A Quick Q&A With Nicholas Merzetti | Photographer

-           Do you agree that you are challenged every day to create something that has never been created before?

I don’t.  I wish I could say yes but the moment you take on photography as a full-time career you are working with clients.  To build your connections, you are going to have to work with someone else’s vision at times. Optimally, they come to you for your vision; but that’s not a guarantee.   I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all though.  It’s a give and take.  The most important part is that every time you use your camera you get better.  That keeps me happy and motivated no matter what I’m shooting!


-           Can you describe your creative process? What do you look for when creating a shoot and do your shoot line up to be what you expected?

            I grew up as a huge cinephile so 9 times out of 10 my inspiration comes from watching movies.  I’ll watch a movie and annoy everyone in the room when I make them pause it and start taking photos.  From there, I figure out what about it first grabbed me.  If it’s just the composition it’s a no go.  If it’s a theme or mood then I go with it.  My shoot almost NEVER lines up with what I expected.  9 out of 10 times it’s a happy surprise.


-           You have to have a favorite artist in mind that drives your creativity or inspires you, who is it?

          Nicholas Winding Refn.  I’ve been a huge fan since pusher. His dark and weird voice resonates with me powerfully.  Some of his most recent movies like Neon Demon are basically a string of fashion images run together at 24 frames a second.


-           How would you describe yourself as a person & artist?

I don’t think you can separate those two things.  Saying you are an artist is describing your persona, not just your hobby or career.  I would say I’m critical of myself, creative and sensitive… sometimes overly so.  Beyond that I’m extremely driven.


-           How did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

            I always felt muted in some way.  I had no idea what that feeling was or why I had it but it became life changingly clear the day I picked up a camera.  My uncle lent me his camera one day and almost immediately I felt as if I suddenly had blinders taken off.


-           Do you have a favorite photographers who inspire you? Why is that?

            Andrew Yee is my current love.  He’s just functioning on a completely different level when it comes to color and composition.  His stuff is just… wow.  I’ll get there!


-           Can you describe one of your favorite projects that you have worked on and why was it your favorite?

     I did an editorial inspired by the movie Beyond the Black Rainbow (yet to be released).  Very very dark and very weird.   I spent more time creating the set than I ever had before and it paid of hugely.  The set really gave this disturbed mood that everyone working with me could feel.  When it came time for the models to work, the mood was so great and on point that it was effortless for them.  Big lesson that day!

-           We have taken a look at your website/portfolio Online, how do you want the viewer to feel when looking at your work?

            I wouldn’t say my website accurately reflects my work.  It has been a process defining my style but I’m there now.  Dark and weird.  My website will soon reflect that.  Like many photographers that are doing this full time my website currently displays a lot of different genres and that lack of focus is unacceptable.  WEBSITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION :)


-           Do you ever collaborate with designer brands.

            Absolutely!  It’s obviously just fine to pull from stores but when you work with the designer directly you not only get more clothes to pull from but you often are getting another creative mind attached to your team.  If they are choosing to work with you they are on board with the vision and I’ve never met a designer that doesn’t have a massive creative skillset to bring to bare


-           In the artistic world of photographers, do you see yourself not only trying to achieve your perfect shoot but also being known for your work?

I think most photographers, including myself, will never achieve their perfect shoot.  It’s that process of striving for perfection that not only makes you grow but provides you with the content to get your name known.  We’ve all finished a shoot we love and then a month later you look at it and think how shit you were.  It’s all part of the growth process.  Aim for perfection and you’ll keep getting better.


-           If you could shoot an editorial anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why is that?

Norway, Rejkavik, Finland… somewhere with glaciers and ice flows.  So much opportunity for contrast and minimalism! And way easier to light softly when the entire ground is a reflector.


-           What was the main reason that you decided to become a photographer?

I felt I had no choice.  I kept putting off attempting to really invest myself in photography… I think because I was afraid to fail.  I went so far as to get my biotech degree to avoid really committing, but eventually I realized that there is only one way I was ever going to be happy… ever going to be proud of myself.  I dropped everything and jumped in.  It was a struggle at first obviously but now I’m starting to get some of the rewards of my hard work!


-           Tell me about your latest shoot. What was your vision when you created it?

I like to work closely with the stylist when it comes to fashion (obviously).  She came to me with the idea of an all – denim shoot.  We came up with the idea of a morning to night transition, or day-in-the-life of twenty something woman.  I’m so happy with the way it turned out.  The model was AMAZING!!!


-           To be a photographer, you had to undergo a lot of struggles. What was the most difficult obstacle for you when putting together a shoot?

100% it’s the pre-viz and organization.   I think a lot of creatives share the same problem where they have many ideas but lack the skillset to properly plan it out.  It’s been a year of working on the discipline required to plan and pre-viz these things.  The best piece of advice I ever got was: “one minute in pre-viz is worth an hour on set”


-           Does your personal life ever effect how you compose your shoots or do you have a set schedule/formula that you follow? What is it exactly?

My personal life definitely affects my shoots.  Confidence is the most important thing in everything you do and if you are struggling due to relationships or whatever it can cause second guessing at critical moments or lack of faith in your vision.  It takes discipline to create a healthy mind for creativity. 


-           Who excites you the most (Celebrity) & why?

Jason Bateman.  B+ list actor who never really made it huge.  He was great in curb your enthusiasm but other than that he’s fallen short of being a star.  Then this guy decides “eff this… I’m going to do this myself.”  So, he not only creates and directs his own show (Ozark) but he casts himself as the star.  It’s amazing.  How can you not admire this guy!  He took charge of his life and showed people what he’s made of.


-           If you had to pass on a suggestion for someone starting out in photography, what would you tell them?

In the pursuit of creating your best work, you really need to learn to be a captain.  I think photography for a lot of people is a very solitary pursuit; however, if you are trying to produce editorials it can’t be.  Team work and team organization are key.  For you to create your vision you need to be in control.  So, you need to be able to direct not just the models but the entire team.  Also, you need to keep it fun.  That will bring more clients back than you would ever expect.


-           How is your style of photography different from others different from any other photographers?

I’ve been told that my use of location is unique and I think that comes from my background with cinema.  I try to focus on body language over anything else and I think that also shines in many of my photos.  


-           What are your world-dominating goal.

I have one main goal. Pursuing that goal beyond anything else has brought and will bring all my secondary goals into fruition.  JUST. GET. BETTER.