Photography has taken Nick Waplington into different worlds, from raves and runway fashion to working- class estates. Here he shares lessons from his creative journey.

Photography has taken Nick Waplington into different worlds, from raves and runway fashion to working- class estates. Here he shares lessons from his creative journey.

“I’ve never defined myself as a photographer. I make art,” explains Nick Waplington, who became the first artist to feature photographic work at Tate Britain’s main space.

Waplington’s career has been full of giant leaps forward: the success of his fanzine Playing with Fire saw him interviewing Nick Cave in a Victoria pub aged just 13; and massive sidesteps: he swapped Israeli settler communities in the West Bank for the world of high fashion to shoot Alexander’s McQueen’s final 2009 show, Horn of Plenty, which became Working Process at Tate Britain.

But Waplington has also taken steps in the wrong direction: documenting rave culture for his book, Safety in Numbers he embraced the drugs that powered the scene through the late ‘80s into the early ‘90s. “I wish I hadn’t done that,” Waplington reflects. “It was a waste of my time really. But I was lucky enough to realise that and stop and give it up before it got to me. I realised I was much happier being able to have a pint of lager and watch the football.”

In this short film, Huck caught up with Waplington at his studio in Hackney Wick to discover the lessons from his creative journey. Read the full story in Huck’s Fiftieth Special Issue.