which have been a lot of fun! A pretty good variety of things there!
What was your introduction to photography? My first introduction (that I can remember) was when I was 9 when I made a pin hole camera on a school camp, out of my dads tobacco tin. I still remember my teacher and and the photo! I grew up in a small country town in the ’80s, so it wasn’t really encouraged to follow an “artistic” career. I went onto work as a graphic reproducer, then scanner operator, retoucher and finished artist. Part of my job was to work with artists and photographers reproducing their hard copies into digital, printable files that were as close to original as possible. At the time it was an in demand skill to have as there were no computers that did this for you! I ended up working in-house on a magazine, and the publisher asked me if I’d be interested in taking photos for one of the publications, I said yes, and that was it really. It was at a time when digital photography was just becoming popular, I was the only person I knew who had one for a long time (it was 2 megapixels!). I found the transition extremely easy as I already had the skills to work digitally where other photographers didn’t, so I guess I was pretty lucky!
What are some of the things you’re most interested in shooting? People definitely. And people in their environment especially. Ideally, as with every photographer, I’d love to travel and concentrate on reportage/travel photography. But realistically, portraits are my favourite thing. I also really love shooting architecture, especially interiors. It’s quite demanding, controlling different light sources and temperatures, but I find it so satisfying looking at beautifully strait parallel lines in a new corporate interior!
Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in travel. Being freelance it makes it harder and at the same time easier to find this inspiration. I can travel when I want (finances depending!) but I generally cannot afford to be away from home and my clients for more than two weeks at a time. I also find a lot of inspiration in the people around me. I am lucky enough to know some incredible inspiring people, from art collectors, to publishers, to musicians, to artists, writers and other photographers.
Have you had any big breaks or projects you’re particularly proud of? My work with Eddie Zammit and T-world Journal has been quite important to me, this publication has meant I have got to meet and photograph some incredible people, some really important and creative people and the experiences I have had working with Eddie are like no other! We have travelled the the USA several times to shoot and also collaborated on a few huge exhibitions. Last year, I was commissioned by White Night Melbourne to produce a photography installation that was projected onto the National Gallery, which is two stories tall. It had over 500,000 visitors. It was a huge buzz to see my work so large! At the end of last year I had a solo exhibition called “No Dunk Shots” which was part of the Independent Photography Festival. Showing some images of bballers and courts I have been taking over the last 2 years.
Got any future plans or projects coming up? Personally I have a few things underway, including trying to find funding for a mixed-media project I am collaborating on with Leigh Ryan about a trip we took to Hong Kong which includes visual and audio. It’s been in production stages for ever! Hopefully in the next few months we will get it underway. Future plans, as much travel as I can afford, and start working on a few other portrait projects so I can exhibit next year. I think it’s important to keep exhibiting.