Nicky Hamilton


Nicky Hamilton is a self-taught fine art photographer and was born in 1982 in Britain. Hamilton is head of Art in an advertising agency but his main focus in his photographic career has been to build and design extravagant sets in the highly thermographic realm in which to create astonishing detail on which to build the narrative. Hamilton investigates characters with existential emotional states. He does this with performance and symbolism which is reminiscent of the makeup of the characteristics.

Hamilton feels that he is a visual person. He would watch films and pausing moments he would absorb and understand all the emotions provoked in each scene of the film.

The images seen above come from the series The Lonely Man in which Hamilton took three months to design, build, correctly and physically shoot the set. The series was inspired by his own childhood and the emotions he went through and all the thoughts he had. Hamilton feels that his childhood inspired his passion for photography, he felt that his parents muted all emotions from his life and he was left unsure of emotions, he’d be left with anxiety when creating narratives and it would profoundly affect him. His parents couldn’t understand this whilst he was reminiscing over this he remembered his father being very drunk and driving into a neighbour’s house, this embedded all sorts of fear that subsequently became a trigger to Hamilton.

The concept behind the work is to emulate his family’s life. His father was a builder when Hamilton was young, there were lots of happy memories to be shared with the whole family however in the mid-80s his father was injured in an accident in which resulted in the loss of his business and the  family home, the country was in a crisis and his father had impaired judgement. His father turned to crime and subsequently drug addiction, culminating in an attempt to commit suicide.

The concept Hamilton wanted to achieve in the photographic process is to slow down the processes as he felt that photography was too fast paced. When Hamilton opened his studio he experimented, closely planning and executing every image he’d take there. He wanted to slow down his process, changes pace similar to an artist with a canvas painting improving the quality and the timeliness,  he ventured away from location photography as he felt it to be too fast paced which he felt wasn’t his style. Hamilton shows us this in the way he works as his method is very procedural but still very precisely contemplated. His process starts with a sketch then into a 3-D visual concept and then continues to include testing lighting conditions as well as the colour palette and then resultantly he physically builds and styles his sets. He uses a combination of continuous lights (this could be to enable him to create multiple exposures) he uses a medium format Hasselblad, this is something historically that has always been a strong choice in the photography world. Something that perhaps is also historically well-known is retouching the image to create the desired aesthetic look. This is something that he is also very procedural about as he spends a vast amount of time making the images represent a cinematic ambience.

Hamilton is again another artist who is fascinated by creating reality through images of personal events. This is the concept of my body of work as I shall be bringing the stages throughout my diagnosis into a reality in a photographic summary. Hamilton uses cinematic photography to piece together the story and place the meaning into the image. Hamilton does this through compositional, tonal, lighting and colour to embark on this narrative. The viewer you instantly feel part of the story inspired to understand every element of the capture the underpinning behind the images and why Hamilton wanted to show you this event. I feel by placing the images around the house you feel more attached to the sense of comforting homeliness. I feel that every element in cinematic photography is highly researched incorporating all the elements available to enhance this series as they work extremely well in this combination. I feel this is the essence of storytelling but I certainly want to endeavour to use this style.


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