Nick Ballon: Armageddon
Who doesn’t remember Bruce Willis‘ last heroic action in Armageddon, where he fights man’s last fight, brave and daring, and makes the whole world hold its breath while he finishes off the menacing comet?
All this is, of course, accompanied by melodramatic music by Aerosmith.
Nick Ballon’s picture series “Disaster Playground”, which shows the Armageddon-scenario in real life, is not quite as dramatic. It shows the real people who are on the spot if a comet dares to come too close to Earth.
It’s probably not a surprise that this is not as suspenseful as it is in Hollywood but that doesn’t make this insight into the work of numerous disaster managers less interesting.
For this shoot, Nick Ballon accompanies Nelly Ben Hayoun, a young, ambitious and maverick designer, across America. She set out to shoot a documentary about scientists and disaster managers who work for institutions such as NASA, the SETI Institute and others.
So he took pictures of people who work with completely foreign (at least for ordinary mortals) worlds and technologies which only a handful of them really understands. But exactly these people are depicted in such common and, at times, funny situations that the viewer gets the feeling of being connected to them as a part of a mutual world.
It is great to see pictures of a photographer who knows how to visually flatter such an interesting woman and an even more interesting project.
Nick Ballon: Bolivian Bowler Hats film and series for Port Magazine
British photographer and director Nick Ballon has been revisiting Bolivia many times over the years, in an ongoing personal and artistic endeavor to explore and document the idiosyncrasies of a culture that is integral to his national heritage. In this series shot for Port magazine, Nick follows the stories and characters behind the chola hat, a traditional headdress particular to the Bolivian chola and cholita women, for whom the hat has become part of their unique expression of their identity laced in tradition. In his serenely concise portraits, these women skillfully and proudly balance this descendant of the British bowler hat atop their heads, like a finishing, crowning glory to their traditional dress, almost rendering themselves into sculptural totems of their own niche culture.
"Here":http://christaklubert.com/portfolio/videos/nick-ballon-sombrero-de-la-pace-a you can view this wonderfully considered moving image directed by Nick during his visit to the Sombreros Sucre hat factory in La Paz. . Amidst the carefully composed crops of old Victorian, spinning industrial wheels, felt presses, plumes of steam and weightless clouds of fluff in dusty sunlight, we gain a priceless glimpse into the world of well kept secrets in traditional hatmaking that demands human skill and patience and a love for felt that is passed on from generation to generation. We can only hope that Nick Ballon continues to visually educate us with his cultural snippets from his fascinating and richly sensitive distant country.
Nick Ballon: Halifax
Halifax, the musically inclined UK banking and insurance company that just can’t stop singing it’s way to our hearts, recently appointed the very talented young Nick Ballon to shoot full length portraits of their staff as a special run of alternative cover press ads for the Guardian. The agency behind this commission, which in fact was inspired by Nick’s series documenting another London based ad agency, Mother, where he was given all access to collect his obscure and charming impressions and upfront portraits on softly muted coloured backgrounds. Here, the Halifax staff are set against even more vibrantly glowing backdrops of peachy yellows, corals and fuchsias, making them pop out all the more in all their humanness which Nick manages to expose with a certain degree of collected casualness. The beauty here lies within the stillness of the apparent vibrancy. No need for song and dance.
Nick Ballon: Looking for traces of formerly glamorous South American airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano. Book and exhibition in London
In Ezekiel 36:36 photographer Nick Ballon’s fascination and personal connection with Bolivia is brought to life with his documentation of Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB), one of the world’s oldest surviving airlines. Founded in 1925, it has played an important role in every stage of the country’s history. Since its privatisation in 1994, LAB has suffered at the hands of successive administrations, becoming gradually dismantled due to chronic mismanagement and corruption. Currently under threat of closure and with its downed fleet of aircraft slowly crumbling away, this airline continues to survive through the loyalty and faith of its remaining
Sensitive to this poignant and transitional time, Ballon has spent six months recording the present day story of LAB. He has created a series of images, which evoke a sense of dignity, allowing us to share intimate moments with the people and personalities still on the airline’s fragile payroll. Together with the Bolivian born writer Amaru Villanueva Rance’s narrative, this is the first time that LAB has been so extensively portrayed in both words and images, and the first time that the story has been told.
