The photographer and graphic designer talks about his urge to keep moving and see the world and how sometimes, after leaving everything behind, high hopes and lots of ambition are the only things left
Born in German, educated in Vienna and now based in New York, Nick Kapros is one those tireless travellers who never call a place their home for too long. Always accompanied by his cameras he captures his immediate surrounding with an incredible eye for small details and striking beauty whether it is the emptiness he experienced on his walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain or his life, love and friends in New York.
Dazed Digital: Do you remember the first picture you have ever taken?
Nick Kapros: I was four or five years old and my parents and I were on holiday in Greece. They wanted to visit this archaeological excavation site that I didn't care about. So they left me with the owner of a nearby café, with a bottle of coca-cola and a point-and-shoot camera. The only thing that seemed interesting to me were two old ladies with enormous hair sitting next to me. And that was the first picture I took: Two old ladies and a table with a bottle of coke. When my mother put the photo in an album I had her write "The two old spinster" underneath.
DD: You travelled to and lived in very different countries. How did the people you meet and the places you visited influence your work/ your style?
Nick Kapros: They always opened my eyes to new things that I was blind to see before. They showed me their cities and told me stories I’ll never forget. Travelling has become such an important part of my life. I like the idea of settling down someday, but I know I’ll always feel the urge to keep moving and see the world. Nothing else will teach you more about yourself than exploring this planet.
DD: How do you choose your subjects? What interests you in taking pictures of your friends?
Nick Kapros: I try to capture the beauty I find in the most ordinary situations. The beauty of life. The beauty of loss. Of finding someone you connect to. I'd say I'm rather searching for the perfect moment. I know perfection is rare. But that's a good thing. That way I'll never stop looking for it. Every time I release the shutter I collect a moment, a thought, a feeling. It's something very personal for me. An almost selfish habit. My friends are around me all the time, so is my camera.
DD: What inspires your work?
Nick Kapros: I know it’s a lame answer, but there’s probably nothing that isn’t inspiring to me. Of course there are the big names of photography, art or literature that have always influenced me with their work, their ideas and thoughts. But walking on a busy street in Calcutta has the same effect. What is there not to love about the constant noise of honking autorikshas and shouting chai wallahs and cows plowing through the crowd in slow motion. You can’t imagine how much I miss that right now.
DD: Do you prefer analog photography or digital? What equipment do you use?
Nick Kapros: Analog. There is nothing like the slowness of shooting with a Hasselblad. You have to take your time, frame the picture and ponder if you really want to take that photo. I have a couple of cameras and there’s always one by my side. My Yashica T3 is usually my constant companion. The backup is an Olympus AF-1. My favorite camera is my Hasselblad 500C/M. And then there is the Nikon D700, fast and efficient.
DD: How do you come up with the names of your work series? You named you New York series insight and realization. What did you realize after coming to New York?
Nick Kapros: When I write the descriptions of the projects the titles just follow naturally. I love writing. A palm reader in Jaipur told me I’d write a successful book someday. And I want to believe him. The full title of the New York series is “A Sobering Insight. An Exciting Realization”. It has to do with the fact that I basically left everything behind when I came to New York. I started a new life with basically nothing, just my high hopes and lots of ambition. Possessions are like a safety net that defines you. When you strip down and leave everything behind, you are forced to deal with yourself. You start from scratch. That is the exciting realization I was taking about.
DD: What are your plans for the future? Any future projects?
Nick Kapros: One project I am working on right now is NKSW, a collaboration with Samantha West, a great friend and amazing photographer. We already worked together on a couple of projects, one of the most recent ones was shooting the press pics for CANT. It’s Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor’s solo project. It was great working together with him.
Text by Alexandra Bondi de Antoni