Nina Duncan was born in New York but moved to England aged 4. That’s probably where her love of travel began – making trips back and forth visiting family and adventuring through Europe to holiday with her parents’ friends.
As an only child for 6 years she effortlessly garnered the attention of adults holding court dancing and reciting the words and songs of her first true love, Danny Zuko. A natural born entertainer, there are hours of 8mm footage of Nina posing for her Nonna’s camera.
That early obsession with Grease and John Travolta developed into a love for the 80’s Rat Pack and original Hollywood stars such as James Dean and Steve McQueen. Spending hours absorbing images in magazines and books; she started her (now large) collection in her teens. Nina still thinks there’s nothing better than sitting with a stack of these and letting hours fly by.
At the age of 14, she “borrowed” her step-dad’s camera, an Olympus OM-1, for a school art project and spent a wet afternoon wandering around an old church and graveyard with her friend’s dad, Mr Bolton, who was a “real” photographer. Needless to say, that camera never made it back into her step-dads hands, and her desire to perform in front of one was overshadowed by her newfound love of snapping her friends and family.
In 1994, during a year off before University Nina returned to NYC to study at the ICP and “become a photographer”. She interned and later worked at Art + Commerce, surrounded by the work of Annie Leibowitz, Steven Meisel, Mary Ellen Mark, Fabrizio Ferri and others, which set her benchmark for future aspirations.
After completing her BSc in Sociology at the LSE, where she was photo editor of “The Beaver” student newspaper, just so she could have 24-7 access to the darkroom, Nina took another year off to travel through South America. Making her way back to England she met an interiors stylist on a beach in Negril and during a rain storm they bonded over “How Stella was getting her Groove Back” – an afternoon which later led to her first full-time assisting job with an amazing mentor Russell Sadur. She has never looked back from there.
Nina went on to assist Miles Aldridge, Alexi Lubomirski, Dean Chalkely, Lachlan Bailey and many others. From 2004, her own work has been published in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Independent, ES Magazine, Grazia to name a few, in addition to working for a number of large commercial clients, commissioned to travel and shoot through Europe, the US, Australia and the Middle East.
Nina is a storyteller. From the people she knows to the places she travels, even most of her pieces of jewellery have a tale. As cliché as it sounds, telling a story through a picture or series of images is her favourite way to do so and her passion.
When she was younger Nina used to tell her Mum that all she wanted was to find people to pay her to travel and take pictures…
Nina is currently residing in NYC and enjoying watching that dream come to pass as she makes frequent visits to LA, London and wherever else she is called to go. Her love for creating beautiful images is as immense as it was when she first got her hands on that OM-1.