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Amazing Photographers: Lizzy Nicholson

Ruby Byrogue

Image by Lizzy Nicholson

Image by Lizzy Nicholson

How did you get started in photography? 

I grew up certain that I was going to be an illustrator, avidly reading Juxtapoz magazine...  But then photography ended up becoming the best way to translate what was going on inside my head to the outside world. Inventing characters and scenarios is a big part of my job.

Everybody is curious to see a photograph of themselves, and every business needs visual content, so it allows me to connect with almost anybody, anywhere. Photography opens doors that might otherwise remain closed, which sometimes leads to troublesome adventures when I'm travelling.

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson


What inspires you? 

Music cultures inspire me, and I guess consuming a lot of imagery all of the time shapes my aesthetic and sense of style. Mood-boarding is really important, I spend a lot of time collecting imagery from magazines of the 80s and 90s to scan and group together. 

How would you describe your dress style?

I'm very active, there's definitely a hint of athleticism in there and you need to feel comfortable when you're navigating a heaving central London. I grew up a total tomboy as well, so I wear guys t-shirts and sweatpants, but these days I mix it up with something feminine, like a bag or jewellery. I love jewellery - I'm always wearing gold as it suits my skin tone.

What was the last piece of clothing you bought? 

I think it was this oversized t-shirt from the Mister Green Lifestore in Los Angeles. I have a huge sticker archive as well and came out of there with my hands full of stickers, 'zines, booklets and keepsakes.

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson

Which have been your top three exhibitions you have seen this year?

I've been working and travelling so much (just did Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, then straight into Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine), I haven't had the chance to get to any yet. I always have my eyes on a few select artists to see what they're up to - Jamian Juliano-Villani and Ivar Wigan are two of the most interesting artists about at the moment.

Where do you think your industry is going, what does the future hold for Photography?

It's saturated with a lot of vacuous bullshit (what isn't?) but as with anything, if you have an imagination you'll stand out.  

Visual communication is so important to every industry, so there's always going to be work for photographers. Viewers make snap visual judgements about your business, exactly where to place it in our seething and confusing society, or what your music is going to be like before they've even listened - so the job is not just about pressing buttons, you need to be an art director, you need to know what's what. If you're shooting a recording artist, you have to know their genre and any sub genres, all the visual references within them and what you might say if you fuse two of them together. 

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson

What do you think of London as a base? Do you think that your location has helped to influence and/or inspire your work?

I've been here for 10 years, so I now fully see it as my hometown and without it I wouldn't have met all the people or had a fraction of my life experiences that led me down the path to where I am now. You get woven into stories in London, trouble finds you.

London music culture is also a big part of my life and my work. We birth new genres here. I have my people here. It's the best place to begin your journey as a new artist in any field, because all of the record labels and people and businesses are pretty much saturated into this one city.

British people are a bit closed off emotionally, though, which bugs me. In the States people are way more open to chatting to strangers and some beautiful collaborations have happened out of that on my trips. 


What are some of the best and worst parts of being an artist?

The best - I pretty much get to do whatever I want, whenever I want. The worst - having no stability used to stress me out a lot more than I cared to recognise. Visual communication doesn't get the respect that it deserves and people want you to create something spectacular for them on no budget.

Image shot by Lizzy Nicholson


What’s been your proudest moment so far?

I guess, collectively, lots of proud moments over the years. I'm always happy with myself for pushing through the bullshit obstacles that can get in the way when you are running your own business. You have to want it more than anything else in the world. 


What’s next for you? Are there more things you want to try? 

 A magazine is coming soon - I got bored of pitching and proving myself and having my content watered down, so I decided to make my own. I started DJing which is another labyrinth of processes and mini-skills and another great method of communication. I'd like to do some humanitarian work as well. Maybe produce clothing. I don't feel like I have enough lifetimes to adequately contain all of my interests and the things that I want to try. 

Where is your favorite place in the world to eat? 

Tokyo Diner in Soho. The food is pretty basic, but it's my all time go-to. I love eating out alone. 

Where is the best place to shop? Please give us three tips.

