Hannah Nagle: a young photographer with the world at her feet


At nineteen we were just emerging, blinking, into the big bad world, still not entirely sure what we were going to do with our lives.

But 18 year old Hannah Nagle already has a bold photography portfolio, creative recognition from world-renowned publications and a stint with Mario Testino under her belt. Precocious much?

We’ve fallen head over heels for Nagle’s bold, multi-faceted images, at once surreal yet realist, graphic yet dreamy. Her glittery Gustav Klimt-inspired photographs of her younger sister have captured our imaginations, the dynamic swishing hair contrasting with the sprinkles of glitter painstakingly applied by hand to the image. Nagle employs a number of novel techniques to achieve the wide-ranging aesthetic styles of her images, from Photoshop to paint splodges her experimentation is endless.

We interviewed the ingénue to find out more about the rising star…

What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I take a lot of inspiration from art but I get quite a lot of ideas from just sitting on the tube as well. I try not to look at too much photography, especially fashion photography as you can end up copying a photographer without bringing anything new to it.

When did you first pick up a camera?

I started when I was 15, taking photos of my sister.

What’s your first memory of photography?

Looking through old family photos. We have really beautiful family photos and they’re some of the only images I don’t get bored of looking at.

How do you get the effect on your work?

A lot of it’s happened by accident through experimentation. Nothing’s ever really planned and I tend to just make it up as I go along (if you try too hard it doesn’t work). I love using Photoshop and also scratching or painting over photographic prints.

Where did you train and what would you say to wannabe-photographers out there?

I got help from my dad but I’m mainly self-taught. I’d say to use the internet as much as possible to get your work out there. You will be amazed at the people who see your work! Don’t be scared to be different and to trust your instincts. I’ve been given so much advice over the past 3 years but there’s some advice I’ve ignored because I thought they were wrong and I’ve trusted myself and I look back now and see I’ve made the right choices every time. So many people told me not to go to university but I decided to go and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.

Who is your ideal muse?

They’ve got to be comfortable in front of you and that’s something that takes time, you can’t force it. My first muse was my sister and obviously the connection was there from the start. My muse at the moment is designer Kharise Francis. She’s incredibly striking and isn’t intimidated by the camera. It works best when they’re so comfortable with you taking their picture that they forget you’re even there.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The only person you need to validate yourself as a photographer is yourself.

What would be your dream commission?

I’m working with the band ‘Evil Alien’ at the moment and I’m really enjoying it so it would be to work with an artist or musician that I love collaborating with them on artwork, posters etc. I’m interested in things like graphic design and typography as well so album covers are something that incorporate all these things without limiting me to just photography.

What’s next for Hannah Nagle?

Launching a clothing line, working with more musicians, collaborating with Kharise Francis on various projects and some how finding the time to complete a photography degree as well!