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'America' By Pottsy

As so many antipodeans, Nicolas Potts left his hometown of Sydney at age 20 for an overseas adventure. He never expected he’d be working beside some of the world’s top photographers, starting his own photo-editing business and seeing the opening of his first solo exhibition, America, in New York. Speaking to me from Thailand where he is currently visiting his father, also a photographer, Potts was ecstatic about the opportunity to exhibit his work and contribute his perspective on contemporary and iconoclastic American culture.

Potts has been living in New York for 9 years, but his first role out of Australia was as a photo retoucher in London for renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino. Working with Testino was an incredible learning experience, however Potts was not a fan of the culture or the climate in London. After a year of soaking up Testino’s wisdom, Potts found work in New York with Milk Studios photographer Greg Kadel. He was lucky to emerge from university with a degree in Digital Media and training in photo-retouching at a time when these skills were less common. “There are a lot more talented photo-retouchers now, which is great for me,” Potts says.

Great for him as he recently opened his own photo-retouching company, Can’t Touch This. The company, which mostly focuses on fashion and editorial, is now moving into video and motion retouching. “We’ve done campaigns for Esprit, Guess, Reebok, Hugo Boss and so on. It’s exciting to be moving in another direction.” Potts has a great team around him, including his sister as Studio Manager. Potts also has a creative outlet outside of his creative outlet. A musician for many years, Potts’ band TamaRama got signed to Motown Records and became his full time gig for a year. It was while on tour of the US with TamaRama that Potts found inspiration for the photo collection America.

The collection includes 15 images Potts has chosen from his travels across the country, the buildings and landscapes he identifies as uniquely American. “For example, there’s a picture of Sun Studios in Tennessee where The Beatles recorded, which speaks to me as a musician and a foreigner.” Potts finds inspiration in the work of his father and uncle Tony and David Potts, landscape photographer Max Dupain, Vivian Meyer (the posthumously discovered nanny photographer of the 60s) and the color and feel of Helmut Newton’s pictures. The exhibition is showing currently at Two Hands Café. “I love the idea that people will be living their lives, eating and drinking around my work,” Potts says.

An equal love for shooting and retouching is what drives Potts, who is currently developing the concept for his next photo collection but has no intention to turn his back on either. “Retouching is about developing the image and taking it further. I really enjoy color-grading, making sure the look and feel of the image is perfect,” he says, “Conversely, I don’t do a lot of retouching on my own photos, I like things to look the way they did through my eyes.” This first exhibition, America, is a true reflection of his personal style as a photographer, a traveler with a camera permanently slung over his shoulder, eyes peeled for the perfect shot.

Nicolas Potts’ work are available for purchase [here]( http://nicolaspotts.com)

Ruby Brunton is a New York-based writer and poet. You can find her on [twitter]( https://twitter.com/RubyBrunton)

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