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Outside of being an amazing photographer Lee Nutter of Sydney, Australio is a kind guy. Kind enough to sit down and answer some questions for me over the internet. He also shared some photos.

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How did you get your start?
I have some photogenic friends 🙂

Who are your biggest influences?
It’s hard to say. Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Ornette Coleman, Mark Rothko, David Choe, Prabuddha Dasgupta, Saul Leiter, Robert Aitken, Christopher Ryan. Close friends who listen to my ramblings or inspire me with their own life and work.

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You can take three things to a desert island that aren’t your phone. What do you choose?
My laptop, a camera, and my kindle. Is that cheating? OK, a box of cigars, a decent whisky, and some strong coffee. Oh wait, could my girl be considered a thing? Maybe her, a chessboard, and a Henry Miller novel.

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How do you find inspiration or is it something that has to come naturally?
I’ve usually got more ideas than time. I work slowly, maybe that’s why. By the time I get around to the next thing on my list, the previous one has spawned fifty others. They’re not necessarily any good, or directly related to anything else I’m working on, but I’d pay more for time than I would for inspiration any day.

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How do you approach someone you want to work with?
I’m looking for a collaborator, not someone who is just looking for the next rung on the ladder, and as I said I work slowly and don’t need to shoot twenty times a week, so I’m fairly selective. It’s happening more and more that people are approaching me, which is something of a relief. I’ve always hated selling myself.

Biggie or Tupac?
Tupac I guess, but I prefer east cost stuff as a rule, Mobb Deep, Nas, Premo, Pete Rock and what not. Or at least eastish, like Dilla was from Detroit right? And Apollo Brown is there now. But then we’ve got Slug/Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Eyedea & Abilities in Minnesota, and that’s pretty much right in the middle. But then when I think about it I loved Snoop, Dre, Ice Cube, and N.W.A. growing up, and then of course there’s Richie Rich! Themselves are west coast guys too now that I think about it. Wait, am I over thinking this?

What was your first tape or CD?
Haha, interestingly my first CD was Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. I can’t recall my first tape, I had so many. I had the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sound track on tape. Damn that was a fine album! I gotta find a digital copy of that.

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Kevin Bacon or Patrick Swayze?
That’s basically Point Break and Ghost vs Friday the 13th and Wild Things… I really liked Donnie Darko, but then Apollo 13 was great too. I’m not sure there’s a winner here.

How has photography influenced your world view?
Apparently Dorothea Lange called the camera an instrument that teaches people to see without one. I’d say that photography has definitely helped me appreciate subtleties I would never have noticed previously, even when I have left my camera at home. My current vendetta against social media censorship was certainly fueled by the trouble my friends and I have simply trying to share with our friends what we spend all day working on. I guess I also look at art differently now too. It doesn’t matter if it’s writing or painting or sculpture or music or dance. No matter what the discipline, there’s an appreciation there that I don’t think existed in the same way prior to my diving into photography. I’m sure this is true of anyone who has ever seriously involved themselves in an expressive endeavour.

What’s your favorite documentary?
Hmmm. Simon Schama’s Power of Art series was fantastic. The Power of Nightmares, or The Century of the Self, both by Adam Curtis. Glass – A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts was FANTASTIC. The Jazz series by Ken Burns. If I had to pick one, probably a 2012 documentary called Leviathan. That is a documentary unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

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What do you think was the biggest turning point in your career?
I’m not sure what I have/have had could be considered a career, but if it is, then probably just deciding to prioritise photography over my other interests. I’m insatiably curious, and OCD obsessive about whatever whatever my current interest is. Geeky stuff like web design and coding. Nerdy stuff like reading and chess. Boy stuff like cars and rock climbing. Writing, painting, and playing around with music production. And on, and on. I decided a few years ago that I needed to choose photography over these other things, at least most of the time, if I wanted to get anywhere. For the most part and where I can afford to I maintain these other interests, but outside of reading and writing they’ve become peripheral. This has given me more time to spend shooting and working with my photographs.

Puppy dogs or kitty cats?
I’m up at 4:30am because of the yappy ratdog next door. Give me (or my neighbours) a kitty cat any day.

What’s coming up next for you?
I can’t stand the heat, so I pretty much just hibernate during the stifling swelter that is the Sydney summer. When the heat haze eases up and I’m afforded some head space I’ll take stock and figure that out haha.

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You can see more of Lee’s work here.

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