Here, the good old senile shooter interviews a photographer from the UK, Nicholas Goodden. Enjoy!
What inspired you to become a photographer?
Trying to find beauty in everything and capturing it. The question really is, from what point do you consider yourself a photographer. I have only called myself a photographer for a year now, but why? Having a full time job on the side, I always felt I had no right to call myself a photographer until recently, nearly in a shameful way.
It’s a bit strange, do you get to call yourself one because suddenly 100 more people like your work than the week before? Or do you get respect just because you have a website? Let’s face it, anyone can have a website. Or are you condemned to be called an amateur because you don’t make a full living out of your passion? I have a particular dislike for the amateur/professional labels people use.
Personally I have always enjoyed taking pictures, even as a kid with a disposable camera. And who doesn’t right? What I have realized is that I’m not sure I ever want to make a living from photography. Photography is the only thing in my life that gives me total freedom. I can do what I want, follow no rules, no one taught me it, but as soon as paying my bills will depend on it, will it be as fun, will it be as free?
I may have to compromise and shoot babies and weddings. No thanks. I prefer to leave that to others and retain my individual style. What I enjoy about photography, is that it has opened my mind, to seeing beauty in the most unexpected things and places. I may even stop using the word “work” when referring to my image making, it’s a dirty word.
What purpose does it serve for you?
It’s an escape. I’m naturally a bit of a loner (but not in a too freaky way, I just enjoy a bit of solitude). I have spent my life working in places, in jobs that were just not me. I even think I took on photography in a way hoping it would one day allow me to never wear a suit again or work in an office.
I hope the purpose, or what I manage to do is inspire people to pick up a camera and have fun. I also love London and that’s why I focus my photography on it. I shoot anything that makes London. Whether it’s architecture, people, skateboarders, graffiti, underground techno parties or landmarks.There are so many things and places to shoot that no urban photographer specializing in London can pretend having captured “London”. We just capture it our own unique way, based on our experiences.
What Genre' of photography are you most comfortable working in?
Anything that doesn’t involve too much of a setup. I’m happy outdoors, in the street. So I guess Street Photography but not the “in your face” type. I try not to be too much of a space invader.
Can you describe a few of your trigger mechanisms that make you want to stop and shoot?
That’s a tough one to answer when something comes naturally. As I am sure most of you know, the more you shoot the more you start decomposing everything around you without being able to just have a walk, no…everything is a potential photo opportunity. Just like if you are a musician, you can never listen to music the same way ever again.
You listen to music but analyse every single element, breaking it down. It’s the same with Photography. But then also with food and cooking (another of my passions). So I am constantly looking around, until it goes click in my head, that’s the shot, get your camera out and take it. Right converging lines, right background, right type of people walking through the shot…
What camera are you working with currently?
A silver Olympus OMD E-M5. I was a Canon guy for a bit but got quickly bored of carrying heavy gear. I’ve had my OMD since Summer 2012 and the thought of buying a new one hasn’t even crossed my mind. It’s a sign of an excellent camera when you don’t get swallowed up by the madness of gear addiction or wanting constantly more pixels.
I own a few Micro Four-Third prime lenses (25/45/75mm) a 35-100mm telephoto and a 12-55mm. Happy bunny.
Are you self taught, educated or a little bit of both?
I am educated but not in photography. I studied to be a chef for 5 years. Composition and mixing the right ingredients together for an optimal final result are key. Whether you are a chef, a dj (I did this for 10yrs) or a photographer.
I taught myself photography, because actually, there’s nothing to be taught. You pick up a camera and learn to use it, that’s it. It only comes with lots of practice. And then, you either see things or you don’t.
The best way to develop your own style is to free your mind from the concept of what’s right or wrong in photography. Once you do you can create, experiment and surprise people including yourself.
Where in the world are you located?
I’m in London, have been since 1999 and probably will for still a very long time. I’m not done photographing London, I’m only getting started.
Where is your favorite place to work?
I am trying hard to remove the word “work” from my vocabulary, at least in terms of photography. I have a job on the side: that’s work. I developed an interest in photography as it is the complete opposite to work for me.
I like to shoot in East London usually, but when you spend too much time somewhere, things get less exciting. So I recently shifted my focus towards Central London. I shoot black and white in the area of Oxford Street and Regent Street. It’s weird as I always said to myself this was not an interesting place, too commercial, to mainstream… But with the winter light, casting long shadows, and people dressed in winter coats, it leads to creating stunning black and white street photography.
Thank you Nicholas for the great interview! Let us know what you think about his answers in the comments below. Shooter out.