" My passion is to put the images together with poetry in what I call “Poetry and Pictures", a new Art Genre." Nick Owen
Nick tell us how did your passion for photography begin ?
I felt a deep connection with landscape very early in my childhood.
When there is pain and disappointment in connections with people it is possible to find a sense of connection and care in the beauty and grace of the outside world.
It seemed only natural to try to capture the spirit and beauty of rivers, bridges, mountains and lakes with my little box brownie.
I took history of art courses at school, and was inspired by the great landscape painters, and the creators of the great English parks and estates. It was when my daughter started to win a lot of art prizes I decided to take my own work more seriously and professionally.
And you were right... Did you learn your art at school ?
I had no special education in art or photography, other than the history of art. There I had an excellent teacher, who was kind enough to describe me as his most creative pupil. Then I was fortunate enough to flat share with someone who was doing a degree in photography in London in the 1970’s. I picked stuff up by osmosis and sharing a dark room. In terms of digital work I am completely self taught. Flickr and deviantArt have been my school for studying the work of thousands of other people.
"Diana Goddess of the hunt"
How long could you be far from your camera ?
I confess that sometimes I go out without it. Last Halloween I went out to a bonfire party without it and missed the most incredible sunset ever.
I was sure you had a notebook in your pocket... Who are your greatest inspirators ?
Bill Brandt’s urban landscapes in black and white made a huge impression. But Man Ray was another early influence.
I see my work in poetry and pictures as a broader subject than photography alone, and would like to mention Goya and Dali as profound inspiration. I did sculpture at school and want to include Michelangelo, Henry Moore here too.
And your favourite photographers ?
Robert Doisneau is brilliant at catching people in a city landscape. Though I love Bill Brandt’s landscapes, I am less happy with his nudes.
People like Alex Ingram have encouraged and supported me to embark on my own project of putting together the beauty of the naked human form with the beauty of landscape.
"Exquisite and strange"
How long did it take to find your own style ?
My style is still in some ways embryonic. It emerges as I work with new models and new spaces. But it comes out of who I am as a human being and an artist, and from the thirty years I spent as a therapist and educator.
I see. How do you define it ?
My original idea was to master the art of digital landscape photography, with emphasis on many layers of work from several images in post production. Then I decided to place a figure into the landscape. I cannot yet define my work or my style. I hope it keeps evolving as I learn.
It is still all about the pursuit of natural light for me, how and where it falls and how to catch the right moments.
However clever your editing, you can never make a silk purse out of a sows ear of a scene.
By the way, how did you get into nude art photography ?
Looking at deviantArt, I felt I might have something to contribute myself.
The Wychwood forest near me here is an Eden for me to return to. I thought Eve should be there too. I asked a woman in a shop to model for me. She was a life model any way, by a stroke of luck, judgement or intuition, and said Yes. Now I look for professional and amateur models, and enjoy helping them develop a career.
There is no hazard, all writers know it, isn't it ?... What is your favourite theme ?
It is all about natural symbols for me. The forest, vistas, trees, water are the centre of it. I try to create a relatedness between figure and her setting.
I know that your photography is not mostly about nudes ?
My work is still predominantly landscape. But commercial concerns are pressing in on me. I am taking on commercial work around advertising and even estate agency work.
Do you plan every details from the beginning to the end ?
I research my location quite carefully in advance, and picture in my head the shots I want to create. I like to explore this with the model in advance. But when we get down to it, the light we have at that moment dictates everything.
So, outdoors is your favourite type of location ?
At present my work is all forest. But I am hoping to shoot in mountains and by the sea soon.
Currently I work with a single outdoor light source almost all the time. I will do BW soon, but colour has me captive at the moment.
Some words about your models ? A shooting that you particularly liked ?
Karin was extraordinarily spiritual in a very pagan way. Her poses are almost like prayers. Jess is wonderful. She is too shy for portraits, but will plunge into a roaring stream and do the most daring things to give me the picture I am looking for. I cannot single out one shoot as being more special than the others though. Alice is so beautiful. She lights up a space.
How do you feel at the end of a shooting ?
Exhausted physically and mentally. So much concentration, not to mention lugging heavy camera equipment and tripod deep into the countryside.
Have you a special project you're dreaming about in a near future ?
I want to work with a couple of models together before too long. Adam and Eve or Eve and Lilith.
Wonderful and universal themes ! Is your next exhibition scheduled ?
I am currently on view at the Said Business School in Oxford, but I am hoping to open at the “Creative Gallery” in Woodstock very soon.
"That obscure object of desire"
I know you have published a book. Is there a new one to come ?
I have published a book of poems but not a book of photographs. I set up the “Poetry and Pictures International” gallery on line hosted by Flickr. Before long there will be a Poetry and Pictures Review where I will publish my work.
I have been invited to contribute poetry and pictures to the new “Trespass” Magazine in London. I have a rolling programme of installation/performances in the west midlands, UK.
Nice ! And besides shooting, have you another passion ?
My passion is to put the images together with poetry in what I call “Poetry and Pictures", a new Art Genre.
A message to send ?
I want to see Poetry and Pictures as a new fashion that thousands of people will be engaged in through their social networking sites.
Thank you very much Nick ! Come back soon !
"Rite of Spring"
Nick Owen ©
Nick Owen ©