BIONIC PEOPLE: NICK TREHARNE
Bionic People: Nick Treharne
For over two decades professional photographer Nick Treharne has been capturing and creating images of people and locations. His extensive body of work is underpinned by a quietly inquisitive nature that allows Nick to see and capture images that have a subtle and endearing depth. Based near Cardiff, Nick travels across South Wales on his motorbike to find the people and locations that feature extensively in his work. In each case, and in his own words, Nick is always mindful to “Make it interesting, not ordinary".
Nick’s work ranges from sparse atmospherically minimal images to riotous explosions of colour.
This allows him the freedom to create images that truly reflect the full spectrum of the rich tapestry of life. A highly respected photographer, Nick is regularly commissioned to undertake portraiture and commercial assignments for high profile commercial and individual clients.
But enough of our words, who better to describe himself than Nick, and so in his own words:
“I’m a freelance photographer with a background in press photography. One thing I say about being a photographer, “it beats working for a living”. I had a previous career tapping figures into a calculator and pushing paper about. I gave that up in 1989 so consider myself to have been born at that time - so that makes me twenty eight years old, or that’s what I like to think anyway.”
We hope you enjoy reading Nick’s interview and viewing a small selection of his images. Enjoy viewing Nick’s work and please also be respectful of copyright that applies to all of his images, and that prior permission is required for any reuse of these images.
What drew you to your passion/interest?
I think I always had an interest in visual images whether it was art or photography. When I was a teenager my brother had a Zenith camera with a standard lens on it. I remember borrowing that and taking a few pictures which in all honesty were probably not very good. Then, when in college, I bought my first SLR camera, a Chinon CE4 with a Penatax lens. I’d experiment a little and shoot scenes that I found appealing. It was very much a hobby though and I had no idea that it was possible to make a living out of taking pictures.
Was there a particular moment in your life that you ‘discovered’ or fell in love with your
I’d graduated with a degree in Quantity Surveying and after a few years counting bricks in South Wales I moved to London to work there. I found accommodation in a house near Ealing in West London, sharing with two sisters, both of whom were creative. One, Fiona, was a staff photographer with the Press Association (PA) in London working out of their office in Fleet Street. Each morning I’d head off to work wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase with not very much of interest in it while Fiona would head out with a bag of cameras, lenses and flashguns. I’d sit behind a desk all day measuring stuff off architect’s drawings while she’d be out photographing the day’s action. I knew then what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t quantity surveying. I was going to be a press photographer.
What is the most interesting moment in your life?
I have interesting moments all the time because I like to meet people and talk with them. A few moments spent with someone you’ve not met before can be very rewarding and can sometimes result in a little gem of conversation. For instance, I was on the promenade at Aberavon in the summer and struck up a conversation with an elderly man whom I thought would make an interesting picture. Somehow we got talking about dancing and he said,
“She fell in love with my feet……………my wife did”. Brilliant. His name is David Williams. He is 91 years old and still goes dancing every Tuesday afternoon.
What do you think makes a person interesting?
An interesting person is a person who has interests and passions, someone who has a story to tell, however humble that story might be; someone from whom I can learn even the smallest thing. It’s one reason why I like to meet people from different countries since, if nothing else, they can teach me a word of their language.
Who are some of the people that fascinate you?
Whether you are a “personality” or not doesn’t interest me. It’s how good you are as a person that counts. If there is one person who has left a lasting impression on me, though, it is the late Isaac Guillory. Isaac was the most amazing singer/songwriter and accomplished guitarist. I was lucky enough to have seen him a couple of times but never really had a conversation with him. He has been a huge influence in my musical life.
If you could meet anyone (past or present) who would it be and why?
Sometimes we get asked “if you could have anybody to dinner, who would it be”? Many people might say Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe or perhaps Elvis. Good choices all but my choice would be anybody that worked in Cardiff or Swansea docks (I’m originally from Swansea) when they were at their busiest. I would love to have seen the industry that would have revolved around one of our ports in its heyday. The sheer number of people employed in so many different jobs earning a living and being part of their own, flourishing community - I think I could talk to someone about that for hours.
What is the most interesting possession you own?
I call it the coolest thing I own and I’m proud to have it. It’s a paperback book titled “Pegasus Bridge”. It tells the true story of the very first action on D day when British glider borne troops flew into action in the dead of night to secure a bridge prior to the beach landings. In support of them were British paratroopers whose job, once dropped behind enemy lines, was to make their way to the bridge and hold it until the main invasion force arrived. One of those paratroopers I have been priviliged to meet. His name is Ernie Stringer and in my copy of the book he has written these words….
“Best wishes Nick from Ernie Stringer, Pte (Private) The Parachute Regiment, wounded on the assault at Pegasus Bridge, 6th June, 1944”
I think that takes some beating.
If you could make one change to your life to make it more interesting, what would it
I’d have liked to have met my former housemate, Fiona, ten years earlier and perhaps then I might have worked as a press photographer through the 1980’s rather than begin in the early 1990’s.
Which brand do you find most interesting, and why is that?
Apart from being a photographer I also play guitar and so there has always been a choice between the two big brands…..Gibson and Fender. I’m a Fender guy. The sound of a Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster being played in a pub takes me straight back to my teenage years and watching “The Trembling Knees” playing on a Monday night in The Coach House, Swansea. Aside from that, the design of those guitars is just amazing. Even if you don’t play I think everyone should have a Telecaster just to look at.
Care to share something interesting you’ve never shared before?
Well some people say I’m a man of few words but I don’t have much to say about that.
What is your all-time favourite piece of art, design or fashion?
It has to be the Fender Telecaster. So much incredible music has been written, performed and recorded on those two pieces of wood just bolted together. It’s simply beautiful.
Below is a small selection of Nick's photography. To view more of Nick's work please visit his website.
Thank you, Nick!