Filmmaker Nikki Powell’s Instagram account is a slow breath of fresh air. In this interview, she talks about analog images, distant lands, and dreamy shades of blue
I’m a trained video editor, but I’ve also branched out into other areas of production and post-production – for example, I love color grading and directing short films and videos. And I take photos, mainly with analog cameras, which I sometimes have the opportunity to exhibit or publish.
I started working and training to be an editor at one of the big post-production houses in London before relocating to Berlin, learning German, and starting my studies in montage at Film University Babelsberg. I worked on a huge range of different projects across all kinds of different areas in video and film throughout my studies, and after. Plus I also started taking analog photos, which lead me to where I am now – somewhere at the intersection of video, photography, art, and fashion I guess. At the moment I’m based in Munich, but plan to be in Berlin much more often to work on exciting things.
The concept around my Instagram account? Last year I decided only to post analog photos that I’ve taken. I like the idea of slowing Instagram down, not posting things as soon as they happen, but maybe months or even years later. It really confuses people sometimes too; I’ll often get asked why I’m always on holiday, which is quite funny, but also makes me worry how much people believe Instagram really shows us “reality.”
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Please describe your style in three words?
Clean. Well-Accessorized. Fun.
What’s your first fashion memory?
I always loved making bags when I was a child – I would literally make them out of anything, including some really “special” paper creations. Sadly, they didn’t survive very long…
Your ideal breakfast?
In the late morning: long, full of conversation with someone who is very dear to me, a huge pot of coffee, and, if possible, on a terrace in the sun.
The song that makes you dance?
Little Man (Exemen Works) by Sia. I spent a lot of my teenage years listening to UK garage, and I still love this music so much.
Is there a book you’ve re-read many times?
A book I’m re-reading now is The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. It’s an incredibly personal account of a relationship and dissects the ideas of family, queerness, and motherhood in our age. Amazing.
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I didn’t really have one specific hero, but I was totally obsessed with Michael Jackson when I was a kid.
What piece(s) of jewelry you wear every single day?
I wear quite a lot of jewelry every single day – that’s always fun at the dentist when it all has to be taken off for the X-ray. In my left ear are five gold hoops; in my right ear, four. I have three gold necklaces which I always wear; one with a small, square pendant, one with my name written in Arabic (I learned Arabic as a child), and one with a small, round blue stone pendant that I bought from a tiny jewelry stall in Athens last year. They all have a meaning and I love always having them on me.
What designer do you expect big things from?
I’m a huge fan of Grace Wales Bonner. Her menswear collections for Wales Bonner are beautiful, but also the imagery she creates around them. The last film she made together with Harley Weir, Practice, was absolutely stunning.
What designer you would love to wear head to toe when you are a granny?
When I’m a granny I hope to be living on a Greek island in the sun. I think head to toe Dries Van Noten would be a very lovely wardrobe for this, and totally different from how I dress now.
Any hue of blue.
Vans, Chucks, Air Max 1s, or Adilettes.
What’s your dream car?
A white 1965 Ford Thunderbird Convertible – definitely inspired by Lula and Sailor in Wild at Heart.
A dog. I don’t mind what kind as long as it’s not a Chihuahua. Or in a bag.
Top three on your wishlist?
Health, happiness, and love.
Most inspiring movie?
This is such a difficult question. There are so many movies that have inspired me for various reasons at different times in my life. Harmony Korine’s Gummo inspired me a lot, aesthetically but especially thinking about different ways of storytelling. Maya Deren’s avant-garde film At Land was also a revelation when I saw it for the first time. And Chris Marker’s films La Jetée and Sans Soleil are incredible, basically filmic photo essays that made me think about “montage” and editing in totally new ways.
Chloe Sevigny. I don’t need to say anything more.
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Greece – Athens, the islands, Thessaloniki, wherever. The country is just magnificent and so varied, I could always go back.
The best restaurant I’ve been to recently is Kin Dee in Berlin. The chef, Dalad, is such an inspiring person; the modern Thai food that she creates there is a whole other level of delicious. And the restaurant itself looks beautiful.
SHRN (So Hot Right Now) in Munich :) Apart from that, I love vintage shopping, especially in smaller stores or at flea markets wherever I happen to be, and then mixing things I find there with more modern, basic pieces. Voo Store in Berlin is another favorite.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope in ten years I’m still doing what I love: making videos and pictures that somehow bring something beautiful into the world. If I can be doing that with inspiring people in different places around the globe, I’ll be more than happy.
What’s the last (cultural) discovery that blew your mind?
My best friend took me to the last performance of Skalar; a large-scale audio visual installation by Christopher Bauder and Kangding Ray at Kraftwerk in Berlin. The experience in this space was incredible. We sat on the floor underneath the choreographed light sculpture and were literally enveloped by the sound and light. I didn’t want it to stop.
Top three magazines (online or off)?
Marfa Journal, Apartamento, and Purple. (I do still love print).