This week we’re getting creative by interviewing Faculty photographer and designer Nick Ogden. Find out how he got into photography and why it’s crucial for the Faculty of Life Sciences.
Briefly explain your role here in the Faculty.
My role here in the faculty is as the photographer and designer. I am based here in the photographic unit and we’re responsible for the visual output for most of the Faculty research work. It includes photos, papers and thesis but also producing scientific posters. I am also responsible for designing a lot of the faculty’s literature such as fliers, brochures and leaflets.
How does your role benefit the general public?
My role benefits the general public in helping to bring the science within the faculty to them in a visual aspect – both in imagery and photography but also in design. So we produce brochures and leaflets and literature which helps to promote the science that actually takes place here. It makes what we do here understandable and interpretable by the general public.
How did you first become interested in photography?
I first got interested in both photography and design when doing GCSEs in high school. I had an art teacher who was very very supportive and encouraged me to go down a creative route. We had dark rooms where we used to do ‘wet’ photography. I always had an interest in and spent a long time developing photos that I had taken on black and white film.
When I finished my a-levels, these experiences led me to getting a job here at the University as a dark room technician. Day in and day out I was just developing films. As the wet photography and more traditional photography ended and we became digital, the photography changed and we moved down a much more creative route which allowed me to do a degree in graphic design. This helped me move into that side of the photographics.
Do you have any heroes? Who inspired you?
I haven’t got any particular heroes in photography, but the two people who really inspired me were related to me. I never met one of them and only met the other when I was very young. One of them was my grandfather and the other was my godfather and they were both very keen photographers. One was a wedding photographer and my grandad also did it as part of his job. This is going back into the traditional photography era. These people always gave me a kind of spark and desire to follow in their footsteps a little bit. I’m guessing that’s where the interest came from – it’s passed down. I really just fell in love with it once I got started with it.
How has working in Manchester helped you?
The University has been very supportive in my role. I started here after leaving college with A-levels and I wanted to go work rather than go to University. I wanted to get out into the ‘real world’ and the University had a very supportive trainee scheme. They gave me day release which allowed me to go to Manchester Met to study for a degree in graphic design and after 3 years of that – I completed it back in 2005. It has benefited the University and the Faculty in that I have been able to bring the skills that I’ve learnt and put them, I hope, to good use in the Faculty.
What do you do outside of work?
Outside of work, I have a keen interest in sport – more watching than participating. Up until recently I was a photographer down at an ice hockey club based in Manchester – I photographed the action on game nights which went on the websites and programmes. I recently became a new dad so a lot of my time is now taken up looking after my little girl. It has a had a major impact on my social life, but it’s all for the better and other than that, I’m out taking pictures and doing some gardening.