Nick Ballon: Looking for traces of formerly glamorous South American airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano. Book and exhibition in London
Nick BALLON spent six months in Bolivia for his latest book project. Here he photographed and documented the last two remaining airplanes – including the eponymous Ezekiel 36:36 – from the formerly glamorous South American airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB).
Founded in 1925, this is not only one of the oldest airlines, but also played an important part in the history of its country. The privatisation in 1994 marked their downfall, which is pervaded by corruption and mismanagement.
Ballon says: ‘the story of LAB is in many ways the story of the Bolivian people, caught between past glory and grandeur, and a promised future that never seems to arrive. It is the story of an airline waiting for a miracle…. On the second trip, there was fresh news of a $30m investment from Russia, so there was excitement about the possibility of flying by Christmas. I couldn’t help but get caught up in their yearning to fly again.’
The Ezekiel 36:36 book also contains archive material from the airline company as well as Nick’s photographs of the machines and last remaining staff. You can see the images from the book in London until 31 August as part of an exhibition (KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB).
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 (£25) 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 CR October Issue
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.