I love www.goodhoodstore.comwww.vestiairecollective.com for finding Celine pieces I've had my eye on for months, and there's an old lady I go to at Broadway Market who has a sick vintage gold stall on Saturdays, where I've found some really delicate pieces.

check out more work by Lizzy at www.lizzynicholson.com and https://www.instagram.com/lizzygrooves/

Amazing Photographers: Kofi Paintsil

Charmaine Leong

Introducing to you Byrogue’s new series on amazing photographers and local heroes: In the first of this new series, we interviewed London-based photographer and creative director Kofi Paintsil.


Having exhibited around the world in Paris, Ghana, and Art Basel Miami, Paintsil has a noteworthy client list, including the BBC, Chanel, Channel 4 and Nike. Passionate about visual art, his mediums extend into illustration, fashion direction, set design and filmmaking.


How did you get started in photography? 

I first properly started pursuing photography while studying for my art foundation degree. I had initially wanted to develop in illustration, something I still wish to explore, but the stars aligned and it all made sense, and I began my journey with photography.

What inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me to be honest: music, art, film, sculpture. Many times even a single word can catch my attention and build into a visual concept in my imagination.

How would you describe your style?

Photographically? Inherently classic, with a focus on light and shadow, texture and form, with clear but quiet strength and beauty via the subject. Clothing wise - black on black haha.


What was the last piece of clothing you bought? 

I like to collect different pendants, so I think my silver Africa pendant is the last thing I've added to my collection.

Which have been your top three exhibitions you have seen this year?

Firstly, two excellent ones at the Barbican - The first 'Basquiat -  Boom for Real' was incredibly inspiring, especially for such a short yet highly prolific career.

The second was 'Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins', including photographers such as Bruce Davidson and Larry Clark, exploring themes and portraying subcultures, outsiders, queer and those who exist in the margins, and the social attitudes they faced in changing times through photography.

The third isn't an exhibition but a documentary film of the late and great Alexander McQueen, both incredibly honest and sad and highly insightful and inspiring. In fact, my favourite past exhibition to date was the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A a few years ago.


Where do you think your industry is going, what does the future hold for Photography?

I think what's always important is for visual artists to have a clear point of view and aesthetic. Much of what inspired me as a budding photographer was work from the past which had a clear identity and level of creativity, which I still look upon today as a reminder of the level I wish to achieve as an visual artist.

Also more so than ever is for artists to create their own platforms and collectives. Seeing and connecting with other creatives is so much more accessible today via social media and is such a great tool to use. I love teamwork with like-minded hardworking creatives so am always looking to form new authentic collaborative bonds, and I'm excited to create and to contribute new amazing projects.

What do you think of London as a base? Do you think that your location has helped to influence and/or inspire your work?

As a born and raised Londoner, London is home and I will always love it. I think London is fantastic as it is one of the main diverse melting pot cities of the World with abundant resources and creative opportunities, including things like exhibitions and events. So much can be done here.

That being said, I have learnt personally how extremely important travel and exploring other parts of the world is. London can be so fast paced with elements of claustrophobia and exclusivity, so I am planning to travel and live/work internationally more next year.

What do you think is your best work so far? Why?

 Hard to pick one as they all have special elements to me, a step of progression, a lesson, and new idea to explore further. 

I'm really proud of the challenge of representing a diverse range of subjects within my vision/visual signature while staying true to each person's character and who they are individually.

What are some of the best and worst parts of being an artist?

The best is doing something you love and the privilege to do so, the ongoing learning and progression as an artist. External achievements and appreciation of your work are really cool too.

The worst while working alone can be staying continually motivated, organized and self-sufficient. Any feelings of self-doubt that can creep in, and having the resources to realise the thing you want to achieve.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?

There has been a few, like when I first exhibited at Art Basel Miami, but a sweet one that springs to mind was winning 'best new blood' at D&AD when I graduated, it was both totally unexpected and rewarding, and it validated all the hard work and commitment I had put into my projects.

What’s next for you? Are there more things you want to try? 

Definitely exploring motion and short film, and building on my illustration projects.

Tell us how you feel about Kanye West recent comments on slavery.


The era of slavery expressed such hatred to black people across the board, whether through the forcible movement of black people to be trapped and enslaved across an ocean, the social attitudes black people faced both before and after 'emancipation', all the way to the actual laws that were/are in place to directly hinder the progression of people of colour, that I don't understand how he could land upon it ever being a choice.

