"Black Dots" by Nicholas White

Jul 11, 2017

Nicholas White is a young British photographer who creates magnificent images where composition, use of light and attention to detail are the main characters. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Simon Norfolk, his carefully composed projects deal with the relationship between humans and landscape, revealing hidden details that one can only perceive through deep contemplation and by eliminating the surrounding noise. In his project “Black Dots”, images of mountain refuges and their users are combined to create a poetic visual story of the British wilderness. A story that reminds us our origins as civilisation and invites us to reflect about our future. Following we present an interview that we had with Nicholas: am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us? NW - No worries! My name is Nicholas White, I’m a photographer based on Dartmoor National Park in the South West of England. I wanted to be a musician originally, but took a diversion at the age of 18 and ended up studying photography at degree level - I graduated from Plymouth College of Art in 2013. I’ve just returned home from a few months travelling through South East Asia & New Zealand and I’m currently researching for a number of new projects which should begin later on in 2017. am - What is “Black Dots” about? NW - ‘Black Dots’ is a journey into the wonderful world of bothying in the United Kingdom. Bothies are small, primitive shelters often located in the lonely corners of the British wilderness. These buildings are left unlocked all year round, providing shelter and security for people who venture into the lonely places. It began from curiosity - I wanted to find answers to the questions; what are these buildings? why are they here? who uses them? To find these answers, I spent almost three years trekking to a large number of bothies, to not only document them and the surrounding landscapes, but to photograph the faces of those who make use of them. am - What inspires your work? NW - I generally don’t go out of my way to force the creation of new work, or to search for things to photograph. Much of my work grows organically from a single conversation or discovery and I think that’s a really healthy way to approach it. I’m inspired a lot by the outdoors - that’s certainly what triggered ‘Black Dots’, but I also find that being in these wild places unlocks a part of my brain that I struggle to gain access to when I’m surrounded by all the clutter of home. I’m also constantly surprised at how much inspiration you can get from a short chat with a complete stranger… am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists? NW - Simon Norfolk is one of my favourite photographers - when I stumbled upon his work in Afghanistan, it marked a huge turning point for me and my photography. We use the landscape in slightly different ways, but his mentality, approach and the meticulous nature of his photographs continues to be a huge inspiration to me. am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go? NW - Honestly, it would be Scotland. It may only be a day’s drive from my front door but I’ve fallen in love with the place! You could spend a life time there and still not scratch the surface. The landscape is wild and unforgiving, the towns and hamlets are teeming with character and the people are fantastic. I’ll definitely be returning there to make new work in the future. am - Favourite songs / bands at the moment? NW - I don’t have a favourite band/song - my music taste is pretty eclectic. I always load up a huge playlist before leaving for a shoot - if I’m on my own I’ll usually hike with my headphones in. I suppose most people would expect me to be listening to something really focused and contemplative - but I’m actually a huge rock and metal fan. My friend introduced me to a band called ‘Mastadon’ when I was shooting Black Dots on the West Coast of Scotland and I’m still making my way through they discography - I’m playing them a lot at the moment! am - What’s your favourite movie? NW - I was never a film buff, but if I had to pick something it would actually be ‘The Revenant’. Not exactly one of the “classics” I’m supposed to like, but the cinematography of ‘The Revenant’ and attention to light-quality was mindblowing. am - What is your favourite photo book? NW - Bryan Schutmaat’s ‘Greys The Mountain Sends’ is a personal favourite, alongside Simon Norfolk’s ‘Afghanistan’ and Jon Tonks’ ‘Empire’. am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine. NW - No worries!

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