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my creative life

Red-crested Korhaans, camera art and absurd headlines: AMV's Nick & Nadja's creative muses

It's not every creative couple that understand each other personally and professionally, but AMV BBDO's CCOs understand the power of thinking as one

By Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley

The two of us are creative magpies. We’re constantly collecting shiny inspirational objects from everywhere and anywhere, gathering them all up, admiring them, and thinking of ways they could connect to something else.

We try and dip into all spaces and corners of culture, always hunting for new inspiration, always trying to see how culture is shifting and changing.

South Africa

But some sources of inspiration are permanent. We both grew up in South Africa, and we were lucky enough that our childhoods included trips to South Africa’s great Game Reserves like the Kruger National Park. They are places we return to as often as we can. Firstly, they are vast and eternal and force you to forget day to day issues. It’s a beautiful reset. Also, in the game reserves you see so many diverse ways that life is lived – great matriarchal herds of elephants, highly complex termite colonies that function almost as a single being, the solitary predators – it forces you out of your own patterns of thinking. In the bushveld you can see your own humanity: the male red-crested Korhaans indulge in extremely reckless contests, dive-bombing the earth, seeing how close to the earth they can plummet before pulling up, in an effort to attract a mate. And you can feel unfathomable alienation from other living creatures: watch a prehistoric crocodile slither off a sand bank and slip beneath the water. It is just profound inspiration for the truth and beauty of life.

The eye of a DOP

Secondly, although the names may change, we love following DOP’s like Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love), Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant) and the newer wave of Kanamé Onoyama, Bradford Young, Rina Yang, Andrew Droz Palermo and Monika Lenczewska. What the eye sees is how we tell stories. How we hold the camera, where we point it, the light, the shade, all add up to the emotions we are trying to convey. They carve emotions with light, location, movement and colour. They sculpt our feelings and find the nuances in them. They are the translators of words on a page into purely emotional expression. It is the joy of our craft and the critical difference. We love seeing who is elevating the art, doing new things, and doing the timeless things perfectly.

Silly but succinct sources

And thirdly we just love sites like The Reductress and before that The Onion. Writers who can take the noise and chaos of life all around us and turn it into a single, hilarious headline. And with their absurdity make sense of what life is like in the moment. We all grapple with being relevant in culture but none of us want to just hold up a mirror. We all want to be creative and not just literal. And we all have pressure of time and budgets. Sites like The Reductress show we can be lateral, absurd, creative, funny and cut through with just a single headline. It’s daily inspiration.


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