Nige' Ollis

Photographer and Writer


Photographic History

I’ve had an interest in photography since buying my first Nikon SLR in my mid-teens. For many years, in my [fairly minimal] spare time I carved out a niche that involved taking images of friends and family; being occasionally distracted by things like autumn and the broader landscape; and producing holiday photos that people could generally sit though without falling asleep. So far, so wholly unremarkable.

All this changed when a series of life events conspired to find me studying photography full-time at the highly respected [Magnum took interns for a number of years] Foundation Photography at Filton College, Bristol in 1993/94. And, as someone who hadn’t even taken a B&W image before, to suddenly be faced with developing, processing and printing my own images, it felt a little like rediscovering the wheel. As part of the course, that summer I went to London and witnessed renowned street photographer Elliott Erwitt’s extraordinarily inspiring retrospective. Everything changed. I began taking images of people.

After leaving college I installed a darkroom at home, spent a few years as a freelance photographer and, for the most part, largely began to loathe the compromises that came from turning a much loved hobby into work. The fallout was such that for almost a decade – from the late 90’s to the late 00’s – I barely took an image in anger, my darkroom began to attract dust measurable in layers, and I started referring to my photography almost entirely in the past tense.

However, all that changed with my conversion to the digital medium – buoyed by the enthusiasm from having one of my images being in Tate Modern and Tate Britain in the summer/autumn of 2008. I returned to the streets and began producing images that entirely eclipsed my earlier work; the intervening decade and its allied maturity seemingly providing the catalyst for new ways of seeing the world around me; the passion and enthusiasm for the medium came flooding back.

During the past decade my growing body of work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and I’ve continued to expand my vision to revisit the landscape, too. [Exhibitions/Press]


After leaving school at 16 I carved out a career as a Construction Project Surveyor [and committed amateur sportsman], until the recession of the early 90’s coincided with some debilitating, yet enlightening, chronic health issues, which caused a rethink and resulted in the aforementioned year-long full-time study on Filton College’s Foundation Photography course. Following a number of years of sporadic freelance photography work, another series of accidental life events led to me teaching English as an Additional Language part-time to high school students at Patchway Community School, Bristol – where I eventually became based in Room 4 with the school’s counsellor and also began supporting the vulnerable students, too; a wonderfully rewarding accident of circumstance.

All of which brings me to the prevailing leap of faith: following a couple of seemingly fated coincidences, after more than a decade of teaching/mentoring, I resigned from my school post in January 2018 to commit myself to become a therapist by studying on The Optimum Health Clinic’s Conscious Psychology practitioner training programme. At this time of life, and utilising all the various life experience I’ve developed along the way, it’s very much that leap of faith combined with a committed passion to become a therapist and help others on their own journeys. It’s also quite scary, especially financially, and later in the Spring of 2018 I’ll be launching a Go Fund Me to help support my studies and on into the foothills of my new, and final, career path – offering my photography as rewards. Watch this space …



4 Responses to “About”

    • Nige' Ollis

      Thank you kindly, Mark. [I learned that phrase from the ever polite Constable Benton Fraser. : )] And I’ll endeavour so to do.


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