Nick Bianco: Photographer + Videographer
Lonely Artist Club had the pleasure of meeting with photographer and videographer Nick Bianco to discuss his craft and his creative passions. Let’s jump in…
First and foremost, we would love to talk to you about your art. What mediums do you work with and how did you come to find them?
Filmmaking has always been my number one passion, but it really depends on how I’m feeling at the time. Right now, it’s been photography and videography at both hardcore and punk shows.
I love it and am equally terrified by it, it’s an absolutely amazing feeling. There’s a palpable energy in those settings that you really can’t find anywhere else. There’s this dichotomy of raw aggression and adrenaline, yet so much love and respect for each other at the same time. You’re all crammed into a tiny space that has this “fuck you, this is who I am” mentality and everyone is experiencing each other's catharsis in real time.
With social media and just the general state of the world there’s so much pressure to be refined-edited versions of ourselves now. It’s not healthy to carry that weight of worrying if you’re “normal” or “good” enough to exist. When I’m shooting these shows, I try my best to capture that raw energy and express the importance and beauty of a shared human experience in real time.
"When I’m shooting shows, I try my best to capture that raw energy and express the importance and beauty of a shared human experience in real time."
Your work sounds pretty ‘hard-core’ (yes, that was a terrible attempt at a pun). We want to hear more about it, but first can you tell us a bit about who you are outside of your creative work?
I love this question and how it’s worded, but it’s a difficult one. To be honest, I don’t really have a grasp on who I am outside of my creative field. I feel like that’s one of the beautiful things about art, it helps you learn about yourself on a deeper level.
As far as my background goes, I came from a creative household. Both my parents worked in the music industry in Nashville. My mom worked at Warner Chappell Music and my dad worked as a touring pianist for a bunch of country bands. While I don’t consider music to be my main creative outlet, I still play a couple instruments and make music from time to time.
I developed a passion for film at an early age. In fact, I remember only being interested in making movies; I never wanted to be an astronaut or fireman like most kids my age. That love for film eventually allowed me to get my hands on a camera, at which point I realized that I could accomplish the aspects I loved most about film through still photography. Making movies is a really difficult feat. It requires a lot of money and people, which were two things I didn’t have much access to as a kid.
In terms of current hobbies, I really enjoy hanging out with friends, going to concerts (bonus points if I can bring my camera to shoot it), and riding my bike. All of which are connected to my creative nature.
Almost every artist, at one point or another, experiences a creative block, right? Would you mind sharing your personal experience with managing and overcoming creative blocks or ruts?
Oh most definitely. I feel like everybody has experienced some sort of mental block to an extent, whether they’re creative or not. My experience with creative blocks stems from this feeling like I don’t know or have anything to say as an artist. My creative process has always been a tool for how I see the world around me, but I need to be at peace with myself and whatever my current situation is for that tool to work. For me, a block really starts whenever I get overwhelmed with my day to day responsibilities of work, worrying about money, chores, etc.
In terms of climbing out of the creative block, it’s one of those things where you have to force yourself out of your comfort zone, and experience something new. Whenever I’m feeling the block, my go-to option is taking my bike to a place I’ve never been before. It’s a simple act, but equally as effective.
"I don’t really have a grasp on who I am outside of my creative field. I feel like that’s one of the beautiful things about art, it helps you learn about yourself on a deeper level."
Creative blocks are challenging to overcome. Is there another aspect of your work as a photographer and videographer that is equally, if not more, difficult to manage?
The hardest part has to be the conception of creating a piece. We all have imaginations and can probably think of a story, but the difficult part is figuring out what you want to say: why is my story important enough to share? I’ve had so many script ideas that are left as bullets in my notes app. So far, there’s been two, maybe three, script ideas that have stuck. Even then, I’ve been working on those for a couple years now.
