A Shoot With Nicola Selby

Story | Interview | Rita Horne | 7 Sep 2017 | 0 comments
Tangofolly Shoot Judge Nicola Selby

The SHOOT ‘Spirit of Tango’ Photography Competition welcomes Nicola Selby to the Panel of Judges in 2017. Recognised and published worldwide, Nicola’s work as a fine art photographer shows her passion for finding the movement and expression of dance and is fuelled by many years training as a professional dancer herself. We are delighted to have Nicola join us on this year’s shoot:




What genre or style to you mainly shoot?
In the main I shoot dance photography, this also expands into theatre and live performance work, also due to the nature of my client’s I also photograph headshots. I have a particular fondness of contemporary dance, it’s so free and can be both dynamic and soft.


How would you describe your photography style?
My style has evolved over time, initially it was all about the dynamic art of capturing movement but now I concentrate much more on the story and the narrative that reflects the dancers movements.


Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small village near Southport, in the Northwest of England. I was very lucky to be surrounded by fields and nature. Southport has a wonderful community of young artists which helped shaped the artist I am today.


How long have you been a professional photographer?
I will be in my tenth year now.


What did you do before you were a professional photographer?
From the age of two I trained as a dancer, then at the age of 18 I was involved in a serious road traffic accident that had a huge impact on my career. After that I changed direction and studied law. I had a successful legal career and enjoyed much success but at the age of 30 I was struck with meningitis. I changed direction again and started to study photography, so its been an eventful journey but has got me to the right place eventually.


Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015


Whats the best part about being a photographer?
There are so many! I have a little girl who is only three Photography has given me the opportunity to arrange my work around my family life and not the other way around. I meet so many interesting and diverse characters in my job, that every job is different. The dancers constantly inspire me to keep creating new works. One of the most interesting things to come out of photographing dancers is that also get to choreograph pieces of movement, short snippets of time rather that a full piece, but its another dynamic of being a dance photographer, you are not just there to take the photo, you are also there to collaborate and create the overall image.


How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
I would say a couple of years ago my motivation slipped, babies and sleepless nights can do that to you. Now I am back in full swing and really enjoying my work. I make sure that I don’t take on more than I can handle and do the jobs that are good for me. You need to learn to say no to some jobs, and do the ones that make you feel good about your work, and keep you feeling energised. Im always trying to think of new concepts, but also avoiding the fads of photography and keeping my images timeless.


Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015


Who or what inspires you in your work?
To begin with Lois Greenfield a dance photographer from New York was a huge inspiration for my work. I wouldn’t say that any particular person or artist now inspires my work, but I get inspiration from everywhere, in fact I have too much inspiration and not enough time!


What do you look for behind the lens, that is, what catches your eye and compels you take the shot?
I look for that moment of energy or that spark. The moment the dancer forgets a camera is there and just lets go and moves in the moment without any awareness.


What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I use a Canon 5d mk iiii and a Hasselblad h4d32


And for editing images?
I work a lot with lightroom. I use a minimal amount of photoshop.


Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015


What is your favourite accessory, other than your camera?
I love my broncolor para 222. It creates a beautiful light on the dancer.


Mac or PC?
Definitely Mac.


The hardest part of your job?
I miss working with work colleagues, I meet so many wonderful people in this line of work, but the relationships in the main are fleeting.


What piece of kit would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
Broncolor Staro.


Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015


If not a photographer what would you have been?
I would have opened a flower shop.


Something you’re still learning?
I’m learning all about the business side of photography, taking a photograph is almost the easy part, marketing, working out your value, promoting yourself etc all takes time.


What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
I would advise to find an area of photography that you love and show a flair for, and stick to it, and really develop your craft. Having a niche can make progress slow to begin with but then you secure longevity in your field by having a true understanding of your subject.


What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
Capturing the story and emotion behind the steps.


What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly Project?
Being involved with other artists who all share the same passion for photography and dance. A better understanding of tango and its form.


Learn more about Nicola Selby via www.nicolaselby.com


Credits: None…

SHOOT Roll: Judges

SHOOT Project: Explore the photos and award-winning images, read interviews with the winners and judges and featured tango photographers. Visit the SHOOT →

Published: 7 Sep 2017 @ 10:35


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