nick elliott pr

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If you could go back in time, would you rather go back to the 1960s or the 1980s?

Nick says: "1960s. It was the perfect time for photography creativity. New things were coming through - new fashions, style, new times."
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You shoot a lot of black and white. What do you prefer to look at, though - colour or black and white?

Nick says: "It would always be black and white. The medium creates romance, passion and seduction which, for me, is what photogrpahy really stands for."
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If you had a choice, would you choose digital photography or traditional rolls of film?

Nick says: "There are fors and against on both sides but if I had to choose I’d go for digital."
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If you were to swap roles with a rock star, who would you be: singer, guitarist, drummer, bassist or keyboarder?

Nick says: "Guitarist. The licence to create lies with the guitarist over and above any other band member."
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What's the best thing about being a rock photographer?

Nick says: "I don’t think there is a ‘best thing’ about being a rock photographer. For me, it’s about living the dream, fulfilling childhood ambitions but most of all, it is about the creation of the images, the art, leaving a mark, taking people to another place when they look at my work."
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How do you know when/that you've taken that killer shot, the amazing photo that will make your (and the artist's) day?

Nick says: "Well, for me it is a very spiritual thing, it’s a sense of knowing that when you look at this particular composition, certainly with the live stuff, it’s there. It’s a feeling, you know, like a chemistry that I have got exactly what I went there to get."
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What does a typical 'shooting day' look like?

Nick says: There isn’t one. There is no ‘typical’ in this business at all.
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How have rock bands changed since you first started out?

Nick says: They’ve become a lot ‘cleaner’, you don’t have as much excess as you did - drink, drugs, sex - it’s made for TV now and is not as ‘raw’. It’s not as ‘working class’, which drove particular parts of the genre, like heavy metal, and the inspiration for some of the great songs to be written.
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How has technology and equipment changed since you first started out? Does this make your job easier or harder?

Technology has changed the photographic business but it has also, effectively, killed the business.
It has now opened up photography, which is an art form and should always remain that, to be violated by a load of nobody people thinking that they are somebody and, in this case photographers.
Creativity cannot be taught but they now claim that photography can be so I don’t welcome the move from traditional to digital photography, as a whole.
It’s a lot easier now to just take pictures but a lot harder to define a style and create art.
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Out of all the bands or singers Nick worked with, which one(s) surprised him most with what they were like in reality beyond all the hoopla and press image and how/why?

Nick says: "I think in all honesty, each one of these artists are a surprise in themselves. They are all special people in their own right, they have to be to do what they do.
“Alice Cooper and Julian Cope of Teardrop Explodes would have to be two and the legend that is Wilco Johnson from Dr Feelgood would also be in there. Newlton Faulkner was also a top man, a really nice guy.

“The reason I mention them is that they were very deep, intelligent and warm people, and showed a closeness that you could would say could become a good friendship.”
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I am curious to find out if there has been a favourite of all the bands Nick has photographed?

Nick says: “Hanoi Rock’s Michael Monroe would be up there, as well as Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes. I also enjoyed shooting Ozzy Osbourne and working with Led Zep’s Robert Plant.”
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Do you prefer books or movies?

Nick says: Movies, especially the great classics, black & white films, nobody makes films like the English, and I'm a big fan of some of the great Westerns. I'm not a big reader.
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What did you do before becoming a rock photographer?

Nick says: I was a creative advertising photographer working on above the line accounts like Sanatogen, BT, Liberal Democrats, Coca-Cola, British Airways etc and also a lot in the fashion industry. Although I've been shooting and working in the music industry throughout that period as well, it's only over the last 20+ years that I've specialised in the music and celebrity business.
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What is the best 'on-stage' moment you've had?

Nick says: Thin Lizzy, High Voltage, 2011 - as with all shows that Thin Lizzy do there is always a great anticipation and excitement that buzzes the whole festival or venue. This one was truly exceptional and the guys were seriously hot!
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Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

Always behind, but I don't have a problem with being in front of it at all as I have to do quite a lot of PR interviews, both TV and radio.
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Do you let the bands listen to their own music while you take their photos? If so, does that help or make your job more difficult?

That's a really good question, thanks for asking it. Yeah, in a lot of cases we usually play and EP or an album during studio shoots and sometimes by the artist I'm actually working with. Music tends to keep the whole thing flowing and gives a good ambience - it's all about enjoying it!
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Why did you become a rock photographer and what drives you?

If I have a second passion to photography, it's music. It's an area of the business that allows me to create and put a stamp on the style of art that I shoot, there are no boundaries with it. I've been around music all my life and it's a huge part of my life. I wanted to work with artists that were my heroes and had made me what I am today.
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If you had the chance to be interviewed on any chat show, which would it be?

There was only ever one chat-show and that was Parkinson.
I'm definitely more of a Michael Parkinson man than Graham Norton. With Graham Norton, you're purely fodder for his cannon where with the Parkinson show, the whole thing was dedicated to the interviewee. Time was taken to talk about what they had to say, the projects they were working on, what influenced them and how they had been created.
When interviewed you need to be allowed the time to talk.
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Language: English