Babes & Gents

Nick Wons: Profile + Interview

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Nick Wons: Profile

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Full name

Nicholas Alexander Wons, but my mom only calls me that when I’m in trouble. Most people just call me Nick or Wons, I say you can call me whatever you want just as long as you call me and spell my name right on the cheques.

Age

According to documentation, 34.5. On a typical day I feel like I’m maybe 25, just with more responsibility.

Place of Birth? (city, country)

Toronto. West Toronto. Junction, representin.

Where you live now? (city, country)

Same area, not far from where I grew up.

Origins (where parents are from)? (city, country)

Mom was born in Northern Quebec, Dad was born and raised in the Junction, and my grandparents emigrated from Ukraine to Canada after WW2.

First Language?

English.

What do you do? (Profession/Occupation)

Freelance photographer.

How long have you been doing it?

Part time for 7 yrs, full time for almost a year now.

Fav Song

That’s super hard for me to do. I listen to such a wide variety of music that my ‘fave song’ depends on what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what’s going on around me and in my life. If I had to choose one track I’ve had bumping a fair amount recently it’s Wayne Marshall’s “On The Corner” tune. I heard it on the bar’s radio while hanging out in Negril recently, and the lyrics in this track mixed with the Red Stripe and the ocean breeze really stuck with me, “It’s all about choice”.

Fav Musician/Vocal artist/Rapper/Singer

Once again, really tough.

Reggae and Dancehall: Garnett Silk and David Rodigan.
Metal: Pantera, Slayer.

Hip Hop: Scroobius Pip, Foreign Beggars, Alkaholiks.

 

There’s more, many more…

Fav Movie

I prefer documentaries over movies, and those would be “Watermark”, “Manufactured Landscapes” and “McCullin”.

Fav Actor/Actress

 

Fav Clothing brand

Kitanica, Vice X Virtue, Eckhart Soul, Seventh Letter

Fav Artist (in any art form)

Ed Burtynsky (Canadian Photographer)
Mike Miller (LA Hip Hop Photographer)

Fav Sport to watch

Curling. (Legit, got hooked during the Olympics)

Fav Sport to play

...play sports? I don’t play sports…unless sleeping is a sport. Even then I don’t play much.

 

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Nick Wons: Interview

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The first words that comes to your mind when you hear Inspiration, Passion, and Strength

My parents, especially my father. They’ve been through a lot, they supported our family of 4 kids, and they’ve overcome many obstacles and came out on top.

Who are you? (Answer how you interpret this question)

I’m a photographer blessed with many friends in many places. I’m somebody who if I don’t have the answer I find the answer, and if I can’t do something for you I have somebody who can. I believe your network is your net worth, so it’s important to keep a solid circle of connections. I’m like a human Rolodex.

Why do you do what you do?

Because somebody’s got to do it. I just do what I do because it’s what feels right to me, I love making people feel, I create an anchor in time that people can always go back to and relive their experiences, it’s pretty powerful stuff if used correctly.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do, and what events led you to choose it?

I had already been shooting as a hobby for a couple years, however the moment for me was when I was at a 7-Eleven and cracked open an issue of Urban Male Magazine (UMM) off the newsstand and there was an entire page of my nightlife photos printed in it. The feeling of seeing my images in print in a magazine was like no other. I shot a few more issues for them and it snowballed from there in regards to clients I was working for, I knew I was on the right path and the sequence of events after that first publication solidified it. Before all of that photography was a hobby, building a career in it wasn’t something I had ever considered.

Toughest thing you had to overcome to do what you do? And what/who helped you?

Anxiety. I always had some to some extent, even though I did a great job at hiding it. Sometimes just getting out of the house was tough, however there’s only so many cute photos you can take of your cat until you get cabin fever and need to get out. So that’s when I would force myself to get out, repeat the process a few times, come out with some really awesome shots, next thing you know I’m singing that animated Christmas show song with the elves “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking across the floor, Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door!”. That was a really creepy Christmas special, but the song stuck with me.

Has anyone/anything ever inspired you to become who you are (to follow your dreams)? Have you ever inspired anyone directly?

I gain inspiration in all those around me who push to be the best version of themselves they can be. Creative hustlers especially motivate me. Whether you’re pushing (not spamming, big difference ;) ) your clothing line, your paintings, your photos, or your latest mixtape that’s so hot it’s causing house fires, I’m into it.

 

People who are passionate are the greatest motivation to me, and successful creatives who have to hustle their craft I think have to work even harder because although the internet has made it easier to get your work out it’s also made things more difficult because you have so much more ‘noise’ to cut through to be seen and discovered. So if you’re out there doing your thing and getting payback for all the dues you paid I respect your hustle.

As for inspiring people, I’ve been honored and humbled time and time again by both friends and total strangers from around the world who tell me my work inspires them to pick up a camera and start shooting, to look at the world in a different way and even to follow their passions and dreams. Once somebody overseas who I’d never met messaged me and explained that my work has inspired them to go to school for photography, they went, and last I saw he was travelling the world and shooting beautiful images. That’s incredibly powerful. To hear things like that from people inspires me because it validates that I’m on the path I’m on for a reason, I’m answering my calling.

One mistake that you made in your journey? How have you learnt from them?

Verbal agreements. They are not contracts. I got bit once and never again. If you are a freelancer, get a proper contract for your work, make sure it outlines your payment policy and other terms. There are exceptions when you can work without one but do so at your own judgement and risk, however if I had a dollar for every time I heard of a peer getting shafted in whatever freelance field it is I would end up with a lot more money than they ever saw from those gigs. And also in regards to legalities, release forms. You can get apps these days on your phone that people can digitally sign. Do it!

Upcoming projects? Plans/goal? (about anything, if you have any)

Lots in the works! Just had a shoot with Lucy Lovesick which got picked up by Suicide Girls, so going to push out a few more shoots for them going with that whole “Strike while the iron is hot” frame of mind I have. I’m also working on one book with a friend and possibly another with another friend, all I can say is that one is about Detroit. Road trip with two Toronto photographers I really respect in 2016 and a few other things up my sleeve. Just launched a series of prints for sale on my website called “The 6ix Series” of some of my photos and photo manipulations. I’ve harnessed the powers of ADHD to get and keep a few projects going at all times to keep me busy, so far so good. *knock on wood*

Eventually I want to live a life where I only see snow and -40C weather if I decide to, I want to travel a lot and make up for the travelling I didn’t do when I was younger.

What advice would you give to other people? (Just about life in general - It could be about anything)

“If you “wait until you’re ready” you’ll never do it because you’ll never truly believe you are ready. Just go for it. If it works out then perfect, if it doesn’t at least you didn’t wait for nothing.”

Those were words spoken to me by a media person for TIFF years ago when she had asked me why I hadn’t gone freelance full time yet and was still holding on to my corporate job. Looking back, she was totally right.

Say anything you want, about anything (Last words)

Shout out to my family, my mentors, and my awesome crew of friends.

 

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Links

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Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram