Nick Wall is an international photographer based in London. He primarily works in the film and TV industries, capturing filmmakers and actors at work on set, as well as achieving a diverse and highly refined range of work behind the scenes and in the studio. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry.
Nick travels the world fulfilling his photographic assignments. Clients include 20thCentury Fox, BBC, BFI; BSkyB, Channel4, Entertainment One, Focus, HBO, Kudos, Lionsgate Entertainment, Eon, Pathe, SND Films, Starz and Vertigo.
Nick is passionate about his craft and of those around him, always striving for excellence. Clients often comment on his down to earth and flexible approach, and his ability to work quickly and efficiently, capturing a brief within even the tightest of schedules. Even after many years and countless shoots, Nick still feels that photography is a little bit of magic.
London Prestige Interview with Photographer and Director Nick Wall
London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?
Nick Wall: Born in Bari Italy, raised in Switzerland and Germany before moving to London in my early teens.
London Prestige: How long have you been a photographer?
Nick Wall: I have had an interest in photography from the age of 11. Carrying a camera around with me wherever I went. Not something I do nowadays. I’ve been a professional photographer for over 35 years.
London Prestige: What type of photography are you interested in?
Nick Wall: Most of my photography has been involved with celebrity. First as a music photographer and evolving to mostly working in the Film Industry.
London Prestige: How would you describe your style?
Nick Wall: My style is pretty eclectic. Most of my work revolves around movies. So the work I achieve has to represent the film I’m working on. Poster shoots for a film for instance have to be lit to suit the film. A horror film would for instance be lit dark and moody, but a Romcom would usually be lit bright and breezy.
London Prestige: What do you consider the most important breaks in your career and why?
Nick Wall: I guess by breaks, you mean landmarks. The trajectory of a career tend to be slow and steady growth rather than sudden surges unless you’re one of the lucky ones. But I guess going to Cannes and making connections there doing corporate work opened lots of doors. This year will be my 32nd Cannes Film Festival. Also getting the gig as official photographer for the London Film Festival, which I did for 14 years was a great experience. I’d take portraits of all the talent that visited the festival, building up quite an archive of celebrity portraiture and honing my skills.
London Prestige: What’s one of the most interesting shoots that you’ve done?
Nick Wall: There are so many. Feel very blessed to have the career and experiences I’ve had. I’ve traveled all over the world with my work, doing stills for movies shooting as far as Rwanda and Burundi in Africa, Svalbard the nearest land mass to the North Pole and New Zealand and many more destinations. One of my favorite recent studio shoots I did was with Glenn Close for the ad campaign for Sunset Boulevard in New York. A day in the studio doing high camp pictures which in the end were blown up to cover the whole front of house.
London Prestige: Who’s your favorite artist you’ve done a shoot with and why?
Nick Wall: Actor wise, I’ve enjoyed the wonderful face of Michael Caine a supreme professional and an endless catalog of amazing anecdotes. Photographing David Bowie was of course a major land mark, as I was a big fan as a teenager. My main recollection was that I struggled to get him to pose as the character in the film rather than the superstar Bowie. Of course the superstar pix were the best from that session.
London Prestige: What cameras and lighting gear are you currently using?
Nick Wall: I use a variety of cameras for my work depending on needs. I currently have a few Fuji cameras that I mostly use for on set photography. For portraits I use my Nikon D850 or a Hasselblad when the larger chip is requested. Lighting wise I use Elinchrom.
London Prestige: Do you have an all time favourite camera/lens combination?
Nick Wall: I’m often asked this question, sadly my answer is no I haven’t. Whatever is needed for the job is my favorite combo. Equipment is there to be used for an end product. Sometimes my phone is the best tool to have to hand.
London Prestige: How much do you research your subjects before photographing them?
Nick Wall: Most of my research goes into the project rather than the subject. So I can gear my style to the project. I do some research before accepting a film in case it’s an actor that doesn’t like to be photographed to much and preparing myself to the method of work I’ll have to do to achieve the material that the marketing people need to launch the film.
London Prestige: How important are competitions and award shows? Have you taken part in any?
Nick Wall: I’ve only ever entered one competition when I was 18, for a magazine, which I won. I got my first lighting kit. Otherwise I have no idea, some photographers seem to make a career from these things, but it’s not something I’ve pursued.
London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Nick Wall: My biggest accomplishment is having had such a long career in what is a very difficult field. Especially these days. Surviving the lean times vital for any self employed creative.
London Prestige: Who would you like to photograph next?
Nick Wall: The list is endless. But portrait wise I’d love to do something different, like sitting down every major political leader and photographing them.
London Prestige: Who/what inspires you?
Nick Wall: I can’t think of any major artistic influences on my work. But I’m drawn to great painters like Picasso and Klimt as well as the Dutch masters. Great story tellers like the Coen Brothers and Stephen Frears. Great cinematographers such as Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki. Richard Avadon is one of my favorite Photographers.
London Prestige: Do you have a dream client?
Nick Wall: A dream client is someone who gets me to photograph a project with their full support and cooperates fully to achieve the vision that everyone involved is looking for.
London Prestige: Favorite quote?
Nick Wall: Love the Life you Live.
London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring photographers?
Nick Wall: It’s a very difficult in any artistic field in this digital age, where everything is wanted for free or at a very low cost. There are many photographers who are struggling. But longevity and getting up after being knocked down are vital to succeed.
London Prestige: Your current projects and future plans.
Nick Wall: I have just finished on Gurinder Chadha’s new movie Blinded by the Light, which she describes as the spiritual sequel to Bend it like Beckham. I have recently released a short film called Retribution, which has been winning awards and am now looking to direct full length feature film. One of my unlikely dreams would be to have a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.