10 quick questions, 5 professional and 5 random, with people you should know.
Originally from Michigan, Nick Stokes first moved to New York when he was recruited to a high school in Manhattan for fencing. He immediately fell in love with the city. Years later he found his interest in photography. After working as a retoucher in Manhattan for a few years, Nick decided to pursue photography full time, shooting beauty, swim/lingerie, and products. He recently expanded into directing commercial work. Nick is based in NYC and loves to travel. He splits his time between NY, LA and Miami.
Q. What do you love about your job and your work? What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging about the industry?
NS. I wouldn’t be able to make a decision on which I like more, the process or seeing the final product. Working with a team of talented artists to develop a concept and bring it to life is the best drug in the world. Seeing the final product, stepping back, and knowing what went into it is pretty great too. The most challenging thing about the industry, I feel, is the same thing that makes it so great. The possibilities are endless. You are really only limited by your own imagination and creativity, which makes it difficult in a way.
Q. What about your work can’t you teach? What makes the work unique to you?
NS. It’s a subjective medium. No one person will approach it the exact same way as the next. It’s that approach and individual vision that makes each artist unique. I don’t think you can teach that.
Q. What/who has been your biggest influence?
NS. I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to one person, but I can say that a major influence has been all of the talented people that I have had the privilege of working with. From photographers and directors, to gaffers, makeup artists, hair stylists, producers, and the list goes on. I try to surround myself with people who are passionate about what they do because that passion is infectious and it keeps me going and makes me better at what I do.
Q. If you could be equally as happy in a different career, what would it be?
NS. It would have to be a career with as much freedom to travel and experience things, but I don’t think that anything else would measure up. There are just so many experiences that I would not have had if I was in a different field.
Q. Best advice, personal or professional, you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to have your career?
NS. Several years ago, photographer, Gavin O’neill, told me to “keep it simple.” People tend to over-complicate things- I definitely have been guilty of this from time to time. With all of the fancy equipment and lighting that is out there, it’s easy to get caught up in the mess of it all. I find things to be much more beautiful when simplified and natural. I find this to be true in all aspects of life. If it doesn’t add something of value, get rid of it.
Q. Favorite City/Place in the world?
NS. I love to travel and I have several favorite places around the world, but there’s no place like New York City. So much is at your fingertips here. Also, I like to move fast and get things done so I can move on to the next thing. No other place moves at the pace of NYC.
Q. Most irrational fear?
NS. Stepping on a stone fish. It’s not like they’re common, but I saw one in an aquarium once and it crosses my mind every time I walk into the ocean.
Q. Has social media helped or hurt our society?
NS. It’s funny it’s called social media to me when it makes people so less social. It has changed the way people live and I don’t think for the better. People view their lives through the screen on their phone rather than experiencing the moment they are in. I feel like, in the end, our experiences are all we have.
Q. When did you first consider yourself an adult?
NS. I fear the idea of becoming an adult and will try to avoid it until I die.
Q. Last thing you took a photo of?
NS. A light test for a beauty video I am shooting. Very low light using underwater LED units. I like to play around and see what’s possible.