Emerging Photographers Series: Luke Nugent

1st August 2018

We love learning about emerging photographers who are making a huge impact. We interviewed a group of inspirational fine art photographers, each with their own distinct style and desire to break the mould. Each artist’s work is surprising, varied and impossible to categorise. From different backgrounds and countries, all these photographers are exemplary in their field and already recognised as being hugely influential.

We wanted to know how they channel their creative energy, where they draw inspiration from, and what they hope to achieve.

This week we interviewed Luke Nugent.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice and how you got started?
I started photography about 11 years ago now, my interest in photography was a natural progression from illustration and painting which had always been my passion as a child. As the internet evolved and online profiles became increasingly part of the zeitgeist I started photographing subjects I met online and started getting paid jobs doing portraits. Now I am more heavily involved in fashion, hair and beauty as well as Afrocentric work.
What is your process like? What conditions do you like to work in?
It really varies depending on the project, my favourite place to be is in the studio where I have full control of all aspects of the atmosphere of the image. A lot of the time I collaborate with other creatives who contribute to the brief, and I will usually work quite intuitively when it comes to adjusting the lighting and composition depending on what the creative team put together. Spontaneity is important to me as I hate a rigid brief: great images are produced when the idea and concept are flexible.

What is it about the medium of photography that keeps you interested? Are you good at other artistic disciplines?
For me it is the pursuit of creating my best work so far, making a perfect piece of work is impossible but I love the idea of outdoing myself when it comes to the quality of my work. Having studied Fine Art before I studied photography I have a love for other mediums and I feel both digital and analogue elements both play a part in my work. Across all mediums, I always look for the basic shapes at play.
What did you want to do as a child?
To be a cartoonist or an illustrator.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? What is your favourite subject?
I am inspired by music more than anything, I spend most of my time looking at visuals created for music artists and love fantasy imagery as well as more macabre stuff. I love musicians like Björk or FKA twigs who weave their music so seamlessly with visual elements to fully present their projects. 
Do you have any rituals or do you like to be more fluid?
I would say definitely more fluid, I don’t like to set restrictions when I am working and much prefer to be open to the input of others during a session, stress should never be a part of a good shoot, allowing everyone involved to have a say in what is being produced including the subject is the most creative way of working. I love encouraging the team to put their ideas on the table as you are far more likely to come up with something exciting.

What do you hope to achieve in your professional career?
To continue working with incredibly talented and inspiring people.
How do you feel about the commercial side of the industry? How do you plan to navigate this?
I would say it’s important to understand the commercial side of photography, as well as the artistic side. I do a lot of money jobs spanning from fashion to corporate. I think it’s important in the current climate to have a strong skill set that encompasses many parts of the industry if you want to keep your head above water...it’s a very competitive business.
Can you tell us about something you have coming up?
Expect to see some more afrofuturism inspired images from me plus some other exciting things that I really can’t speak about at the moment!