We caught up with photographer Josh Nice about his latest project Parisian Documentation, a 48 page black-and-white visual diary of his journeys throughout the French capital.
Hey josh, what made you decide to create a zine specifically on one city?
I love organisation and fitting things together. I had the idea to make a zine dedicated to Paris sometime mid 2016 due to the body of work I built whilst shooting there. I went to Paris in March, April and October. I was shooting every single day and built quite an archive. The main reason though is that I find Paris fascinating, I cant describe it in words but it just has a certain unique 'feel' to it you know?
What's your favourite thing about Paris?
I think my favourite thing about Paris is walking. Endlessly walking around the city even with no destination in mind, it's just super eye-opening and somewhat relaxing, especially when your with someone you love. You'll always see something new and exciting wherever you walk, all areas of the city are beautiful and the city is crazy different throughout the seasons. My favourite time of the year to be in Paris was October. It was the peak of autumn, the city was just so beautiful, the colour of the leaves and the super early sunsets, it's often surreal. There was one evening where me and Sadie [Josh's girlfriend] walked all day, the sun was about to set and we were at the bottom of Trocadero (I'm no longer a tourist) and the colours of the sky were insane. Pinks, purples, oranges and blues it was mad, we watched everything fly by for two hours, amongst the most annoying tourists and those bait group of dudes who sell those shit Eiffel tower things for 1 euro. That's my favourite memory in Paris to date.
"People wont be stoked on your work unless it has hype or a big following behind it. I don't care though, It pisses me off a lot but I take photos for me, I have my workflow and I'll carry on doing what I do, not to impress anyone but just to make me happy."
Your work is often inspired by skate culture; did it inspire this project too?
Not at all, this was a completely different approach, I feel like I cant categorise my work into one specific thing. Like If someone asks me what kind of photos I take or what kind of photography I do its super hard to answer -- I cant think of a name for it. I can't say I take photos of skaters because I take photos of other things too, street photography and landscapes etc. Then I cant just say I’m a street photographer because I take photos of skaters too if you get me? My work is super personal and I feel like my photos explain themselves. I take photos of whatever situation I find myself in which Is what makes them so personal I think. So for example, for this project although I was skating when I was in Paris I found myself walking for hours discovering new things, So I just snap photos of whatever catches my eye or crosses my path. None of my photos are ever set-up or faked. What you see is a moment I decided to capture and freeze in a second
Would you create something similar based on a different city?
Hmmm — I'd consider doing something like this for a city like Bordeaux. I love Bordeaux, I have a lot of friends there and its got amazing energy. I have a big archive of photos from the city but I think if I were to do a project like this for Bodreaux I'd make it a whole lot bigger. Maybe a book, although I'd need to spend some more time there even to feel like I'm a local. It's an incredible city and for some ridiculous reason no one seems to know where it is. It definitely doesn't get enough attention, it should. The skate scene out there is absolutely incredible as well as the creative scene. I've also thought that about to creating a tangible project similar to this about my hometown and my close friends. I never take photos around the area where I'm from because I think it's boring and uninteresting because its where I spend the most time. I do have some images, I'd like to put something together revolving around my close friends who I grew up with, spending endless days skating everyday and driving around Essex in my younger teenage years, back when nothing mattered and I wasn't aware of what was going on in the world.
"I'd like to put something together revolving around my close friends... back when nothing mattered and I wasn't aware of what was going on in the world."
It's difficult starting out as a young photographer and/or publisher. To you what are the biggest challenges?
Yeah it's super hard, the two biggest challenges are money and getting your name out there. You can put so much money, time and effort into something and majority of the time get nothing out of it. Especially in the UK, the amount of connections and friends I have made in other countries has been insane but the UK is completely different, Majority of people wont be stoked on your work unless it has hype or a big following behind it. I don't care though, It pisses me off a lot but I take photos for me, I have my workflow and I'll carry on doing what I do not to impress anyone but just to make me happy and if anything comes from it then sick, but a lot of people in the UK, Londoners especially, do stuff because they want to follow the crowd or they strive for fame etc. V LAME [sic].
Do you have a favourite image?
Yeah I do, My favourite Image from the zine is the photo of the two dogs wrapped up in the blankets with a food and water bowl. They belonged to a homeless person but he wasn't with them, I don't think I saw him but the dogs were intriguing. They looked calm and somewhat comfortable, I guess they are taken care of; a lot of homeless people have dogs just so they can't get arrested. There's also a sign at the foot of the blanket but its in French, my French is whack so I don't know what it says. I approached the dogs as close as I could to get a good photo. It was the only photo I shot of those dogs, Usually when I see something in the street I shoot it like 3 times so I can choose, but I got it in one. Thee dog on the left is also looking straight up at me, which is why it's my favourite. I can’t really explain the photo; you gotta let it explain itself.
Do you have any other upcoming projects?
Nothing confirmed. Although I’m making a lot of darkroom prints, perhaps I will make something of that, we'll see what happens. Project Upcoming is already making big movements; It's now a small-scale zine publishing company which is sick!