Behind The Lens With Nick Pumphrey

Hey Nick, for those reading tell us a little about yourself...

Hello my name is Nick Pumphrey and at the moment i am based in St Ives, Cornwall... this could change at any given moment as I have twitchy feet and love adventures! Next week it could be my van parked up on some cliff in Portugal. Since I was 16 years old and at Art and Photography college my love for the simple act of composing a photograph has stayed very close to my heart. I have been fortunate to work with brands that I'm amped on like 'Rhythm',to supply images to the good hearts at 'Take 3 for the Sea' and 'The Seabin Project' for visual awareness on plastic pollution and to float around on a wedding day getting creative angles of a day that means so much to the couple. It has been 22 years since I put a black and white film into my Pentax, it has always been a pursuit of joy, and today it is a job of sorts that offers many different experiences, something that my ever curious soul can identify with.

Describe your photography style in 5 words.

Artistic. Moody. Movement. Documentary. Real.

What are some of your passions that influence your photography?

My passions that directly influence my photography would have to be the Sea, those that play in the Sea, and Travel to the Sea. Safe to say that I love the Sea!

Where is your favourite place to shoot?

I don't think that i have a favourite place in particular. As I said I do like to be around the ocean, for some reason that will always be my source of inspiration wherever I am in the world. More than anything, light is my favourite, that is when photography can become magic, those 2 hours either side of sunrise and sunset, the blue hour.

Have you any trips or exciting projects coming up?

At the moment it is a lot of weddings for work. I will use those to fund more creative and personal projects. I want to get photographs printed...big beautiful prints, not Instagram images that are forgotten after a swipe. Apart from that hopefully some adventures with some interesting folk, time to get emailing! 

What is your preferred equipment to shoot on?

Well I shoot primarily with Canon and use Aquatech water housings. I have been falling in love recently with the Canon 85mm f1.2 when shooting in the water. So much light comes into the lens, it gets better and better as the day gets darker and darker. Really moody results, and as sharp as your eye sees.

What would you like viewers to take away from your work?

Photography for me is a very positive movement. In a way my photos have my character in them. They showcase the places I have been to, time spent with characters, and my personal style in which I have tried to expose them. If my photography inspires someone to surf, travel, pick up a camera or pursue a dream, if that resonates with them and they can take a bit of that positivity away into their life, then that is a cool thought.

Who are some photographers that you admire and respect?

Mickey Smith; even though today he is a busy musician (the man is a creative hub), his photography was always stellar and inspiring. He documented with heart over money. Check out 'Dark Side of the Lens' if you have not already!

Chris Burkard; all his photos make me want to pack my van and drive south or hop on a plane to discover and experience the beauty that our planet has to offer. He sparks adventure and captures frames from all corners of the planet.

Clark Little; who can't appreciate his angles under some of the heaviest shore break waves on the planet? A good example of playing to your strengths and thinking outside the box. I bet he is one of the most successful 'Surf Photographers' out there.

Woody Gooch; an Artist with a camera instead of a paint brush. Always inspired by his work, he is on another level altogether! Pushes me to think about what I do more.

What tips or advice would you give to someone wanting to get into photography?

Just to enjoy it for what it is. Whatever you do in life the best case is if it is done with love. Stay true to your style and passion but at the same time be smart and realise that you may have to do a couple of jobs that pay you your 'bread and butter'. This will allow you to be able to develop your path. Hopefully then as you progress you end up doing just the kind of photography that you were dreaming of. Always take photos, even if it is not paid work, it's always good to shoot and to treat everything with a positive mindset. It's amazing where one photo can lead to.

If you could shoot with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

That is a hard one. Maybe an assignment to do a portrait of Will Ferrell. He is such a funny dude. I reckon i would be losing it with giggle fits!


Check out some of Nick's favourite shots and the story behind them

The daydream was crystal clear seas and manta rays, the reality was this man-made nightmare. Nusa Lembongan with my friend Michelle Van Dijk after the rain

This is my friend Diogo Appleton (@birdscandoit). He is becoming a great little board shaper. He surfs Thrusters,Twins,Singles,Logs and Finless with a style that most would envy

A snap of my first bikini shoot for 'Rhythm Girls' with Inka Williams. Of course the priority here is to see the bikini design, but for me i like the way the sea is moving around her, it gives the photo a little something more

The midday sun and small waves were boring to shoot. Once underwater the story was completely different

The colours or early summer and one last check of the waves before night falls

My home break Porthmeor Beach, St Ives. This part of the beach is where most of my youth was spent surfing and learning from the elders. I like the simple focus on the wave

Mike Lay and the hour after sunset

It's not always bigger waves that are interesting. Sometimes it's good to look down and close up!

Elsie taking time out from running 'Neon' wetsuits and 'Gilmores' cafe with a side order of  Galician solitude

A commission for 'The Seabin Project' with Jessica Bouvier, to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution in a more light hearted way

Check out more of Nick's amazing work on his website & instagram

Free ride

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