French photographer Nico Therin has been living in Los Angeles, US for 5 years after moving from a town near Bordeaux. His latest series of images are very clever minimalistic puns or satires by combining two objects. Working in a controlled studio environment, he takes images that are intriguing yet simple and gives them very amusing titles such as ‘bubble-gun’ or ‘nut-cracker’. Nico agreed to answers a few questions about his photographic vison and idea behind these images. Here he goes:
I moved to LA from France when I was 21 (so about 5 years ago now) and ended up going to school for photography (sort of randomly), which is where I quickly took a liking to the controlled environment that in-studio photography offers.
I love the challenge of creating images that are minimalist yet curiously intriguing, and I always tend to lean towards simplicity when it comes to my work. I like using clean backgrounds and bold colors to set a stage for the object that I am presenting and the message that I want to communicate.
Yes, after the completion of high school, I studied accounting for sometime in France. Then I decided to move to the US five years ago to be with my high school sweetheart who I had met in France while she was studying there seven years ago. In the US I realized that the only way for me to stay there was to go back to school. So, I enrolled in Santa Monica College and chose photography as my major as it’s completely different from accounting and the easier to understand due to my limited knowledge of English at that time. I got hooked after the first few classes and it’s sort of become an obsession since then.
As a matter of fact I’ve always been very interested in everything visual. When I was younger I’d easily be mesmerized by colors and shapes, but never really had a creative outlet. After studying photography as a subject in college I believed I’d truly found my medium of expression and was finally able to produce my own colors and shapes.
I’m a really simple person and I love simple things. I grew up surfing and my favorite thing to do is to go out in the water early in the morning when there’s no wind and nobody else in the water — just me and the ocean. To me, that’s the ideal minimalist moment. In my work, I always ask myself what I can take away to make the image simpler, which in my opinion, makes it stronger.
How do you creates these images and how much do you rely on Photoshop?
I’d like to clarity that all images on my website are photographs. While I use Photoshop as a tool, I do not like having to rely on it, so I do as much in-camera (in the studio) as possible!
My ideas come from when I’m just simply looking around. We’re so often consumed by our phones, our computers, or things that we have to distract us — but I feel the best ideas come to me when I’m aware of my surroundings and have a clear head. I always carry a little book and a pen with me and note every idea that comes to mind. Most of the time, I let the idea sit for a few weeks and then come back to it, refine it, or combine it with another idea. All of my photos have a certain idea behind them- some of them more obvious than others.
I’ve been really thinking about taking more risks and getting political with my work lately. There are many things in the US that are so different from France where I grew up, and the more I am aware of all the inequalities that exist here (and elsewhere), the more responsible I feel to try and find a way to send out more powerful messages through my work. So there will be more of that, but there will also never be a shortage of fun, cheeky images. My goal with my work is to always, always be open to evolving and adapting. There are things I’m doing today that I had said I’d never do, and things I’m no longer doing today that I thought I’d be doing forever.