Nadir Khan is one of the most talented outdoor, adventure photographers I have come across. He is an inspiration to many photographer and videographers who yearn to be out shooting the great outdoors. Nadir has worked with some of the top outdoor brands and his work is consistently creative, bold and breath taking. We caught up with Nadir to find out a little more about the man behind the camera.
Nadir Khan :
I saw my first ‘mountain when I was around 4 years old, maybe a little younger, and my first thought was that I needed to stand on the top of it!
CO: Nadir, tell us a little about yourself, what is your background?
NK: I started in photography when I was a student at Glasgow University in the mid 80s. I used to sell my images as cibabchrome prints which I made in a small darkroom in my student flat. It made enough money to keep me in film and materials. My first photographic influence was the landscape work of Ansel Adams and I suppose I was largely a landscape photographer back then.
CO: You are well known for your adventure photography and video in exceptionally extreme conditions, what first attracted you to the mountains?
NK: I saw my first ‘mountain when I was around 4 years old, maybe a little younger, and my first thought was that I needed to stand on the top of it. Now the so called mountain was only a slag heap at a disused mine but to my infant eyes it looked like Kilimanjaro. So I guess it was in the blood or something and I was always drawn to wilderness and rugged places.
CO: How important is the creative aspect of what you do and how does that marry with the outdoors?
NK: There are so many photographers and film makers being drawn to work in the outdoors as it’s a natural progression to doing what you do as a hobby. But creativity is something that has both to be internal and something that can be learned . Sure its a craft and a craft, like anything can be learned but then there has to be that spark of originality or creativity or something special that sets your work apart from everything else. If you don’t have that then its going to be tough as there are so many good people out there.
CO: What gear would you normally take with you on an expedition?
NK: I’m a Canon user so my main body is a Canon 5D Mark iii, depending on situations and weight limits etc. but normally I’d be carrying a 17-40 f/4, a 70-200 f/4 and possibly a 8-15 fisheye. Then there would also be flash units, the elinchrom quadra on bigger shoots, or canon 580 EXii and pocket wizard triggers. All that goes in a F-Stop loka Ultra light pack.
CO: You take photos for some of the top outdoor brands, does turning the outdoors
into your work place change your level of enjoyment?
NK: It doesn’t change the level of enjoyment but I definitely climb less now than what I used to as often when I’m in the mountains I’m working, so its important to get time just with mates to go climbing or biking or whatever just for the sake of it. I love the work so it feels like I’m a very lucky man to be able to do what I do and get paid for something I love doing.
CO: Do you have a favourite location that you visit regularly, if so why?
NK: The Isle of Skye has to be my favourite place. For my images, a lot of the drama comes from the landscape and especially the sky . And in the NW Scotland you just have amazing light and conditions are changing all the time with the weather systems blowing through quickly. There’s nothing more boring than unbroken blue skies, that’s not the sort of conditions I want to work with. So I’m looking for a particular feel to the image and Scotland gives me the best chance of getting that feel . But Scotland has its challenges and you have to have a number of backup plans and of course the midges in the summer are a ball ache.
CO: Is there a mountain or location you have on your bucket list?
NK: The Himalayas are a place that I really want to work in and there’s the possibility of making a film there next year. It was supposed to be this year but the earthquake and the disruption to the infrastructure meant we had to postpone that project so watch this space! Another place I want to climb and shoot in is Colorado, there’s so much there that I really want to get there and experience it and make images and film.
CO: If you were giving any advice to those getting starting with capturing the outdoors
what would it be?
NK: It’s simple : Believe in what you do and find your own voice.
About Nadir Khan
Nadir Khan is a world renowned adventure and action photographer based in the UK. Nadir has worked with some of the top Outdoor brands on their extreme outdoor imagery. A talented photographer and videographer you can check out his work on his website Nadir Kan Photography & Media.