The book’s title Ezekiel 36:36 refers to the name of the only plane LAB currently has in operation, renamed after it narrowly avoided a tragic accident. Ezekiel 36:36 has in many ways become a metaphor for the story of Bolivia and its people: Resigned to look back at past glory and grandeur which is at once half-imagined and half-remembered. There is a paradoxical sense of loss and optimism, which resonates throughout and as the narrative unfolds you can’t help but feel that Ballon’s presentation of LAB relates to us all in some way.
Ezekiel 36:36 includes a booklet which documents another side of LAB, showcasing archive imagery taken by staff during the heyday, coupled with dynamic graphic design and typography that was created in house using a technique called Rubylith.
You can purchase this book via the website they created especially for this purpose: www.labproject.co.uk
and at any good bookshop. The first edition (£35 excl. p+p) will be published in a print run of 500 including an airline ticket and as a special artist edition in a print run of 50 including a signed print.
Nick Ballon: IKEA Summer Campaign
Nick, who is usually known for his portraits packed with calm concentration and his landscapes of often mundane yet poignantly beautiful and amusingly dry observations, points his lens towards our back gardens for a change. Featuring Ikea’s new range of gardening furniture, to have full control over the shoot, the team at the London based agency decided to head to Cape Town for this production. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, except, the grumpy little gnomes who aren’t too happy about us having too good a time in our otherwise neglected gardens, with one even packing his bags to go find a quieter place. Hey ho…
Nick Ballon: Motion capture actor Andy Serkis
When Nick BALLON got the job to photograph Andy Serkis, it meant more to him than just a normal shoot. Because Andy plays Gollum, the tragic ring thief from one of his favourite books ‘Lord of the Rings’ in the films of the same name. But he is also King Kong. And Caesar from Rise of the Planet of Apes. You could say Andy is the ‘Robert de Niro’ of the world of motion capture actors.
And thus Andy chatted to him about the technological innovations and tricks around motion capture photography during the photo shoot. Even though he concedes that even the best digital technology is wasted on a poor actor. The actor’s movements, gestures and facial expressions give the digital character a soul and make the viewer empathise with him. Something the English Producer Jonathan Cavendish (Bridget Jones, Elisabeth: The Golden Age) can only agree on. He smirks when he admits that he cried during King Kong – much to the bewilderment of his kids.
Today he and Andy have another pet project: a production company called ‘Imaginarium’, which deals with the future of digital technology. Andy gushes animatedly: ‘we see this company as a kind of test laboratory that constantly tries to push the limits.’ Therefore facial expression experts are part of the team as well as animators who dream of new possibilities and software specialists who make the impossible possible. And in the middle of it all is Andy, who personally trains the actors.
And they have a new project in the pipeline already. They want to produce an adaptation of Orwell’s Animal Farm. All animal characters are going to be created with real actors and Andy Serkis will personally direct the film. Let’s hope Gollum doesn’t find out!
Nick Ballon: Horse close-ups for Audi's Polo Championship
Winston Churchill once said “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”. Horses have long captivated mankind and looking at Nick BALLON’s latest equine photo series it is easy to understand why.
Shot for the promotion of AUDI's annual POLO CHAMPIONSHIP, the article focuses on various things to look for when picking a winning horse. For instance, 16 inches is the perfect height for polo, and a strong muscular chest implies a healthy heart.
Keeping this in mind, Ballon set about photographing various parts of the equine body. Even though we cannot see his subject in its entirety, the horse’s features are so powerful that even close-ups are captivating. Ballon captures those unique regal qualities that horses posses – from their shimmering hides to the mysterious intelligence in their wild eyes.
Nick Ballon: Italian paper meets british photography
When Italian paper firm Fedrigoni tasked creative design agency YCN to come up with an attention-grabbing idea to showcase their high quality paper, YCN came back to them with a story. Being big fans of Nick Ballon’s serene style, they knew he was the perfect photographer to bring their little tale to life. Set inside a printing factory, the factory workers have been eagerly awaiting their new delivery of Fedrigoni’s paper, the hitherto missing ingredient in their working lives. Time to celebrate and get to work!
Ballon’s series tells this simple story with a great deal of humour: red paint escapes from a worker’s tube as he hears the news; balloons are inflated so the men can party; while their manager can’t wait to get a moment alone so she can wrap herself up in Fedrigoni’s perfect whiteness. The whole series has a weird, life-filled, surreal tone to it..
Nick Ballon: Following the footsteps of Vivienne Westwood, Jamie Oliver and David Nicholls
When 'Der Spiegel' magazine decided to do a special edition on Britain’s capital, the first photographer they called was our London-based Nick Ballon. British icons such as Vivienne Westwood, Jamie Oliver and David Nicholls were nominated to share their favourite places in London, which Nick documented using a large format camera. Acting as our local guide, Nick shows us bustling boroughs, architectural delights, an afternoon beer in a sunny park and, to top it all off, a late night movie at one of Britain's oldest cinemas.
Nick Ballon: Viva Las Luchadoras – female wrestlers portrait
Nick Ballon's 'Viva Las Luchadoras!' was recently exhibited at the Mother ad agency in London and offers an insight into the very popular world of Mexican wrestling, the Lucha Libre.
He travelled to Bolivia, where he traced its roots and photographed the spectacle, which has become an unlikely battleground for feminist hype, because many Bolivian women are now the stars of the ring and steal the thunder from their male colleagues.
Ballon's backstage pictures show the 'Cholitas' (as the female athletes are called) in their felt hats, colourful clothes and multi-layered skirts, intimidating and beautiful at the same time.
Nick Ballon: Elizabeth II - 60 years in the same job
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine commissioned NICK BALLON to photograph the '60 years in the same job' feature. His portrait series is a prime example of how much can be said in just one picture.
It's Ballon's eye for the little details, which make each and every picture so poignant: the confident smirk of Selfe, Glanville's tired eyes, after spending 60 years in the football ranks, Naish as he gazes at the light in front of his door, without a trace of regret and the tranquil, controlled demeanour of Sir Peter Hall, which made him one of the global theatre scene's most cherished artists.
The portraits are authentic, personal and inspiring – a perfect homage to the people portrayed within.
Nick Ballon: 'Design against the clock' - documentary at LONDON DESIGN WEEK
For London Design Week, Nick BALLON was commissioned by furniture company ESTABLISHED & SONS to document a series of live performances entitled ‘Design against the Clock’. Competing teams of designers were given exactly 8 hours to construct an installation at the Mayfair Gallery, and Ballon's photographs are every bit as exciting as the event itself.
Nick Ballon for Mother "tweet 140 characters over a week"
Mother has invited Nick Ballon to spend next week embedded in the agency’s Shoreditch office recording a week in the life of Mother.
As well a providing a snapshot of Mother at a particular moment, the aim of the week is to photograph 140 ‘characters’ at Mother – people, objects, interiors – and tweet these images to Mother’s 8,000-plus Twitter followers. At the same time, a Tumblr blog is being set up to host the photos, which will also be shown on Mother’s website.
Nick will be given an access-all-areas pass to the agency to give a glimpse of what Mother is like from cleaners to strategists, partners to delivery men and couriers to retouchers. Nick will be working with prop stylist Sarah Parker to produce a striking and sometimes surreal series behind the scenes of the agency.
Mark Waites, partner, Mother said: “Mother has always connected to artists and creators well beyond the advertising industry, so we’re super excited that Nick is going to be spending a week with us.
“It might be seen by some as an act of vanity, but people tend to photograph the things that they love and want to remember. That reflects how we feel about our colleagues and our workplace, and Nick’s images are sure to become a treasured part of the Mother archive.”
There are plans for images from the project to be shown at an exhibition later this year'
Nick Ballon backstage at Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap' for ADAC Magazine
Nick BALLON was commissioned by the German ADAC travel magazine to shoot an editorial behind the scenes of ‘The Mousetrap’ theatre production in London. It is the world’s longest running play and several traditions had to be overcome thanks to powers of persuasion, so that Nick was finally able to access backstage areas.
The Berlin and London-based photographer’s picture aesthetic is grounded in attention to detail, his focus and unique visual language are reflected in all his areas of photography, from documentary, editorial and commercial.
Nick Ballon for Time Out Magazine
Nick Ballon for Soyuz Chair
Just for those who missed a British designer's ebay auction of the Voyager Star Trek apartment, Nick Ballon shot a much better piece of furniture: The Soyuz chair - an armchair based on recreating the launching stages of the famous Russian space rocket. Sit back and prepare for launch .... countdown: 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... For earthlings who strongly believe in space travel and space tourism this is the one and only piece to have. (www.futurenews.at/archves/tag/soyuz).
Nick Ballon guardian weekend magazine cover
Nick Ballon for Shoo
Nick Ballon was commissioned for the Dutch footwear brand Shoo. The images were published in a beautiful, large-format mood book recently. The large-scale book certainly offers the perfect canvas for these conceptionally composed and obscured images. The viewer at first feels that he is stepping into a theatrical world of dance and performance before realising that the main character is nothing but a shoe.