“It’s people that interest me most. There is something so vivid in human survival. People’s faces display such emotional texture. And there’s beauty in these functional and undisguised lives. I try to capture the contradiction of happiness and pride within lives of deprivation and simplicity.” – Nick Compton
Growing up in a culturally diverse country like South Africa left an indelible mark on Compton. In all of his portraits you see an appreciation for the various communities that exist around the world, but are so often sidelined or turned into The Other. In Compton’s lens this isn’t an outsider looking in, but rather a photographer wanting to be part of a bigger story. You see harsh reality, alongside enduring joy. What’s more is that Compton’s subjects are all at ease, and in this, there is a truth. The portraits capture an essence of hope, of life, of disappointment that truly allows the person in each portrait to be seen.
“When I look through my lens, I so often feel their lives; their hardship, simplicity, warmth and culture. It’s raw, sometimes crude, uncomplicated, often proud and so appealing. Their eyes, their homes, dress, expressions and behaviour are stark, untainted. I respond to the unaffected.” – Nick Compton