Nick Phipps' New Zine is a Tribute to Los Angeles
Nick Phipps is a skilled photo-taker that doesn’t consider himself a photographer.
You’ll learn more about that later. Despite Nick’s protests, we’ve always known him to be a talented photographer.
His images have graced the pages of our magazines for a few years now and we’re stoked to see that they’re now gracing the pages of his. Yes, Nick made a zine. It’s called ‘Six days 12 hours’.
In it, Nick explores Los Angeles for a few days, pointing his lens at the obscure, intriguing and derelict. Nick’s always had an eye for geometry and lighting. While his style is subtle, the images have a way of moving your eyes to the finer details. Go figure.
We got in touch with Nick to talk about taking photos, the zine and introducing aliens to the strange city of Los Angeles.
So Nick, tell me about this zine you made.
Basically it's called 'six days 12 hours' because earlier this year I spent six days in Los Angeles, and the flight took 12 hours to get there from New Zealand. The zine its self is a photographic journal that captured what I witnessed through my eyes, and shot through one and a half rolls of film.
Ah ha. To the point. And you went to Los Angeles to take photos?
You asked. I don't muck around. Nah, I went with my Mum and my brother.
Great use of time. So what did you make of L.A?
I think it's an amazing place, I felt like I was in a movie or I had seen or read about everything before. Six days definitely wasn't long enough, a day either side to travel plus a day at Disneyland cut it down a little.
Yeah I think a 'movie' is on the money. I had two days in LA earlier this year and the whole experience felt surreal. There were people yelling everywhere and all this poverty, sometimes it felt like a zombie apocalypse film, and then you would be seeing all this extreme wealth.
You're just looking at all these streets, buildings, surroundings that we've been watching in movies all our lives. Going from Venice Beach to downtown Hollywood, to Santa Monica, you definitely see the very diverse wealth and culture that sits over Los Angeles.
It's a hustle. And Venice Beach?
Venice Beach was my favourite, my good friend Jodie was born and lives there so it was nice to muck around with someone who's from there. I absolutely loved it. But the beach and boardwalk is a zoo, people everywhere, yelling, hustling, selling, passed out, drinking. Cops everywhere.
Venice Beach is a bit like going to the zoo - drag queens strutting, homeless guys walking round with piss soaked pants, skaters, surfers, drug dealers, buskers, people trying to sell you all sorts of shit. If aliens landed on earth Venice Beach is the first place they should be taken to to explain the human race.
It's K-Road on steroids smoked through a cloth soaked in chloroform. If aliens landed on Venice Beach, they would probably cry, and then start their spaceship back up and fly right out of here. But for myself, it was heaven. I'm drawn to chaos.
Of course you are, you're a photographer. So was there a certain something you were trying to capture in LA or were you just riding the ride and photographing as you went?
I'm definitely not a photographer, I just carry my camera fucking everywhere. I guess we went to so many places around LA I didn't really focus down on one subject. I guess I just like to shoot random things that other people might not notice. Shadows, cars, shapes. Walking around the Pier and Venice Beach at sunset is a dream. Sorry for swearing.
You can swear! But that's what a good photographer would say, "I'm not a photographer, I just like taking photos". You're in it for the art of picture-taking, not trying to get followers or other dumb internet things. Those people don't make zines.
Obviously I would love for it to be my job, it's an absolute dream I've had for a long time. But I don't want it to turn into a chore. When I pick up my camera it's how I clear my mind and slip into a bubble.
Spoken like an artist. Anyway, so what's your favourite photo from the zine?
I'm going to throw a fat spanner in the works here and give you two, because asking for a favourite of anything is bloody near impossible in my mind.
Artistically, the man playing the saxophone. It was a beautiful evening as the sun set over the Santa Monica pier. Is music echoed down, and then back up the pier as tourists viewed and locals hustled in between the sound. And the guy with the headphones on the ground, he was just funny. Tried to say he knew Scribe and P-Money.
Oh yes. That's some classic LA scenes. So, the zine? Where can people buy it? You said the first run is all sold out.
Yeah I made 40, thinking it was way to many. And I've sold 37 as of now. So I'm very overwhelmed and stoked with it! I'm going to get another small run printed, which people can grab by flicking myself a message on instagram, I even hand deliver in Auckland. And then my good friend Helen runs an amazing vintage shop in Auckland called Waves Vintage, and I'm going to have a couple for sale in her shop. Which is rad.
Fine work Nick Phipps. See you soon.