Glasgow-based photographer, Nuala Swan is building an already stellar reputation for herself due to her extensive work in live music and fashion photography.

I spoke exclusively to Nuala about influences, models and Ziggy Stardust . . .

What Initially Interested You In Photography?

I’ve always had an interest in photography; I can remember my dad showing me how to work a film SLR when I was pretty wee and when I was older I messed about with compact cameras, taking oh-so-interesting photos of buildings! It wasn’t until I bought my first DSLR a couple of years ago that Irealised that this could be my proper passion. Then, I started shooting live music and I was hooked!

What Inspires You?

It depends on the shoo,t really. For a doll themed shoot that I did with Tea At Aunties, it was theclothes themselves that inspired me to build a shoot around them. For another, I might be inspired by a music video, a painting, or other photographs. At the moment I’m loving the work of photographers Mert and Marcus who do a lot of the covers for LOVE Magazine.

Your Work As Both A Fashion/Music Photographer, Which Do You Prefer?

It’s hard to choose because they are so different! With music photography, I go along, stand in the pit for the first three songs and take as many photos as I can. If you don’t get the shot you want in that time then it’s too bad! With the fashion work I can plan every detail and then guide the model into the exact position I want and continue to shoot until I get it right. Live music photography can be more exciting, and if you get the right band it can be absolutely electrifying! I recently shot Friendly Fires at Rockness having never seen them live before. I had no idea what a performer Ed MacFarlane is, amazing to shoot. That’s what you hope for every time. That excitement can be there on a photoshoot, too though when you come across a model that totally rocks it. You don’t know until they get in front of the camera whether they’re going to do that or not.

Do You Have Work That You Are Most Proud Of?

For the live music, I’d probably have to go with a photo that I took of Young The Giant in early 2011.They were playing Captain’s Rest in Glasgow which is a pretty tiny venue and I felt that the close ups reflected the intimate atmosphere of the gig. It was the first time that I really felt that I’d nailed a gig photo which is probably why it still means something special to me. I’ve not been taking fashion photos for that long, only about 3 months or so, so there isn’t such a body of work to choose from. One of my favourites was shot as part of a series of photo booth pictures that I did. The model, Kirstin, just kept on giving me great poses; I had so many photos to choose from. Another favourite shot is from my most recent shoot; the model, Macoula, looks like goddess in front of that green wall.

Who Would Be Your Ideal Subject For A Photo?

If I could reach in to the past, it would be David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days. I’d have loved to have shot him at a gig, but he’s an equally amazing portrait subject. Fashion wise it would be a dream to shoot an Alexander McQueen campaign. Maybe one day!

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