Nick Miners is a freelance photographer from London. Specialising in architecture and interiors, Nick works primarily with architects and interior designers on retail and commercial properties around the globe.
Taking inspiration from his love of modern, post-modern and brutalist architecture, Nick has a growing portfolio of striking architectural images in his personal collection and his love of nature has created a stunning selection of urban and rural landscapes, many of which were shot in Iceland over a 20 year period and a total of 14 visits!
Hi Nick. Tell us a little about you and your journey in photography
I’ve had a lifelong interest in photography. When I was younger I used to borrow my Dad’s camera all the time, and I got my first SLR when I was 11. I used to enjoy trying out the various different brands of print and slide film, and also learned how to use a darkroom at sixth form. During my studies at university my photography took a back seat for a few years, but when I started taking it seriously again I began to see that there was commercial viability to it when I sold a photo of the Lloyd’s Building in London through a photo library. A few more sales followed, but this was at the time when the market for stock photography was just starting to turn digital, and become open to anyone with a camera, which meant prices started falling and commission rates were rising.
I made the switch to digital in 2007, with the only affordable full frame DSLR available at the time (a Canon EOS 5D), selling my Pentax 35mm equipment to fund the purchase of a set of lenses. I had at the same time developed an obsession with Iceland, which had begun with my first visit in 1999 with my family. In October that year I went with two other amateur photographer friends, to spend a week on a photographic tour of the country. Several other photographic tours followed, during which I began to work on developing my own style, and to resist the urge to shoot constantly without thinking, something that digital photography does nothing to discourage!
In 2011, after a year or so of photographing various gigs for music websites, my enthusiasm for photography had never been higher, and I was seriously considering turning professional, however, having a mortgage and needing financial stability made it difficult for me to consider leaving my job as an IT business analyst. Thankfully, the company I was working for went through a restructure which enabled me to take redundancy, funding my first few months and enabling me to get my business off the ground without worry.
Your commercial and personal work is mainly grounded in architecture. Why did you go down this road?
When I went freelance in 2012, I didn’t have a speciality in mind, but I had been interested in architecture for a long time, so I think that may have subconsciously guided my choices. One of my first commercial shoots was at an event to launch a new interior design partnership, and they had used the venue as a blank canvas to show off their interior design work and asked me to take photos of it before any guests arrived. The resulting photos enabled me to get more work of a similar nature for a hotel booking company who wanted original photos for their app, which led to further work with the hotels themselves. At the same time I started exploring an interest in modern architecture, and brutalism in particular, and from that came a personal project where I began documenting brutalist architecture with an emphasis on repeating motifs and techniques, rather than the entire structures themselves.
How do you balance your personal work and commercial work?
My main focus has always been on the commercial work, as the income from that is what gives me the time to undertake personal projects. However I have recently started working with an agent and we are working towards exhibiting more at galleries and art fairs, with the aim of selling more prints and allowing me to pursue more personal work.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
Photography is a way to show others the world through your own eyes. So many views or landmark buildings become so familiar through people taking the same photograph from the same vantage point that it’s easy to feel that they’ve been done to death. I always try to look for the unexplored angle to find new ways to photograph familiar places, and to reflect what I see when looking at the world.
We love your 'Impressions of Iceland' series here. Tell us more about this project, it seems a departure from your other work...
One of the things that struck me about Iceland when I visited the first few times was the way the landscape is layered horizontally. From the blue sky (or the green aurora if the time is right), to the white ice caps, through the black rock, the green grass (brown in winter), the black sand beaches and the deep blue of the ocean. I’ve wanted to represent this visually for a long time, and so I decided to find some of the photos that reflect this layered structure and make it more literal. By selecting a single pixel width section of the image and stretching it out to fill the whole frame, the images take on a striking, slightly mesmerising quality.
Where in the world are you? What's next for you?
I am based in the UK, near London. I am currently working closely with my agent to make myself much more visible as both a commercial photographer and an exhibitor, with plans to hold exhibitions both in the UK and internationally, and to work with some of the best architects and interior designers around the world. We are also working on a series of collaborations with other artists to take my personal work a step further.