CAMERA CLUB: The work of a professional photographer
It made a change having the lens pointed at me. The photographer and videographer was Nat Wilkins and he was shooting a promotional video for Business Northumberland.
Following the shoot, we talked about photography.
Besides his commercial work, Nat’s documentary photography often explores rural issues.
“My project ’Ten Guineas An Ounce’ dealt with alternative livelihoods and lifestyles in the North Pennines. I photographed self-sufficient families, retired rock stars, Buddhist monks, and coal miners, investigating motivations for living in one of the remotest corners of England. I was interested in how seemingly disparate lifestyle choices held similar needs, and how their geographical locations fulfilled their hopes and dreams.”
Nat began taking photographs in secondary school. Although he started his working life as a conservationist in the UK's largest nature reserves, that connection with the outdoors and conservation, the environment and rural life, inspired him to take photographs.
“I got into shooting professionally after deciding to do a BA in photography at Sunderland University. Since I graduated, I have worked as a photographer. My professional photography incorporates three areas: commercial, participatory arts and my own creative practice.”
Recently, Nat worked with three others from the photography collective Wideyed, documenting agricultural shows in Teesdale, Weardale and Allendale.
“We created an exhibition that we hung both inside and outside a cattle trailer. Then we toured this work around the six agricultural shows that we had photographed the previous year.
“We then collected archive images, anecdotes of agricultural shows and other material from the gallery’s visitors and then, from this, created the final publication. The exhibition was also shown in Wyoming and Sunderland as part of a visual conversation between students from the respective universities.”
“Currently, I am working with care home residents, delivering distanced photograph mentoring so the residents can document their time through lockdown. The images the participants take will be exhibited along with portraits taken by me when lockdown is lifted.”
Nat shoots video, both commercially and creatively. He shoots promotional videos for clients as well as documenting large heritage and cultural projects.
“Creatively, I make documentaries around every subject. I also incorporate elements of video into my photographic creative portraits. I’m also often using audio as part of my exhibitions too.”
Does Nat feel like branching out into, say, fine art photography? “My documentary work incorporates elements of fine art photography. I would never limit my photography. If helps me communicate what I want to say then I will use that. I'm open to ideas.”