Māgoa presents Nick Prideaux, an Australian photographer and visual storyteller based in Paris, France.
Could you quickly introduce yourself in a few short sentences? Who you are, what you do at the moment and where are you from?
My name is Nick Prideaux and I am an Australian photographer and visual storyteller based in Paris, France. I’m originally from Byron Bay, a small coastal town on the east side of Australia. I work on long and short term photographic projects in a diaristic manner centring on fleeting intimacies sliced between the every day minutiae.
How would you describe your beginnings in the creative field?
I picked up my first camera in high school and adored taking photography classes, but I was always drawn to film and the moving image. I went on to study Media and Screen Production in university but grew tired of the laborious nature of it so I started to take photos as my own personal project. It wasn’t until I moved to Tokyo in 2012 that I really started to fall in love with the medium and embrace it for all it is.
Was this the career path you have always wanted or is it different from what you have imagined it to be?
As above, I had envisioned myself more as a writer/director working in film. I still have a yearning to do it but for now photography is my main focus – it still provides me with a visual language to try and do my best to interpret the world.
Are there any photographers who have particularly influenced you and your work?
Photographers whose work I admire include Lina Scheynius, Ren Hang, Rinko Kawauchi, William Eggleston and Wolfgang Tillmans.
There is this assumption in the art industry that difficult times and experiences lead to the artist’s most creative work. What is your take on that? Where do you draw your own inspiration?
I think that this is starting to become an archaic view of how artists are perceived. For whatever reason, there’s somewhat of a romanticized notion about being an artist producing work under heavy mental and emotional duress that I think needs to be discarded. More importantly, I think there is a big general shift into how mental health plays such an importance in your life – whether you are an artist or not. I don’t subscribe to the ‘tortured artist’ trait.
Inspiration comes in its own way but looking through instagram, photo books and watching good films will always motivate me to pick up my camera.
Is there anything in particular that inspires you right now?
I just relocated to Paris this summer so at the moment it’s all coming from living in a new city. I love walking here, coffee breaks on the terraces watching people and getting to as many galleries as I can. It’s a slow process of becoming familiar with a place and kind of getting inside it but it’s all inspiring.
How did you develop your distinctive visual language, this ubiquitous intimacy, which we see in your work today? Did you know it since the very beginning or was it more of a gradual process?
It’s always a gradual process. It’s taken a while for my work to become ‘mine’ in a way and I hope it’s always evolving. All of this visual input – films, YouTubes, photos – you end up using it all in some way or another to create your own dialogue. It just takes a while to form and there slowly becomes a fluency to it – kind of like learning a language.
How have you and your work evolved over time?
I hope there is a little more maturity to my work than before, if I look at old photos that I took 5 or 6 years ago they seem to have a different feel to them. I shot flash, a little rawer and off the hip. I feel like my work now is slower in a way, only using natural light, more still – perhaps that’s an age thing too.
Do you remember your first ever photograph and what was its motive?
I think like most kids with cameras you don’t really know what your motive is – but you just enjoy the act of doing it. My first photo was probably a photo of my pet dog Charlie.
What is one project you are most proud of?
My first solo show ‘Selected Ambience (2013-2016)’ in Bangkok back in 2016 was a pretty immense undertaking. When everything came together and I could sit back and look back at all my work on the wall I felt a mix of elation and proudness. It’s something I will always remember.
Do you have anything particular you like to focus on when you’re taking a photo?
Mostly what the light and colour is doing within the frame.
What technology / software / camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best?
I only shoot with film cameras as I love how you can’t see the results right there and then. I can stay more in the moment when I’m not constantly checking a screen. I have enough other screens in my life so it’s nice to have one less.
What is the best thing you have experienced by being a photographer so far?
It’s always nice to hear or read what someone has felt when viewing one of your photographs. I think it’s a really powerful thing that you can stir another person’s feelings in a different way – I feel like my job is done if the image emotes or resonates with the viewer in their own little way.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your work?
I have a friend that has a print of mine (it’s a photograph of a hand holding a glass of soda water) and every time she looks at it it reminds her to drink more water – I think that’s sweet.
What would you like to see more of in the photography world?
Representation is critical – more skin colours, genders, faces and body types.
What’s next for you? Do you maybe have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I’m currently working on my first photo book that will be published later this year which I’ve been working on now for a while – I’m super excited about it. It will be a document of the last 5 or 6 years of my 35mm work.
Nick, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects.