Amazing Photographers - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 favourite 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.com, www.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.