Luke Norman and Nik Adam first met while studying photography at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham back in 2007. Under the guidance of a tutor, the pair began collaborating and producing work together on the course. Now, ten years later, they continue to do so under the moniker Luke & Nik, resulting in a portfolio full of colour and vitality.
As a duo, Luke and Nik stand out for their distinctive aesthetic, one that utilises analogue editing and manipulation within fashion editorial photography, commercial and personal work. Process heavy, it’s not a technique many would have the patience for but the result is imagery that visualises the pair’s idiosyncratic creative vision.
They achieve this look by using myriad techniques and physical processes including double exposures, as well as expression and positing, “but we like the idea of not being pigeonholed by one specific technique,” they tell us. Practically, their work requires forward thinking, lining up models in specific positions, using lots of colour and ensuring compositions are simple enough to reproduce. “The technique has a very unique and decisive outcome, so making sure you work with the right client or person is key,” the pair explains. Recently, Luke and Nik were able to employ the techniques on projects for D’Scene, The Fader and Season Zine.
What makes the duo’s work so compelling is its transparency in terms of expression. With such techniques, there’s nowhere to hide and so Luke and Nik’s ideas are laid bare. When it comes to the inspiration for their imagery, however, it’s more mundane than you’d expect. Like most, film, music and books are undeniable references but it’s travelling that gives them the most inspiration, even if it’s just walking around the park behind Nik’s house. “Recently we have decided to look at what we have around us and find for inspiration closer to home,” they remark. “This space to think and reflect can become harder and harder to set aside time for, but being alone with your thoughts in a peaceful setting stimulates creativity unlike anything else.”
Last year, the duo worked a series for Metal Magazine, working with models with physical disabilities, one they cite as particularly significant for them. “The main reason we work within fashion isn’t for a love of the fashion itself, but rather the power fashion has to reflect society, and contribute positive changes. More than ever, we are making a conscious effort now to think about who and what we are photographing.”
As well as working on commercial work, however, Luke and Nik dedicate a portion of their time to personal projects, producing a short run of publications to sell on their website. A recent example of this is Grey, which the pair began after reading about Nasa’s release of the entire archive of photographs from the 1969 moon landing, in an effort to end conspiracy theorists for good. “This made us want to take our own journey to outer space, which we then created work around, in our studio in London,” they recall. “As with most personal work, the series has served as a release from our commercial practice. Which is funny, as our personal work often feeds into our commercial practice, as we explore new ideas and processes.”
This cyclical method of working is clear when flicking through their portfolio as images align which each other, despite coming from a different project. “Hopefully,” the duo concludes, “any given shot or collection of images will have a kind of identifiable, ‘Luke & Nik’ feel.” We can confirm they do.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.