My approach with concert photography and videography is a bit different. What happens at the shows is out of my control. I’m simply there to document what happens. The more challenging aspect of this comes after the show when I begin my editing process. That’s where I start to figure out what I want to say with both the individual images and collection of photos.
This next question is a bit more vulnerable. Do you have any fears surrounding your art?
Totally! That fear mostly comes from worrying about how my piece is going to be perceived. Creating art is a really vulnerable thing to do. You’re putting a piece of yourself into each piece, and praying that you’re good enough to execute it in a way that will be good enough to be understood by complete strangers. Of course art should be made for the sake of the artist, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care if one of my pieces didn’t land with someone. There’s a reason why I make the things I make. It’s in the hopes that my work will stick with someone out there like me and make them feel seen, heard, or understood.
"You're putting yourself into each piece and praying that you're good enough to execute it in a way that will be good enough..."
Speaking of feeling seen, heard, and understood… What are your thoughts on social media and its effects on art and artists? Is there any part of social media that you wish you could change?
Social media is certainly good for art and creativity in certain situations. It gives artists a platform to share their work and develop an audience they wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Not to mention all the inspiration you can get from looking at other artists in your field.
With that being said, there’s a huge downside to social media as well. It reaches everyone across the world, so you’re bound to get some negative feedback if your work reaches the wrong people. For me, it’s very easy to have that inspiration from other artists turn into comparing myself to them, that may be more of a personal thing though. At the end of the day, social media is a place where you post the best version of yourself. Whether that’s a selfie, or a piece of work that you’re proud of. And that’s great! We should be able to feel good about ourselves, even if it’s through the positive reception from others. What’s important is that you don’t get wrapped up in the analytics of it all. I struggle with that on a daily basis. If you post something that you just busted your ass on and it’s not performing well, it’s easy to start thinking that maybe…it’s not that good.
"If you post something that you just busted your ass on and it’s not performing well, it’s easy to start thinking that maybe…it’s not that good. "
Have you ever created something by accident that you ended up loving?
I went to see the bioluminescence tides around the time that COVID was getting scary and no one was leaving their house. There ended up being a lot of people on the beach, especially given the circumstances. It was crazy dark that night, so I had my camera on a tripod and cranked the shutter speed down to like 30 seconds or a minute. Right as I took the photo, this mother and daughter walked straight into the frame. The mom just stood there, while her daughter ran around on the sand. By some miracle, both of their heads seemed to align with two separate waves, one of them being a bioluminescent wave. I don’t really feel like I can take full credit for this picture, it just kind of happened. But those always seem to be the best photos.
If people were interested in learning more about your artistic medium, whose work would you recommend they look at and research?
I really love Atiba Jefferson’s photography, that man is the absolute GOAT (greatest of all time). He’s been in the photo game long enough to develop a trademark aesthetic where you can look at one of his photos without knowing it’s him, and think “Atiba shot that." Not to mention he’s one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. You’d think someone with his portfolio would have at least a little bit of an ego, but not this dude.
We just have one last question for you... What advice would you give to other artists out there?
I love the idea of it taking 10,000 hours to master a craft, so whatever your “thing” is, go out there and do it as much as you can. We’ve got access to so many mediums where you can express yourself, there’s no excuses anymore. If you’re just starting out, you may not be great at your craft, and that’s totally fine. In fact, it's normal. If you feel that driving force to make something, just keep doing it! Over time, you’ll see improvements and begin to see the world through the filter of whatever your creative outlet is.
That’s exactly where I started. My entire life has been dedicated to telling stories and ingesting others’ stories. I remember shooting little videos with my friends as a kid, which ultimately catapulted me to where I am now. I haven’t completed those 10,000 hours, but I’m working on them every day.
"I love the idea of it taking 10,000 hours to master a craft, so whatever your “thing” is, go out there and do it as much as you can. "
Thanks again Nick for sharing your work, your story, and your thoughts on the current digital landscape. It was truly a pleasure meeting with you.
If you want to learn more about Nick Bianco, check out his socials: