We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicola Buck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicola, how do you define success?
Success is relative, but I feel it’s the ability to have life goals and achieve a percentage of them with a sense of accomplishment and with a level of happiness, while accepting some form of failure along the way, because learning from our mistakes is a crucial part of motivating change. While doing the very best one possibly can, holding dreams and high expectations, but being realistic and sensitive to others as you move through. Not being greedy, or over ambitious but with a strong will to keep pushing forward and wanting the best from yourself. Becoming an inspiration for others is a real bonus as well as having a positive impact on the world, as a result of your actions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work. I love my job! I create images for individuals and commercial brands and I tell stories through creative portraiture. I also photograph live music for various music publications and food photography has become something I love. It’s been a long journey really, and very much a case of learning on the job with a fine art education. I didn’t really find my place in the image making world until several years out of college and only got there from having had the experience of many different jobs. Before moving to Germany and now here, California, I worked in London for several years. In stock image, advertising and design agencies and with other photographers. At times I didn’t feel like I had much direction, or that I belonged anywhere in particular. At the same time, I enjoyed the buzz, and started to appreciate creativity in commercial and competitive industries. I wasn’t ready to be a photographer at the time. Definitely not.
To be open to different creative disciplines and push yourself out of my comfort zone was never easy for me, as an anxious individual, back in the day. In retrospect, I see this as the best kind of therapy. Instead of seeing my situation as somewhat lacking in direction back then, I wish I had been able to view it for what it was, a wonderful and open way to live as a young creative. Embracing the unpredictably of life, as scary as it might have been, gaining practical and life experience in so many different areas. To learn from others and observe. As a curious, empathic, creative person, I needed this exploration time, to grow and find my purpose. Everything I learned enabled me to do what I do now. All good lessons!
Recently, I made the decision to specialize in creative portraits. For both private and high profile clients. Both ends of the spectrum require knowing how to bring out the best in that person. My goal, to portray someone in their best light, while allowing them to be themselves. It’s not that easy to do. Some are naturals because they are performers. Regardless, I want to make people feel significant and seen. Creating a quality aesthetic but at the same time, connecting with the notion that we exist beyond the outer layers of our body. I therefore, aspire to reveal these aspects in my images. The energetic, or spiritual self. I am aware of the details of my surroundings and very observant in nature. This is what sets my work apart. My approach is intuitive, flexible and non intrusive. The relationship between subject and artist is key as the artist’s eye is part of the story. The current trend in the search for self and authenticity is a fascinating one. I could talk about it for days but really – to have a good online presence which shows your best and authentic self is even more critical now than ever before. In a professional capacity and for social networking. We have become so restricted – we are all working from home and there has been so much confusion over the years with glossy manipulated content from all directions. Which leads to me to my other new part of my business – the fascinating world of dating profile portraits! (Watch this space for a new website).
I have found that I really enjoy the process of making images which have the potential to create a difference in someone’s love life. A tool to find a potential partner. It is the best feeling and I can share my own experience as we talk – I have insight! I have even extended my bag of tricks to a self portraiture. consultation. I can help expand an individuals creativity in the form of the shameless selfie! “Show yourself and show up for yourself.” Experimenting and having fun. How you feel can be seen externally, but even if it’s hard to be open to this, a few good pictures can turn it around, start the ball rolling. Visualization is very powerful.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, that’s easy, a tour of the Santa Monica mountains though Malibu. LA beaches – and up to Ventura – with my dogs. A lot of hiking in nature. Topanga and Will Rogers parks. Sunset viewing from a secret location! Being a Brit, I like to go for a nostalgic pint at Ye Olde Kings Head. The Harbor room and other bars in Playa del Rey have a good vibe. I love dinner at Barrique, Cassia or Golden Bull. I also love a lot of low key places. Kreation, Cafe Vida, Taiko. There is an awesome French restaurant on Wilshire, called Belle Vie. We have had fun in there! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Clients, who have put their trust in me, to be the one who tells their story and to portray who they are. This includes friends – I am so grateful. Photographs can be key in defining a moment in time, and be pivotal in someone else’s success as well as creating memories. It’s a great responsibility and one I love! Los Angeles, this city, I am grateful for – for allowing dreams to unfold into reality. For enabling me to develop something I thought was out of my grasp. In my creative past, all the artists, writers and photographers whose work I admire and who have influenced how I see the world. Current successful photographers whom I might envy, sometimes too much, but have allowed me the emotion, which has lead to that motivational kick in the butt and take action. (If they can, so can I.) My friend Patrick Fraser, a very accomplished photographer, has been so generous, since I arrived in the States, in sharing his technical and business knowledge through the years, when I knew very little. He ended up hiring me to photograph his wedding in Brazil. My ex husband, who works in advertising, for being very matter of fact and pushy – years back, encouraging me to accept that my work is of commercial standard. Also, my friend, model and photographer, Bruce Hulse for involving me in his world of super models, allowing me an experience on another level, here in LA. Thank you! My kids for being amazing models too. Family and brilliant friends obviously!!
All my own – Nicola Buck Photography.