The craft of image creation with W&N Studios

Warren Du Preez and Nick Thorton Jones are London-based image makers, artists and film makers who've worked with Bjork, Alexander McQueen and Iris Van Herpen.

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Known for their surreal approach to photography, visual artists Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones tell stories with light. In over 18 years of working together, the duo have worked with superstars including Bjork, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake and Massive Attack. 

In the early days of their collaboration, Du Preez and Thornton Jones were part of a photographic renaissance, where everything in the craft was changing and many traditional aspects of image making shifted. Their work was wildly experimental, and they admit that they didn’t always know what they were doing – but they kept at it, and their style continued to evolve. A key aspect of their work is their prolific creative collaborations. Du Preez had a revelation in 1997, while shooting a film in Cape Town. 

“I came up with this concept that the ego was at fault with everything and collaboration was the way forward and 18 years later I am still doing it,” says Du Preez.

The work of W&N Studio is clearly deeply fascinated by popular culture and with a willingness to experiment with light sources. Throughout the years, their work was always been revolutionary. In the early days they would hire technicians to build them huge light installations and the resulting images were all shot on camera in the pre-digital age. 

Most recently, Du Preez and Thornton Jones have worked with Bjork on her virtual reality music videos, which are currently on show at Somerset House, London.  

Towards the end of their conference talk,  Du Preez and Thornton Jones were joined on stage by long time collaborator James Lavelle, an artist, curator and music producer (under the name UNKLE). James Lavelle played at the 2016 Design Indaba official afterparty. 

Watch the Interview with Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones