NICK WAPLINGTON

 
Nick Waplington © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 
 


Based between London and New York, Nick is frequently traversing the Atlantic, but his adolescence was spent here, during London’s post punk era, skateboarding at the Southbank Centre’s undercroft and creating his own fanzines. Sensibilities of the time have stayed with him well into adulthood: Nick is sharp, resolutely independent- and funny.

In Nick’s Hackney studio we’re flanked by pillars of stacked vinyl and an imposing bookshelf, full of artist books, exhibition catalogues and classic literature. He has an impressive back catalogue of books himself, over 20 to date, with several more following soon. Nick found early success with the publication of Living Room, a project he began when only 17 years old, portraying families residing in the same Nottingham housing estate as his paternal relatives. Always looking for inspiration from the world around him, his intimate colour imagery was scorned by a traditional college faculty, but Nick characteristically broke convention when it exploded years later, the book contributing to the radical development of contemporary British photography.

Nick has always carved out opportunity and sought creative challenges, as such, his is an immensely diverse practice. Following an expletive-filled epiphany at the 1993 Venice Biennale, Nick sought to diversify his output, proceeding to exhibit photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures despite resisting traditional gallery representation.

Nick’s process is porous. Constantly revisiting previous work, his ideas exist in parallel, on top of and across all projects. Whilst creating work in Israel, Nick was simultaneously travelling back to the London studio of close friend Alexander McQueen to produce a series of images which became known as Working Process. Concerned with his own legacy, Alexander tasked Nick with capturing the creation of what he deemed his last collection as a young man.

Nick himself is older, and wiser, whilst his dynamic 30 year career shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. Families are a recurring theme in Nick’s work, whether found in a Nottingham housing estate, or residing in the West Bank. Now with a young family of his own, he has turned his attention to documenting their daily lives. Nick’s focus, it appears, has come full circle.

 

Words: Laura Norman
Portraits: Phil Hewitt

 
 
Nick Waplington © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 

I wonder where any creative influence came from when you were young, was it from your family, or was it from external sources? I understand that your father worked in the nuclear industry, is that right?

Yes he did. I found out later that he's not my biological father, so that would have had very little bearing on me genetically, but I have explored our relationship in some of my work. His brother, Paul Waplington, is a painter and is fairly well known, he has also been an influence on me, not so much his work but definitely his attitude to life. At school I was pushed to pursue academic subjects, it was a grammar school so it wasn't very creative. Whilst I was there I was making fanzines, and I was often left to my own devices as my parents frequently travelled abroad, so I would spend long periods alone whilst they were away.  

I mentioned before that I’d love to talk about your fanzines, you were covering London’s music scene at the time.

Yes, I never thought about this until recently, but I made the covers myself and put together the interviews, the graphic design, all of it. I was also drawing and taking photographs. I was too young for punk, so I was very into post-punk, by the time I was 14 or 15 it was the time of Joy Division, the Gang of Four, the Au Pairs and The Pop Group, to name a few. That was exciting music even by today’s standards.

What was that time like for you?

In my book Made Glorious Summer I talk about when all the schools closed in the UK. It was in 1979, ‘The Winter of Discontent’. Oil tanker drivers went on strike, and because state schools at that time used oil fired heating, they closed, and we spent our days skateboarding instead. Luckily I lived in the London area, only ten minutes away from Waterloo. We didn't pay to get on the trains, we’d just bunk a ride, and we would go to see bands playing most nights of the week, hanging out and skating at the South Bank beforehand. I didn't think about it much at the time, it just seemed normal, but it was a big influence on me. I realise now that I have a teenage child that we had a lot of freedom back then, which kids don't have now. At the age of 12 I was just out in London. I was up all hours doing whatever I wanted, which was perfectly acceptable so long as I went to school. I think that the music scene, the politics and the world that went with it has had a life-long effect on people of my age, especially on what they do and how they produce things. It certainly affected my ability to get on in the art world, because I don't want to do certain things considered necessary to ‘get on’, and I've remained that way in my mind. I try to keep as true to the ethos of those earlier times as possible.

 
 

You mentioned that your fanzines legitimised your conversations with the people that you met, like Nick Cave, for example. It gave you access into that world.

At the time I didn’t think that the people I’d met or the world which had opened up for me was particularly artistic, but I suppose they both were. I really enjoyed creating fanzines and that was really my initiation into the world of art. I interviewed Nick and his band The Birthday Party for my fanzine, among other bands. I became friends with Mick Jones, the guitarist in The Clash, and we’re still friends. I still think about them now, obviously The Clash are rock icons, but I knew them when I was 13 and if they were playing at venues where I was underage, they would let me in around the back. I remember that the Lyceum and The Strand had bars inside the venue so I was unable to go in through the front. I was a rather precocious, arrogant child but I was quite willing to wait a few hours for that back door to open.

Considering that you were pushed towards academic subjects, it was a bold move to go to an art college. How did you find your time there?

After my A-levels I made the decision that I wasn't going to go to university and study an academic subject.  Instead I went to the local art college, Worthing Art College, and did a year-long foundation course. I haven't looked back. It was interesting, art schools were very lax in the early 80s and there wasn't much structure to the course. You could do what you wanted. I spent the whole time making sculptures and taking photographs. It became apparent to me that it was what I wanted to do although I didn't envisage ever being able to make a living from it. Today’s students are taught how to sell themselves, which came around in the 90s and 00s. By that time it was too late for me.

After Worthing Art College you enrolled at school in Nottingham, formerly Trent Polytechnic. Your uncle was a tutor there which you must have enjoyed, but it sounds like you felt misunderstood whilst undertaking your course.

Yeah, he was also part of a drinking and discussion group called The Horse's Mouth which used to meet in a pub on Mansfield Road every Wednesday night, and I used to go along to those meetings. The teaching at Trent was of no interest to me whatsoever. The head of our course was dismissed when I was in my third year, it was rumoured that he had been up to all sorts of shenanigans. What I didn't realise, until I started studying there, was that the faculty had no interest in the contemporary art world at all. They were only interested in documentary photography from the 30s to 50s, with a special emphasis on Picture Post magazine. I had absolutely no interest in Picture Post in the 80s, so I looked outside for inspiration and I felt I was severely punished by the tutors for doing so. They wouldn't throw me out because I was used as a scapegoat for everything that they felt was wrong in the world of British photography.

When I applied to join the photography course at the Royal College of Art, a lecturer at Trent took the time to write a long, detailed letter to the RCA explaining why they shouldn't even give me an interview, let alone a place on the course. The RCA were so intrigued at the lengths he went to that they gave me an interview, and I then had the immense pleasure of telling him that I'd been accepted just before he was dismissed. I went from being an outsider to the star of the course. Overnight. The remaining lecturers told me that they hadn’t been allowed to like what I was doing whilst he was there, so that changed the dynamic. I had an amazing time for the last six months, they were like, "Do what you want. Just get on with it. Don't bother coming in if you don't want to, just make sure you’re here for the degree show."

 
 © Nick Waplington,  Living Room

© Nick Waplington, Living Room

 

How did you feel about the time you spent at the Royal College of Art?

Well, at the time it was run by John Hedgecoe and Michael Langford. For Michael the RCA was really just a name he could associate to his technical photography manuals. John was a working class boy who turned himself into a type of upper class playboy character. When you’d speak with him, he would tell you about the trouble he was having with the new moat that he had dug around his castle. He had no interest in any photography beyond his own, at least that is how I felt at the time. He used to photograph Henry Moore in his studio, and he also made another book - I’ve got it here somewhere and it's quite something. It's called Possessions and it consists of pictures of naked women in a country house. If you look through it, you’ll see what the RCA was like towards the end of the 80s. Ultimately, the facilities were good and they enabled me to do what I wanted. One redeeming factor of being at the RCA was that my personal tutor for the academic part of the course was John Stezaker. I was living in Italy during my second year, so the RCA enrolled me onto an additional year of the course, but I didn't have to turn up very much. I didn't do my graduate show until the year after I graduated because I’d moved to the USA by then.

What about your peers, how did they find their time at the RCA?

Well, there were people who wanted to emulate John Hedgecoe­— strange but true. There were lots of people that wanted to be successful in advertising.  But there were other people that did more serious things like hardcore documentary: my friend Andy Hughes is a surfer living in Cornwall and he still makes work about the environmental impact of plastic. There was also Melanie Manchot, she was in her first year when I was in my third. I’m sure they’ll feel, like me, that it was a comparatively free time, you could go to art school and play around. I had a friend who used to do acid all the time but still managed to make it through, but I guess there are always going to be kids like that. One of the problems that universities have now are the large number of students enrolled on their courses.

