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‘There’s always something new to discover’ | Nicky Scicluna

Young photographer Nicky Scicluna tells us about his newfound love for film photography, the struggle to do interesting work in Malta, and what stoked his passion for photography in the first place. 

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
13 January 2015, 8:30am
Nicky Scicluna
Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
Photography by Nicky Scicluna
“After I finished studying, I started working in a bank. After three years of working at a 9-5 job, I felt my spirit fading away. That’s when I decided to quit and pursue what I love – taking pictures, capturing moments that myself and others could treasure forever.

“When it comes to shooting commercial work, my main tool is my canon 5DMKII along with a variety of lenses. Preferably, I like to shoot using natural light, however this isn’t always possible, so I use flash when required.

“When it comes to post-processing images, I like to keep them as real and natural as possible as I’m not a big fan of the ‘Instagram effect’ kind of look. A lot changed for me over the past year when I purchased my first analogue camera (Pentax K1000), which introduced me to a whole new world of photography. I have since developed a slight obsession and gone on to buy another four film cameras. When shooting film, you take your time before hitting the shutter button, you move about and really interact with your subject since there is no digital screen to distract you. Taking your film to the lab, waiting for it to be developed and going to pick it up when it’s done makes it feel like Christmas morning each time. 

“My favourite subjects are definitely people, starting off with my girlfriend whom I constantly pester to photograph. I love grabbing my camera and hitting the streets, capturing anything interesting that catches my eye. I tend to look out for unusual-looking people, people who have a character about them. The beauty of street photography is that most people are caught off guard, so that gives you a truth in your subject and not somebody made to smile or feel self-conscious.

“Unfortunately smart phones, applications (such as Instagram) and digital cameras have created an abundance of pseudo-photographers. Pictures are constantly uploaded and shared on the internet, which sort of ‘spams’ not just our social media feeds, but our minds too. However this isn’t what I consider to be photography. I believe that a real photograph makes you wonder, stare at the picture for a few minutes and ask questions. If it doesn’t do this, then it’s just another visual recorded image, and not what I would define as photography.

“I think that the photography scene is very limited in Malta, especially when it comes to fashion and fine art photography. You won’t find any local magazines that would consider publishing nudes, for example, or anything even slightly controversial, really.

“There is also a lack of experienced models as many of the ones that actually make it will head out to work abroad. Overall it’s quite monotonous, and not all that inspiring. On a positive note, I feel very lucky to have discovered the only analogue photography course on the island – where we were thought how to process our very own black and white negatives and also hand print our photographs in a dark room – thanks to Workshop F1.4.

“Right now, my main focus is to continue shooting more and more film and continue learning about this magical process. I plan to set up a dark room and start processing and hand-printing my own photographs. I can picture myself staying up until all hours of the morning experimenting in the dark room. The beauty of photography is that the borders are limitless, I will never feel that I have learnt enough as there is always more and more to discover.” 

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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