Nicole is highly systematic in the way she photographs interiors and architecture. Although each client and project is unique, there are certain procedures followed with almost every shoot.Snaps, often taken on a client’s phone, are forwarded to Nicole, in many cases accompanied by floor plans that allow her to assess the scale of a project and know how the various photographs received tie into an overall scheme. It could also take the form of renders or notes of what’s hoping to be captured.“I often find that clients use a few key words to describe a project, whether it’s a house, an office, or perhaps a new café or restaurant. It could be an extension of their client’s brief, mixing old and new, or exposing ‘raw edges’ or perhaps its architectural significance.” A backstory not always evident in the initial snaps could set up a certain way of thinking before a shoot proceeds. Although clients may suggest inspecting a project in advance, Nicole prefers to arrive on the day of the shoot.“I generally prefer to go in with fresh eyes, see how the light is going to work in the various spaces during the day, knowing when certain rooms will literally ‘sparkle’. But I also need to work out which rooms don’t need to have that sparkle, but require a more moody feel.”Nicole sees her role as one of collaboration with all the creatives involved. She enjoys walking around a space hearing the stories not often obvious through her eyes. Then it’s a matter of making an extensive list as to which rooms or sections of a building need to be photographed, in an order that responds to the position of the sun. It could be a large ‘hero’ shot, or a small detail that perhaps captures a certain personality trait of the designer, the client or both.“I find that you need the right balance of the wide angled shot with the more intimate details, which both create a certain feeling you get by being in that space.”
Nicole sends clients proofs of the best images that not only capture the essence of a space but also offer, new light on why rooms or buildings were conceived in the first instance. These images are then retouched. “I never take images that I don’t like. If there’s no way of making something work, I prefer to leave it out. I need to be happy with every shot. As Mies (van der Rohe) would say, ‘less is more’.”Although Nicole is highly tuned after decades of working behind a lens, she also understands that the eye and the lens see things quite differently at times. The image must feel right in her mind, be it balance, composition and one that conveys a story. A humble kitchen bench, for example, can be photographed straight on to create an idea of its length. But it can also be more engaging when shot at an angle, slightly off centre, complementing a wall that makes it far more dynamic.
Written by: Stephen Crafti