I was part of a fine art degree in a London school in 2010, and studio space was a real issue for us. There were three students to a small cubicle, I think it’s fair to say most of us felt short changed.

When I first went to the RCA it was difficult to find enough people for our course, there were only 21 students: ten in the first year, ten in the second year, and one the third year. By the time I left, it had just climbed to 30. I wonder if the explosion of student intake, coupled with the variety of courses available, has enabled the popularity of photography to flourish. More people are doing it, more people are publishing books and there are more people going to shows. There are many opportunities that didn't exist before.

Completely, there’s more understanding too. What was the photography community like in London in the early 80s?

There was a time where I’d go to an opening at the Photographers’ Gallery and I'd stand and have a beer with Martin Parr and his followers, and we'd all go to the pub together afterwards with the handful of people involved in the exhibition. I was the little kid and they were the adults. There just wasn’t an audience like you have now. There was a regular cycle of people going through the Photographers’ Gallery, and until the early 90s it was the absolute focal point of photography in Britain. The 20 or so people involved in it all knew each other, even if they didn't necessarily get on. Along with the Photographers’ Gallery, Creative Camera magazine was the pinnacle of success.

I remember when I was given a spread in Creative Camera in ‘93, along with work in one of the main spaces at the Photographers’ Gallery and an Aperture book published, I thought: “What do I do now? Maybe that’s it already, it's time to retire.” I had to rethink what I was doing because at that time there was no way of taking it any further. I never thought that I’d be here now, 30 years later, where I’ve had so many great opportunities and I’ve made so many books. So I went back to the USA and I’ve been in that kind of situation ever since. Other than the few years I lived in Jerusalem, I've been backwards and forwards between London and the USA.

 
Nick Waplington © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 

You mentioned that you spent time in Italy whilst you were at the RCA too, what were you doing there?

The European Union have artist-in-residency grants for working artists. I wanted to apply but the RCA faculty said that there's no point because it was only intended for established artists, but when I got it they had to let me go. They filled out all the forms and gave me the reference I needed for it. It was a substantial amount of money so I went to Naples for a year, which was amazingly good for the football. Diego Maradona was there and Gianfranco Zola had just made it into Napoli’s first team. I stayed from September till June and had an amazing year of watching football. I made some work there, some of which has surfaced but most of which hasn't. I really enjoyed that year.

I wanted to ask about your inspirations. Earlier you mentioned spending time with other photographers, who did you look up to? Who inspired you?

I wouldn't say that Martin Parr inspired me. I admire his position as the ‘Tony Montana’ of British photography, but I think his work has suffered because he’s taken on so many curatorial projects. I don't think he's made any interesting pictures since the mid 90s, which is a shame. I guess you can't have it both ways, but I think that he made that decision when he chose to start his foundation.

Well no, not Martin, but you had a long car journey with David Goldblatt, that must have been quite an experience.

I can’t quite remember why I was in South Africa, perhaps it was because my dad was working at Koeberg, the nuclear power plant just north of Cape Town. I had a friend who was originally from there and who knew David Goldblatt. He told me that I had to get to Johannesburg, as David was there and would be driving to Cape Town, so I got up at four o'clock in the morning to travel with him. We spoke about photography and life for the whole 12 hours and went to his house afterwards for supper. I've always been a big fan of his book: In Boksburg. I think that lots of documentary photography is made by photographers who are empathising with their subject matter, but I like the reversal of that and David’s book does it well. He's not in tune with those people, he doesn't agree with their beliefs, but he's trying to learn and find out why they behave the way they do. This was the attitude that I took when I was creating my book Settlement. I thought a lot about David’s approach and the journey I took with him. I'm not the biggest fan of the settlers in the West Bank, but I thought it was important to make work about them.

In terms of inspiration, though, I think a big moment for me wasn’t about photography. I was driving back from Naples after spending the year there, and I went to Venice to see the Biennale. It was 1991 and Hans Haacke was in the German Pavilion where he broke up the floor for Germania. The Nazis had built the pavilion in the 30s so he tore it up, and people walked through the rubble. The Russian Pavilion next door had Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, where they made an installation and it was obvious that the Soviet Union had just ended, and their work reminded me of a summer fair where everyone had left, but the music was still playing. All the doors and windows were left open in the German Pavilion and you could hear the leaves, the breeze was blowing- and there was this music. I was just like “Fuck. Why am I making work like mine? This is where it's at.” I thought at that point that I’d never, ever, be in the Venice Biennale – but that I had to find a way to make it happen.

 
Nick Waplington © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 

But of course you succeeded, in 2001, with work from your project Learn How To Die The Easy Way.

Yeah so there I was, ten years or so later, with my work in a room with Joseph Beuys. My work on the walls, and his stones from the end of the 20th century were on the floor. It was just me and Beuys. But the realisation that I had at the age of 25, that you could make work that evocative… I’ve met Hans Haacke now and he’s one of those artists in their late 70s, early 80s, who are making incredible work, but they’ve spent their whole lifetime experimenting to get there. So it was an important moment back then for me to walk into the Venice Biennale and think “that’s what I want to aim for.” It was no longer about the Photographers’ Gallery - the Biennale could offer so much more than the Photographers’ Gallery ever would. That was one of those philosophical, career defining moments where at the time I thought I was already really old. I was 25 years old and I was worrying that I was coming to it too late.

This is also interesting [picks up a book from the table between us]. I’m reading the story of Malevich’s black square by Aleksandra Shatskikh, did you know that no one had seen it in the west until 1990? It's just an amazing book.

You have an enormous collection of books, I imagine you must always be reading. Does it feed into your practice?

Yes, constantly. Art is about constant learning isn't it? Whether that’s through films, books, or talking to people. I’m always trying to re-evaluate and change what I do so that I’m outside of my comfort zone. I often find that I'm looking for new ways of seeing things, new ways of working. I don't want to get into a situation where I’m producing one type of work and then, as I get older, it gets progressively worse – I’ve seen it happen to others around me.

You said that David’s flipped perspective is something that you wanted to incorporate into your own work, perhaps stripping away the context of a conflict. Do you feel that you’ve achieved that in Settlement?

Yes, and when I went to the West Bank and spoke to people back home about the project, I found that their only understanding of the place that I’d been was via images of conflict. They had seen pictures of settlers fighting with the Israel Defense Force (IDF), or Palestinians fighting with settlers over olive trees, or forced evictions. What was apparent to me when I arrived was the beauty of the landscape. The Jewish people believe the West Bank is the biblical land of Israel – this is the whole problem – and now that Israel controls the biblical land of Israel they don't want to give it up. The settlers see themselves as the new Zionists, the new pioneers, who are staking out the land of God for all the Jewish people. Of course, the trouble with that is that there's already people who live there, who ironically might have actually been Jews at one time. I wanted to know more about the landscape and somehow try to make work about these people. Some people question why I’m not photographing the Palestinians, and I respond by saying that I'm not making a survey of who lives in the West Bank, I’m making work about a particular group of people.

It’s funny to me that white, western, European liberals have objected to the work from a political standpoint because I don’t include Palestinians, but in Arab countries there has been a more positive reception, especially in the universities. Through this project they can see the houses, they can see the people. They don't get to see that otherwise, especially with separatist settlements. If you're not Jewish you can’t go into some of the really hierarchical ones, they checked that I was a Jew before I could even go in. That’s one of the other reasons I wanted to do the project, it's something that someone who isn't Jewish couldn’t do.

You spent a number of years living in Israel.

Four and a half years in total. I was very lucky, it was a very calm time. There wasn't much trouble and there hadn’t been many deaths whilst I was there. I was able to visit most of the settlements and all of the refugee camps, but I don't think that's possible now. It was the right time and the right place for me to be there.

Whilst you were making Settlement, you were also returning to London to work with Alexander McQueen. Was that to put together the Working Process project?

Yes, that was at the beginning of my time in Israel, whilst I was in the West Bank. I’d deliberately decided that I wouldn't make any work for Working Process in Israel, but at the very end I decided to photograph the wall factory which is in a place called Yeruham, in the Negev desert. I was looking at those pictures the other day, they’re in a box here in the studio. There are pictures in the Working Process book from Israel, I don't know if Lee [Alexander McQueen] ever knew that, but some of the pictures of rubbish are taken at a recycling plant in the Negev desert. The rest of them are mainly taken at Veolia recycling centres, either the one near London or their state-of-the-art centre in Nottinghamshire. They’re actually the company contracted to dispose of the West Bank settlers’ waste.

