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Interview with Leah Nash and Christopher Onstott

– Please introduce yourself

Nashco is made up of Leah Nash (The Nash) and Christopher Onstott (The CO) and we are an award-winning photography & motion duo. We specialize in narrative portraiture and lifestyle imagery. We call our style ‘crafted reality,’ and basically it means….we make real people look cool.

Both originally photojournalists, we take a moment-driven approach, capturing authentic imagery whether in life, at work, or on set. The result is graphic, storytelling photography that is full of color, light and intimacy. Not averse to dancing (Leah), telling bad jokes (Chris) or listening intently (both), our goal is to leave our subjects a little bit better than we found them.  All the while creating a wealth of images that look and feel spontaneous.

Clients include Apple, Chase Bank, Marriott, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Mother Jones.

Awards Include Critical Mass Top 50, American Photography Selected Winner, PDN Photo Annual, NPPA Pictures of the Year, Pictures of the Year International.

– How did you get interested in photography?

Leah started in high school, learning how to roll tri-x and spending hours in the darkroom and then was the editor of the yearbook.  She still has her first camera, a Canon AE1. When Chris was little he would p;ay with his father’s cameras and image the pictures he would make. When he got older very unique was to interact one a lit o d doorad acess to people.

– Do you have an artistic/photographic background?

Leah has a Master’s degree in Photojournalism and Christopher went to school for visual rhetoric (yes you can major in that).

– Which artist/photographer inspired your art?

Inspired by Edward Hopper, the narratives in Population Isolation appear as if stills for a movie or tableaux in a play. Yet, though crafted, our work is informed by our photojournalistic roots and is documentary at its core. Each image is a retelling of a person’s story inspired by how they were feeling, how life had changed and what they were doing to cope (or not cope) during the COVID lockdown. To the viewer it is as if you have happened upon a scene, a series of uneasy moments marked by a vague feeling that something is not quite right.

In general we are inspired by lots of different folks: Gregory Crewdson, Eugene Richards, Lauren Greenfield.  It is also so wonderful to see new work and look at things like Critical Mass.

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– How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?

Every image is different, some take a few days of prep, some just a second.  For this project we did a call out to friends and family, then emailed them with a list of questions, went and scouted the locations.  The actual shooting was maybe an hour to 90 minutes, with each image having at least one or two lights with colored gels to give it that cinematic feel. Then doing the post can take a few hours per image as well.

– Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?

We use a Fuji, medium format digital camera for our portrait work and Profoto lights. We use colored gels and balance artificial light with the ambient to create our look.

– What do you do in your life besides photography?

Traveling, dancing, working out, personal finance, teaching, Leah is on the National Board for American Society of Media Photographers (https://www.asmp.org/) and is a Mentor (http://www.hollamentors.org/)
The best days are when we learn something new or do something that scares us.

– What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?

I think for us the real trick is finding a work-play balance, because we both have tendencies to be “go, go, go!” We’d like to see more international travel in our future, combined with more meaningful personal projects and perhaps some workshop leading — and, of course, world domination.

We have a list of personal projects a mile long.  The one we are working on now is geared toward encouraging people to use their voice and vote!

I think part of our success is due to our drive for progress. We’re always brainstorming new ideas, dissecting what we could have done better and figuring out what comes next. Our lives are constantly moving forward because we love what we do and we always want to be doing it better.

Website: www.NashCOPhoto.com


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