For Facebook’s 2020 F8 developer conference Nick was asked to profile 3 developers doing exceptional work for great causes in their home towns in the USA and Canada. Hali in Austin teaches creative expression using VR/AR tech to underrepresented communities, Jorge in Omaha teaches coding skills to homeless people and Lissa in Toronto develops VR experiences, giving remote access to mindfulness and therapy to those suffering from anxiety.
With beauty as far as the horizon and full circle, Nick was challenged to discover how conservation and safari tourism could go hand-in-hand. An animal orphanage, sacred deep water wells, and a truly epic landscape filled with protected wild cats, elephants, rhinos and fabulous birds, were all part of this once in a lifetime experience. The people of Kenya did not go unnoticed either, and Nick was able to capture some stunning portraits those living and working amongst the sanctuaries. A delicious feast for the eyes.
When The New York Times asked Nick to retrace the steps of a writer and mother who had visited the islands in search of isolation and contemplation he knew it would be a different kind of shoot than many of the others he'd been on.
There are 6700 islands of Åland with just 30,000 people residing there which for most of Nick's shoot was hard to believe having travelled for long distances by car and bike without seeing a single soul.
Surrounded by stillness and beauty the residents Nick did come across were more than welcoming and helped to give him access to parts that only locals would know.
In the summer of 2018, Nick was visiting his father in law in the Black Forest with his new-born daughter. Walking with family up a gentle slope, he heard the deep, soothing, but also eerie sounds of the Alphorn. The Alphorn quartet was standing, facing the vast view of rolling green hills, playing a melody which would reach the bottom of the valley.
As part of Channel 4's Random Acts series, Nick created a film that aligns with the moving observational and clean aesthetic of his photography whilst allows him to explore the effects of sound and time on his image-making process.
The Forest Sings is an exploration of the gentle unease and uncertainty built up in the Black Forest, like a storm brewing, as four men travel up a hill to play their alphorns. The notes blown have a soothing effect, calming the atmosphere and the tension, merging with the surrounding landscape.
After making his name in Paris designing menswear for Pierre Cardin, Pierre Yovanovitch opened his own interior atelier and his own home is explored in Nicks latest film for NOWNESS' 'In Residence' series
"A place where everything goes...naturally"
It was hard to leave once Nick settled into this palatial masterpiece of minimalism. With its outdoor pool, an immersive experience of exquisite furniture and art housed in an immaculately restored chateau.
Meet the man behind the mansion on the lastest Nowness commission by Nick.
For this story on the Wellcome Trusts' Mosaic Science news website Nick went to visit Nick Casewell and his team who are working to understand what makes up the venom in some 49 different species of snakes. Feeding time at the herpetarium involves 163 snakes and the team there work to make antivenoms more effective and affordable for those around the world who simply can't get access to them. Nick entered the venom extraction room in order to photograph this series where snakes are free to roam.
"Ivrea, an Italian town run in its heyday by the typewriter manufacturer Olivetti, was once a model for workers’ rights and progressive design. Now, it is both a cautionary tale and a vision of an abandoned utopia — and evidence of a grand experiment in making labor humane." TMag
Nick revelled in the geometries and faded grandeur at the remains of the glory days of the Olivetti empire in Ivrea. This series focusses, as Nick's work often does, on the imprint left behind when people have abandoned a place and what these remnants might tell us about the ideals of the architects and workers who, for a time, called this place home.
Nick is always excited about working with Maharam, as he gets to document many aspects of the life behind this very special textile company.
On this trip, he visited their main distribution centre for North America, a 95,000-square-foot facility in Yaphank, New York. For this story, he is also able find the human side to 9000 samples, yards and yards of products and a massive infrastructure that ships to a long list of clients and manufacturers.
It almost feels as if like the rolls of fabric are looking back at you.
This shoot became part of Maharam’s lookbook, alongside Nick’s other images from their studios, artists, and factories.
An endearing story about Britons train enthusiasts turned into a dark mystery of theft.
On a commission from Bloomberg, Nick headed to a location closer to home: The Gravesend Model Marine & Engineering Society (GMMES), a 66-year-old British railway club.
Nick rode at the back of a scaled down trains, photographed the club regulars, their love for locomotives and the unsettling feeling left after this crime, which still lingers in the air. The Mayflower, Simplex, Speedy, and the John Milton Metro are gone.
Nick was recently commissioned by Penta Magazine to shoot a story at the Eagle Factory. He went to a secret location in Sussex, where a small team of designers and engineers work on creating one of the world’s most exclusive supercars. Nick was able to see and capture craftsmanship defined, they truly hand-build and restore vintage cars to the owner's unique specifications. Every component—from the tiniest bolt and battery clamp—is scrutinized to see whether a fully renovated standard part is optimal, or whether they can make them better, lighter, and more durable. The vast majority of parts are improved or made in-house at Eagle.
Sonnhild Kestler’s company, S.K. Hand-Druck is a “one-woman textile manufacturer”. Kestler works alone, barefoot arranging and rearranging brightly coloured shapes of paper into new designs for screen prints. She is currently working on some designs for Maharam and Nick visited her studio in Zurich to capture the process.
The space of Kestler’s studio feeds her work; like a museum, it is a vessel for her collection of objects from around the world. As she moves around the room, often on top of the wooden tables, Kestler paints large strips of paper in gouache colours, drawing from the innumerate references surrounding her to create elaborate designs.
The piece was written by Alice Newell-Hanson, click here to see the full story.
Nick visited Artist Yinka Shonibare’s studio alongside writer Michael Watts, capturing his art, ideas and life experience. Nick depicts the way in which Shonibare’s work merges a simultaneously playful and intellectual look at colonialism and globalisation. The globe heads are “metaphors for humanity” and the colourful Ankara Prints question people’s ideas of “authentic African art”.
The article was published in Christie's Magazine and commissioned by BAM. The conversation with Shonibare ranges from Brexit to being a disabled artist and expanding his activities in Lagos.
At the Blue Mountain School in the morphing “metallic novelty” of Shoreditch, the boundaries between fashion, food and design are broken. Nick takes a trip to this “art gallery meets fashion archive meets restaurant meets perfumery meets listening studio”.
The building covers six floors of retail space which often feel like a museum as the stored archive clothing requires an assistant and stairs-on-wheels to get down. The restaurant has an open kitchen where people can walk in and out to see their food being cooked. Like the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, the Blue Mountain school offers a “new kind of arts education”.
This article was published in GQ style and commissioned by Photo Director Linda Denahan. Click here to read the full article.
We kickstart the new year, with this new piece. For the film, Nick was able to explore architect Sophie Hicks’ Kensington house, which she designed herself. Juxtaposing the surrounding stucco fronted houses, this one looks like a glass rectangular box.
The front room, dining room and kitchen are surrounded by glass panes which blur the distinction between the outside and the inside: Kensington’s trees and bricks cast reflections which seep into Hicks’ home. Nick captures this merging in all its mysterious calmness. He gently weaves in the humanistic nature of the building: the way in which this home functions not only because of its design but also because of the people who live and work in it.
In Sophie Hicks’ own words, Nick has“captured the atmosphere of the house so beautifully...all of it flows well and it is very calm.”
Nick went back to one of his favourite settings when shooting indoors: Factories. As he often turns to see the human aspect of these rather mechanical places. This time it was denim factory, and met with its co-founder David Hieatt, to shoot a story for the ‘Identity’ Issue of MATTER.
'David Hieatt is the co-founder of the do lectures and Hiut denim, a cult brand of jeans. Both the lecture series and the Hiut factory are based in cardigan, a small market town in West Wales, which has played a central role in Hieatt’s life. Now he is shaping the town’s identity too.'
Nick's personal project 'Ekeko' was invited for a feature on Internazionale, an Italian independent magazine.
It was published this November on their Portfolio section, right when the project was also on its last day of exhibition at Kiosko gallery in Bolivia.
We are really enjoying to see Nick's Ekeko travelling so much!
Nick went on an autumn road trip through the glens and moors of northern Scotland on a commission from Travel+Leisure Magazine.
He moved across the scenic wilderness, through historic estates, country cottages and nature reserves for a story of a 400-mile drive. The feature also became the cover story of the November issue.
Nick recently spent a week in The Atacama Desert, Chile. This is one of the driest places on earth, and with the surrounding landscape one can get confused with Mars. From this great commission, he brought back a collection of images from treks lead by Explora Hotel, long drives through this remote stretch of Chile, and encounters with outer space machines: leading observatory complexes that are scattered over the desert to study the origin of stars, and the endless expansion of our galaxy.
The story was commissioned by T+L Magazine for their September Photography Issue.
Photography director, writer and expert of the craft, recently got a piece published for Fold Magazine about Nick's last decade dedication to capture life, culture, and changes in Bolivia. The very center on Nick's practice.
She well describes it as 'a personal journey into his Bolivian heritage, shaped around his lifelong curiosity to understand both his own history and the people and places which informed it.'
The publication is a platform from Moleskine, the makers of the notepads most creative souls would always have at hand.
Nick was invited by curator Cheryl Newman to join this global photography project celebrating small, family farmers and their success in feeding 70% of the world. His destination was the sustainable Quechuan community of El Choro in Bolivia. Nick spent a few days documenting their own art of living: Sumak Kawsay, a philosophy with a holistic and communal cosmovision that emphasises the interconnectedness of everything. At 5000m of altitude the community is reviving their indigenous culture, traditions, their autonomy and food sovereignty.
The exihibition launched on Oct. 12th at the Bargehouse Gallery in London, along a series of events, workshops and screenings.
Among the 200 images capturing today’s faces of Britain lies Nick’s portrait of Delfina Da Cruz, a worker at E5 Bakehouse in Hackney. Drawn by the colours Delfina was wearing as she washed up, Nick asked if he could take a portrait. The image was shot whilst working on The Makers, commissioned by Studio Small.
Not only will this portrait be exhibited on JCDecaux screens nationwide, but it will also be part of the very first Portrait of Britain book which will be published this month.
Remembering the lathargic nature of Lloyd Aero Boliviano. Nick's photographs and recent interview hold onto the hope that the airline will, once again, return to the air.
"LAB still keeps Boeing planes from the 1970s running, its training is set up like it was 40 years ago, and they have rooms full of paper tickets. There is a tangibility and a substance to the company that makes it more than a business."
Click here to see the full project.
Nick went back to El Alto, Bolivia's largest growing city, and came back with a portrait of a rebellious young city.
He talked with It's Nice That about his approach to this bustling South American city: “I wanted to give the photo essay an uncluttered and refreshing tone, keeping the frames simple,” he says. “It’s a story about a young city and I really wanted Ciudad Rebelde to focus on the city’s population as they are the ones shaping it.”
He also shared some insights about his practice in general and initial inspirations to make photography his art.
Nick spent a few days wandering around wide beaches, surrounded by cliffs and listening big waves crashing into giant boulders. On a commission from The New York Times Style Magazine, he set out to capture the atmosphere of the town of Biarritz, in the French Basque Country. Based on Éric Rohmer’s small masterpiece ‘The Green Ray’ he created his own contemporary version of the city, a place that swings between crowed summer days and offseason abandoment.
‘The place evokes the restless feel of a city in late summer, the compulsion to escape while not having anywhere to go’
'In his ongoing project, The Bitter Sea, photographer Nick Ballón draws on his heritage to investigate the proud and nostalgic relationship landlocked Bolivia has with the sea.'
Verónica Sanchis recently spoke with Nick about his experience working on this project for the PHMuseum. He shared insights about his interest in Bolivia: the main stage for his work. He is slowly bringing the pieces together with constant visits to the country, reseach and negotiations. Nick's work is endlessly fueled by his Bolivian heritage, and interest to continue connected to his ancestry.
Nick’s story ‘Armada’ continues to catch attention. Normally, the curiosity begins with the fact that Bolivia is a landlocked country with a Navy, and some of its recruits have never seen the sea.
He was recently approached by Laura Mallonee, from WIRED, to talk more about his experience getting access, spending days in the Navy, and following the life of the young recruits. This is part of Nick’s long term project ‘The Bitter Sea’ focusing in Bolivia’s loss of the sea over 130 years ago, and it's longing to recover its access to the Pacific from Chile.
On a commission from British Airways’ High Life Magazine, Nick went on a shorter kind of trip to meet with David Shrigley: one of Britain’s most culturally embedded, and most-loved artists. He is well know for having a combination of pitch-black humour with satirical scrawling.
A winter day in Brighton was the scenario for the portrait series, focusing on the artist new relationship with his adopted hometown. The artist moved in just a couple of years ago, and his bonding with the place continues to evolve as steps into the role of guest director at this year’s Brighton Festival.
Nick met the team behind the Suborbitals, at their warehouse in Copenhagen, where they are working on their next mission: Putting a human into space by 2030.
“We have engineers, metal workers, electronics guys, software guys – all sorts of skills,” their projects rely on crowdfunding, and their next rocket, Nexø II, is a mix of pre-existing components, repurposed for space travel.
This 6.7-metre-tall rocket, weighing 178 kilograms, will be fired 12.6 kilometres into the air, then float back down to Earth with a parachute. The computer used in the engine control system once was cashier’s terminal from a Burger King; the pressure regulation system is based on a scuba diving funnel; a previous rocket used a brake cable from a Fiat car to synchronise the opening of crucial valves. All driven by their love for space.
The story was commissioned by WIRED UK, published in their May/June 2018 Issue.
On an editorial commission from The Guardian Labs, Nick met some interesting key characters involved with the Commonwealth Games and also Olympic Athletes currently representing Britain around the globe, like champions. This came out as part of 'The Home Team' series.
One of the subjects was star gymnast, Max Whitlock, whom he photographed doing some stunning acrobats on the pommel horse. This shoot felt like a proof of what has made Max a five-time Olympic medallist, a six-time world medallist, and Britain's first ever Olympic champion in artistic gymnastics.
At the end of 2017, Nick visited The Royal Academy of Arts to capture it on its 250th anniversary. It was also the big day of the RA's Christmas staff party, talks on the halls made it sound like a memorable tradition.
Nick met with Artistic Director, Tim Marlow, in the drawing room as he reviewed some notes for a coming speech and shared some anecdotes. He was later joined by the Head of Collections and the Head of Architecture, who toured him around the areas under renovation of The Burlington House, a place that holds the most august institution of the arts in Britain.
The story was published in The Big Black Book, the Esquire's twice-yearly guide to the finer things in life, with their very stylish spin-off.
On an editorial portrait commission from The Atlantic magazine, Nick met television and film director Armando Iannucci in London.
Just on the time for his film release 'The Death of Stalin', for which Iannucci turns to the Kremlin, satirizing the political struggle that followed Joseph Stalin’s demise. The film was shot pre-Trump, however events from the 1930s seem to match with the current political scene around the world as he comments during his interview.
Click here to see the full story.
Nick was invited to showcase his work on the biggest magazine we have ever seen: A3 sized pages, filled with art and zero ads. Is not a usual combination we get to see these days.
Global Design Firm is launching their project this month, for which they created a big format publication that's been circulating around the Creative industries in New York. Nick picked his project 'Armada' to be featured, along other artists like Todd Hido, Mark Leary, Lucas Foglia.
Nick met artist Damien Hirst at Newport Gallery in South London, the artist very own museum.
On the time allowance, Nick had the opportunity to work with the pills inspired space in the Gallery's restaurant, and then had the artist lay on the floor at the bottom of a staircase as Nick hung with his camera from the very top view above.
The images were featured on the cover of The Sunday Times December 17th Issue. The story described the artist's latest show as 'the shipwreck of his career', a bit of his past, future and current position in the business.
Here is another exciting year of winning work selected for the Creative Review 2017 Photography Annual.
'Invisible Wounds' Nick's first collaboration with artist Alma Haser, was also selected Best In Book.
'Armada' a project shot in the Navy Base of Lake Titicaca, is been selected on the Personal work category.
'El Choro' a story on a sustainable Bolivian farming community, commissioned by Cheryl Newman for We Feed The World, has also joined the selection.
Click here to see all winners.
Nick recently met Maria Balshaw at Tate Britain for a portrait session commissioned by Bloomberg Pursuits. She became the museum's director last June, and has brought an energized and politically active approach.
“The Tate has expanded the landscape for art in this country. Now it needs to ensure that that expanded landscape is shared with the widest community of people possible." She adds during the interview.
Click here to see all portraits.
Patricio Binaghi invited Nick to participate on a photographic project for Paripé Books, and is out now.
Published as a series of 4 books, 'American -ABCD' brings 200 artists together to re-interpret an image from a photographic archive of the American life in the 50's and 60's. There is only 500 editions of each for sale.
The project is launching in Madrid this coming December, we will reveal what Nick´s went for then.
Click here to get a copy of a book or the whole set.
Positive News honours ageing on its latest Issue, and Nick's images were the right fit to make the point. ‘The Age Advantage’ features Nick’s portraits Daphne Selfe ,the oldest professional fashion model in the world, in their cover of the magazine and opening of the story.
As part of a co-op media, this is a magazine that focuses on progress and possibility with a constructive journalistic approach.
'Ballón’s best work occupies a state of limbo. With layers of contradictions intriguing and seducing the viewer, things are often not what they seem on the surface. He is interested in the moments that sit halfway between real and constructed.'
As part of Maharam Stories series, Photography Art Director, writer and friend, Gem Fletcher collaborated with the writing of this piece. Her talented writing takes a look into Nick's approach to his photography, describing very gracefully how he looks at the world and elaborates on his personal focus on his Anglo-Bolivian heritage.
Click here to see the full story.
Commissioned by 1843 Magazine for its August & September 2017 Issue, Nick went on a photographic winter walk. He re-visited Iceland through stories created by one of its most well-know poets, lyricists, and novelists: Sjón. Influenced by David Bowie, the author was a pioneer of surrealist writing in the 70s, and often collaborates with Bjork.
Click here to see the story in 1843 Magazine.
Nick was recently commissioned to shoot the cover story for Time Magazine's International Edition. On a quick trip from London straight to the Irish Parliament House in Dublin, he had the opportunity to meet and photograph the portrait of a new and rather refreshing name in politics: The Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar.
On a negotiation of his own documentary style, Nick silently moved around from all hierarchies, spent time capturing portraits of the senior practitioners and followed the more junior ones as their performed the clerking rite of passage: Trolley-hauling around the Royal Courts of Justice and to the offices.
Nick’s image from his project ‘The Virtue of Wrestling’ was featured on the cover of American Chordata. This rather special publication is getting all the positive attention from their very start. It carefully blends in fiction, nonfiction essay, and poetry, with art and photography. Nick created this project as part of his ongoing collaboration with Art Director Gemma Fletcher.
Click here to get ahold of their previous issues.
We are happy to announce that on another year on the row, Nick has been selected to join the 2016 Creative Review Photography Annual publication, along a great pick of very talented photographers doing fine work in the current scene. On this occasion it was his story ‘The Painted Desert’, commissioned by T:MAG, that brought him the 2016 award under the Editorial section.
Click here to see the full story.
Nick was interviewed about his experience shooting ‘Leather for Maharam’, a recent commission from the US-based textile design company. This story allowed Nick a very organic relationship with the client, and the space to translate his visual style inside the Italian tanneries.
Click here to read what Nick told The Creative Review about his experience.