‘I am very passionate about people’: After Nyne Meets…Photographer Nathan Browning

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After Nyne’s Laura Andrew speaks to photographer Nathan Browning about his current exhibition, ‘Ronnie Wood – The Rolling Stones’ at the The Exhibitionist Hotel, in South Kensington.

I was lucky enough to be given an artist’s tour of’Ronnie Wood – The Rolling Stones’ at The Exhibitionist Hotel.

As a space, The Exhibitionist is quite something – part hotel, part cutting edge art gallery. You can find Browning’s pictures in the bar, which adds to relaxed quality of Browning’s work with Ronnie Wood. You can see Ronnie posing with an iron, grinning on his birthday and getting ready for a show backstage, all while drinking coffee on a sofa. Not your everyday gallery experience.

Nathan Browning is a pretty down to Earth guy.
‘He’s just a mate,’ he responded when I asked what it was like to work with Rolling Stone and general rock legend, Ronnie Wood.

Look out for his one off, multimedia pieces, also on show at The Exhibitionist. Black and white photographs of Wood are superimposed with Browning’s own words, blurring the division between language and image; adding a touch of the inimitable to a medium with inherent reproducibilty.

So how did you and Ronnie meet? 
I met Ronnie on the Kings Road in Chelsea in the summer of 2010. I was driving my convertible car at the time and randomly ended up giving him a lift home! He posed for me outside his house and I printed the pictures and dropped them through his letter box a week later with my business card. To my surprise, I received a phone call and a friendship, both personal and business started. The rest I guess is history.

What inspired this project?
I had many photographs of Ronnie that I had taken in the 3 years of knowing him. These pictures were just kept on my hard drive doing nothing as the projects we had set out to do didn’t materialize. Adam from Alexander PR contacted me and asked if I wanted to exhibit them at the Exhibitionist Hotel and after some consideration, I felt it was the right time to do it along with some of my art work which is photography with spontaneous prose included in the picture.

You’ve covered a diverse range of subjects in your career as a photographer and artist- carers and children in institutions in Azerbaijan, drug users in Peterborough, a Rolling Stone. Do you find a connecting thread between these projects? 
I guess the connecting thread would be that they are all very personal and show an intimate side to the subjects. I am very passionate about people and what make people “tick”. I think this has been developed from many years trying to find out who I am and my purpose in life, so this attracts me to the kind of subjects I have shot and my technique and preparation.

Your work with Ronnie Wood has such a personal and relaxed feel. Was it as spontaneous as it seems? 
It was very spontaneous. The shoot was for me to capture Ronnie whilst painting at home. As it was a new house for Ronnie, he said that he wanted to show me around, I picked up my camera as I knew that the shoot would start. It was very spontaneous and off-the-cuff.

Being one of the Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood is no stranger to the paparazzi. What did it mean to work with someone who is so often photographed? 
It was a huge delight seeing and getting to know someone that is so much in the public eye and seeing a side of Ronnie that most people don’t get to see. This in itself, along with his talent and charisma was very inspiring in my development of my career.

What do you want visitors to takeaway from the exhibition?
I guess I want the viewers to see that someone like Ronnie is very human and no different to the rest of us. He is very humble and kind, funny and full of life. I feel that these pictures show this side of him.

What advice would to give a budding photographer? 
To never give in, take rejection with a pinch of salt and to never be afraid to ask someone if you can take their picture. Also be considerate and know your boundaries.

Any future plans you want to fill us in on?  
Currently we are looking for a brand partner in order to take the exhibition elsewhere and to possibly take it on an international tour. I would also like to exhibit my crack-den pictures as I have had amazing feedback from the people I have shown them to. I would also like to exhibit more of my artwork as this is very personal to me and it gives me much fulfillment whilst creating the pieces. Like Ronnie, it’s a therapy!

‘Ronnie Wood – The Rolling Stones’ at the The Exhibitionist Hotel until August 9th.

Crown Royal Whisky sponsor the ‘London Seen’ exhibition at The Exhibitionist Hotel.
Crown Royal Whisky sponsor the ‘London Seen’ exhibition at The Exhibitionist Hotel.