 
 

So there were several crossovers, too. Working Process was created with the intention of being a book, so how did you feel about translating that into an exhibition at Tate Britain? How did you come to settle on the size of the work, the curation?

I was given a model of the space, so I mocked it all up - then the curator, Simon Baker, completely changed it [laughs] and did it his way. I put too much work in there and he helped to strip it down. At the end I switched one of the images out for a newer one that's not in the book. I wanted there to be something different with the pictures of rubbish, so I changed one of them to a wood chipping plant in Shoreham-by-Sea, where they break up pallets and burn them to make power. Otherwise, the book runs in the semi-chronological order that I agreed together with Lee. The large book dummy, the maquette, was exhibited in a vitrine for the show.

How did you find working with Alexander?

Well, luckily for me, Lee wasn't very computer literate. I've got a color darkroom downstairs here in the studio, so instead of designing the book digitally, I made hundreds and hundreds of work prints that we put up on the wall downstairs. We also had them on the floor at his office in Clerkenwell, and at a certain point I pulled together the dummy, which would travel backwards and forwards between me and him via messenger.

Lee lived near Victoria Park until the last six months of his life, when he moved back into the centre of town. But we had nailed the book, locked it down, got it ready... then obviously he died. It was all edited and ready to go, but I decided to sit on it for a while, and let the projects that were ‘ambulance chasing’ come out first. Ours was the only book that he was ever going to work on himself, so I knew that it could wait. After three years, I contacted the people at the fashion house. I wanted their blessing even though I owned the copyright. I was very lucky actually, because when Lee asked me to do it he originally wanted the full copyright, or to at least have joint copyright on the project, which I argued. So we finally agreed and signed a contract saying that the book was mine with Lee as the subject. It's a lesson to share with people: if someone big and famous wants you to take photographs of them, just make sure you lock down the rights beforehand. I had the McQueen fashion house on the phone to me shortly after Lee died, telling me to hand over all the pictures, “now.” I said that I was sorry and that we’d signed a contract, they’re mine. Consequently, when I exhibited at Tate and published the book, they never helped me at all, they wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

How did the project reach the Tate?

A bizarre set of events led to me showing it to Simon. I think I had wanted to introduce Simon to the photographer Jason Evans, so I took Jason to the pub to meet him and I happened to pick up a couple of copies of the book on the way out of the door. I thought I’d give one to Jason and one to Simon. I wasn't pushing it really, it was just a book I had in the studio. It did sell lots of copies compared to other photobooks, ordinarily if they sell 1,000 copies it's considered good, and I think over 35,000 of them sold.

Simon evidently put your name forward for an interview, and always speaks very highly of your work. How was it that you met?

I can't remember exactly when I met Simon, but I’d met him a perhaps two or three years before my exhibition at Tate. There are many people that want to meet him and thrust their photos in front of him, wondering when they're going to sell prints and get a show - so when we met and I wanted to talk about music and drinking, not about art... I don't think he'd ever come across someone as lacking in ambition as me! But that has meant that he deals with me in a completely different way, it would be safe to say we're friends beyond the world of photography.

You also worked with him for Tate's Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition.

Yes, again we were in the pub. I should say that we were in a coffee shop. We were having coffee one morning, and he told me about the exhibition and what they’d decided to include, and I ended up telling him about a particular body of work I’d made, We Live As We Dream: Alone. Let me show you. I just need to get into the corner of this studio [scales a bookshelf to retrieve a catalogue].

 
Nick Waplington © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 

We Live As We Dream is very powerful. How did you come to make that body of work?

Going back to the 80s and early 90s again, I was friends with people that worked at Camera Austria, Manfred Willmann and Christine Frisinghelli, and theirs was considered the most important photography magazine back then. They were based in Graz, which is just across the border from what was then Yugoslavia, and they’d decided to do a war show at the Neue Galerie, in Graz. They called me and asked me if I wanted to go to the war to make some new work, and that they could get me a pass. It just so happened that I had some friends from university who were working as volunteers for United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in what was then known as Krajina. So I got in my Golf and drove down there. You go to an office in Zagreb and they give you a pass, you drive along, and the next thing you know you're in the war. I went to the war for a bit, not much happens during the day but you can hear the shooting at night. I tried to take some pictures at night, but it wasn't for me. I was never going to be on the front line, if there was a front line.

Anyway, I came back and I didn't know what to do. I wasn't going to be producing anything on site so I went down to South Wales to see Andy Hughes, who I mentioned earlier, and we went surfing. Afterwards he said: “I want to show you something.” He took me to this old prisoner of war camp where the Germans had written on the wall of the camp, I was like, "Oh my god. Now I've got something for the show." I went back to London and got my 5x4 camera, the whole time worrying that it would be gone before I got back. It was there, but it was pulled down the following year. I’ve since found out that someone had cut it all out and has it in their garage. So this work was part of a group show, KRIEG, at the Neue Galerie in 1993, which I mentioned when Simon spoke about the Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition. I've been very fortunate.

 
 

I made the book with Aron Morel, which turned out to be another one that no one wants to buy. No one wants books about Nazis, not by me, anyway. I made this work for this Camera Austria show, which I think was quite an important show. The best thing in it was work that they had by Hans Haacke. During the second world war, the SS had erected an enormous black tower in the center of Graz with an eagle on the top. Hans Haacke remade it. I think that was 1991.

You mentioned Aron earlier, and I saw you'd recently been working alongside him for a few events at the International Center of Photography in the USA. The press releases said that you’re currently working on a book together.

Yes, do you want to see it?

That would be amazing, let’s talk about it. Have you thought of a title?

Right now it’s called A Higher Moral Justification For Selfishness. This copy is very rough, there have been two edits since, but it has both painting and photography,the same as another recent book, The Patriarch’s Wardrobe, which included work which was in David Campany’s exhibition: A Handful of Dust. I think there's going to be another version of it, there's much more to the project. I also made another book in the 90s called The Indecisive Memento, which was very unsuccessful, but which also has paintings and photos together.

The layout of these books are interesting, you've paired your paintings alongside your photography - the two have a relationship. You've mentioned before a need to make order from chaos. You can see that in your photography but also in your paintings, could talk more about it?

It stems from a keen interest in politics and wanting my work to be about the world that I live in now, but not in a literal way. I want to make work that deals with the world I see around me, but I try to position it within other universal themes of art. But to answer your question, I think in my work I make chaos from order as well as order from chaos. I am interested in the tension between the two, and how they always tend to turn into one another. I like moving across boundaries that other people see as rigid, whether that is in terms of subject matter, or media.

Do you have any projects that you haven’t yet been able to bring to fruition?

Well, I do have lots of work that people have never seen that I should try and publish. Regarding new work, I tend to start various different things all at the same time, then some come to fruition and some don't.

I have been working with the 6x9 inch film format for a couple of years because it's very free and easy after years of a 10x8 plate camera, and I really loved working with it, but I'm back to the 10x8 again. I'm just about to start lugging that fucking thing around again. It’s heavy, around 50kg with all the kit. I have to carry two rucksacks, there’s one with the camera and tripod and another with the photographic plates in. That way I can get on the subway with it.

My wife and I have been traveling for three years, and since I've been back in New York I've been back to that high energy outlook where you feel everyone in the art world is connected and seeing each other all the time and wanting to collaborate.  So I'm making another book with a publisher called Pacific: Neither a Salt Spring Nor a Horse. The couple who run it are Elizabeth Karp-Evans, who works at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and her partner, the artist Adam Turnbull.

But I’m also often stumbling upon things I’ve made a long time ago, and finding them interesting in new ways. See that digital camera on the table? I've been carrying a digital camera around since they first brought them out like that, 2001-2002, and I've got an archive well in excess of a million pictures.

So are they images from your everyday? The titles of the work are interesting too, what do they refer to?

When I put them together I look for themes within the pictures. I started to come back again to pictures of my kids, my home and my family. It's come full circle in that it's a little like Living Room, but a middle class living room without the big camera and fancy lighting. It's very straightforward. I'm going to make a whole series of these books and they're all going to be the same small size but in different colors. Regarding the titles, they’re snippets of things I might hear on the radio or on the news. For example, we were in the build up to both the election in the USA and the Brexit vote in the UK for this work. When the Brexit vote came in it was the middle of the afternoon, and I was in Palm Springs trying to placate myself by floating around on a large lilo in a pool with a cocktail. I felt like I'd been mugged. No number of cocktails made me feel any different.

What is it you enjoy so much about making books?

Once a book is made, it's there forever. You can't take that away. Exhibitions eventually finish, but books last.

 
Nick Waplington's studio © Phil Hewitt, Courtesy Photolocale. Do not use without permission.
 
 
ArtistLaura Norman