I think all I will focus on instead is how incredibly important it is for PoCs to know and explore their history and from there to build upon that knowledge, and to move forward in an equal united way. PoCs are responsible for so much innovation, development and inspiring others, especially well documented in the arts, so I am keen to see more talented and visionary people of colour rise to top rankings thus becoming even more capable of championing representation and inclusivity within both new and existing organisations.

Where is your favorite place in be world to eat? 

I'm easyyyyy, take me to Busaba for a good meal and calamariii lolll.

Where is the best place to shop? Please give us three tips.

I'm not a great lover of shopping haha, so tend to shop all over for things I like/need.

Three tips? Get what you feel good in, have a good stable of wardrobe basics that work for you and you can add to, try and find pieces things that show off and express your identity, I dress super simple so mine thing is accessories and necklace trinkets things :)

To see more of Kofi's work, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and his own website.

Summer Hangouts: Mare Street Market

Charmaine Leong

If you haven’t visit Hackney’s recently opened Mare Street Market, you’re missing out.


Opened in March this year in a former Job Centre, the market houses a whole host of shops from food and drink spots, florists, vinyl stores to lifestyle pop-ups featuring independent fashion and jewellery designers. The market opens from 8am till late on weekdays, and from 9am on weekends.

Rebel florist.png

Set up more like a boutique mall than a street-food market, Mare Street Market is designed to fit the local East London vibe. Stalls in the Open Kitchen are set up in a grid-like fashion on an open plan space. With long rectangular tables filling the centre of the room and plenty of natural light cascading in during the day, it’s no wonder that this place is the chief go-to for many aspiring writers, students and workers. Worked a long day? No worries, there’s a bar by the side of the hall just a few steps away.

Open kitchen.png

In terms of the food, the market does not disappoint. Food writer and TV chef Gizzi Erskine, who is a huge advocate of innovative pop-ups and underground food scenes, took charge of Mare Street Market’s food offering. She runs the market’s main restaurant, The Dining Room, headed up by chef Tim Mawn (from Scott’s and Sexy Fish), which serves stunning wood-fired British food such as steak tartare and indian-inspired scotch eggs.

Described to be Brunswick House’s cooler East London sister, The Dining Room is furnished with unique chandeliers, pendant lights, stone busts and other bits and bobs from local antique dealers. Find a piece of furniture you like? You can buy it.

dining room.jpg

Meanwhile, The Open Kitchen serves delicious modern cuisine. If you’re visiting for lunch expect to find jazzed up avocado and smoked salmon toasts. For lunch, the kitchen cooks up beautiful porcini pizzas, Wiltshire burrata salads, rotisserie chicken and wood-fired cauliflower with dandelion, grape, hazelnut and Gorgonzola buttermilk with hot sauces. If you have a sweet tooth, you definitely don’t want to miss their miso caramel banana split and piña colada sundae.

Other food concepts at the market include a raw food bar, a deli showcasing local produce and a coffee roastery called Flying Horse Coffee, named after the Flying Horse Inn founded in 1593 for travellers going through Hackney. According to Gizzi, Hackney really is the perfect place for a permanent market concept like this. "We have so many great ingredients in Hackney," she says, "I don't think people realise how much food is being produced in our area. There's Hackney Honey, Newton and Pott, the best smoked salmon from the Secret Smokehouse then there's great bakeries like Yeast and people like Lilli Vanilla and The Meringue Girls. So there's all this amazing food, but the only time you could ever get the chance to shop it all was on a market on a Saturday." This is something Mare Street Market definitely changes.

A particular stand out section of the market, which is sure to get a lot of use during the summer months, is the big outdoor terrace running along the side of the building. Fancy a mojito or a glass of watermelon juice? Not a problem at all. This summer the market will collaborate with Brooklyn Beer in the terrace, bringing barbeque into the alfresco dining area.


Responses from locals to the new Mare Street Market have been overwhelmingly positive. The market’s opening weekend was relentless, with food flying off the shelves and in need of constant restocks. Some visitors have described its Sunday lunch as the best they’ve ever had: rhubarb crumble puddings had to be eaten in silence to fully appreciate its deliciousness.

So what are your waiting for? Go check out Mare Street Market at 115 Mare Street, London E8 4RT.