I began taking photos of nudes as part of celebrating our bodies without photoshop in 2013, models consisted of friends and I took part also if I wasn’t prepared to be photographed in this way, how could I expect anyone else to be?
I wanted to make my models as comfortable as a possible, so in doors (whether that was at my home or theirs) under studio lights (interfit) with a plain background was my preferred shooting style. At the beginning I think I was more obsessed with getting the lighting right, and using a ‘stock’ of gathered poses for all my models. I was quite apprehensive to start, I’d never photographed anyone this way before, and I wanted to ensure that my models were in a safe and relaxed atmosphere. As a photographer I think it isn’t just about the technical aspects shutter, its about rapport with the people you have in front of your camera, and a vision to be thinking of the next great shot.
I am unsure how I feel about those 2013 photos now, it was undoubtedly a great stepping stone to get me into thinking about this project more, but that is the good thing about the start of a new project you can develop it, and it will often lead you to places you hadn’t thought of. Models volunteered for various reasons; not only as they believed in the cause; but to also visually share their journey with their body at that moment in time. It was truly humbling to hear about their stories from eating disorders, mental health and post baby body to name a few.
Not just women: Perhaps the most prominent thing about the start of this journey was men volunteered to be included, having strong feelings about the way mens bodies can often be misrepresented in the media. One of my favourite actors Wentworth Miller was sadly subject to a body shaming meme in 2016, this upset me with social media hounding the guy when he wasn’t feeling his strongest mentally, I needed a response to this.
My volunteers said they were very nervous before, but after the shoot they appreciated that it was a very empowering experience.
In September 2017 my ‘Altogether’ exhibition at Sun Pier House Tea Room was in full swing. This was a collection of pieces of positive body image, using everyday (non model) nude subjects, photographed in non-traditional places. This exhibition seemed a natural progression for work that I have been producing since 2013, the pieces for ‘Altogether’ have been taken over the previous 18 months, and include locations such as derelict buildings, marsh land, nature reserves, and in the studio. I want to portray an image that individuals could relate to, ‘real’ bodies without the furnishings of Photoshop or designer clothing, taking it right back to the basics of who we are fundamentally underneath, Human. I have found this series of photographs a real balance, of ensuring the importance of the message, affirmation of my own skills, sympathetic to my subjects and the audience eye.
“Didn’t have time to write a comment in the book but here’s some thoughts. What struck me most about your photos (apart from the lovely pictorial qualities – lighting, composition etc) was the way that the people in them seemed relaxed and confident – happy in their bodies. This gives the pictures a calm, self-contained feeling at odds with the fact that here are naked people in places where otherwise they wouldn’t normally be naked. I’m guessing that this probably comes from your relationship to them, their trust in you and your approach as a photographer. This makes the photos very different than just nude figures placed in unusual places and takes it away from what you might call “art” photography into something more personal and much more interesting.
So, just as well I didn’t have time for the comment as I seem to have written a short essay. Looking forward to where this takes you.”
-Dick Perrin Film maker and Photographer
“I don’t usually like photography Nikki, but love what you have done”
-Peter Reed Painter
“Nikki Price is, in my opinion, is one the major talents to emerge from the Medway scene. Her visual images show a genuine love of humanity.”
“I’m not a model in this series but have modelled for Nikki before and can 100% confirm she is a wonderful photographer to work with, she really makes you feel at ease!”
‘Viewing the photographs still provokes old feelings that conflict’
‘Incredible honesty…amazing composition too’
‘Very rich we are so programmed’
‘Really beautiful work’
Thank you to everyone who participated, supported, and followed my work on this topic so far.
Watch this space as there will be more on the topic of identity in the future, and next week I’ll be doing my usual yearly round up of photographs so stay tuned!
What a scorcher of a July 14 Medway Open Studios!
For the first time this year I produced an article about the launch of the Medway Open Studios, including my photos, for online magazine the Medway Broadside. This received some good feedback from its reader base.
With around 80 visitors to my exhibition it would seem that Medway is very interested in the practice of mindfulness (and of course my fabulous photos and documentary video).
As well as the focus on mindfulness, taking portraits of people, I included a number of calming/mindful images, it’s always a tricky one knowing which photos to print. However I went with my instinct of those photos that I particularly liked, and it would seem you did too! The project theme is a passion of mine to assist my own mental health, but has come out of conversation at the Time to Talk events I run locally.
The documentary short film with music by 3D, received some wonderful feedback:
‘such a peaceful and calming documentary’
‘I feel so relaxed now…..can I stay?’
‘I wasn’t quite sure what mindfulness was, but now I know a bit more I’m going to start practicing!’
‘I share to many things (on social media) about what I’m up to, I going to try and be in the moment and not worry about sharing it with the world!’
‘feeling so relaxed now’
And on my accompanying written piece for the exhibition:
‘this is a wonderful piece, your description of your mindfulness moment, is written like we are breathing with you, experiencing that moment with you’
Medway Open Studios continues to be a big passion of mine allowing me to totally focus on my own project. I’ll leave you will a quote from my written piece, until next year.
“Breathing in the warm spring air, feet flat on the floor I shut my eyes in the middle of the pavement, listening to the cars going by, then listening deeper to the birds and natural sounds, another deep breath, with the sun beating down on my face, I opened my hands facing them to the warmth, feeling the gentle breeze pass through my fingers like water. It was an amazing feeling, having chosen a time to stop and be mindful had been so precious to me.” – Nikki P 14.03.14