The quirky portraiture of Corey Nickols

The quirky portraiture of Corey Nickols

Corey Nickols has been published in Emmy Magazine, The Guardian, Los Angeles Magazine and Russian Glamour. In addition he has won the Bronze, One Eyeland Award from People for his portraiture. Corey claims to have the spirit animal of a soccer mom, pulling creativity from nostalgia and boyhood wonder. Corey is based in Los Angeles and lives with his wife Katie and his dog George Michael. We asked Corey to reveal some of his best photographs in this PROFOLIO.


Aaron Paul: I ended up getting maybe 5 minutes to photograph Aaron. What I loved about this shoot was his willingness to jump into such a random concept. I typically try to ease the subject into whatever I really want by shooting it last. But in this case, we had no time. When asked why I choose twinkies, my answer was, “I don’t know….it just feels so right!”

Cloris Leechman: I have been doing this “Me and My Emmy” series for every issue of Emmy Magazine for the past 6 years! I show up sight unseen to the subjects house and quickly shoot.  There have been amazing stories and wonderful shoots to have come out of the series. Cloris is a legend! I laugh when I think of this shoot because the first time we showed up, she was still in bed and wasn’t feeling good…so my assistant Paul and I ended up eating soup with her instead. We came back two weeks later and got this shot.


John Lithgow: Here is another “Me and My Emmy” series. I came to the shoot with two unannounced props for John to choose from. If you ask me, he chose right when he picked the bomb. With the bomb selected, I had to find a place in his house to shoot. I thought the kitchen would be the most ironic place to do it. Once we told John, he said, “Oh that’s great…I actually need to get dinner going anyways” and thus proceeded to cook while I took his picture. John later took my camera and took pictures of me claiming that he always photographs the photographer on all of his shoots at some point. Such a great guy.


Tim Conway: Here is yet another photo from the “Me and My Emmy” series. I still to this day have never been on a shoot like this. From the moment I got there to the moment I left, Tim didn’t stop cracking jokes and telling hilarious stories. I am so used to being the one to create an atmosphere on set that is enjoyable. But Tim had us all dying laughing the entire time. It was such a fun shoot!


JR Bourne: This shot was huge in understanding myself better creatively. JR hit me up wanting to do a fun shoot. I asked him if he had anywhere he wanted to shoot at. He said, “the beach!”  I actually HATE the beach. I know….it’s weird...maybe it’s the sand, salt, sun or some other “S” word…I just don’t like it.  So, I photographed THAT. I ended up fully projecting myself into the shot showing JR trying to fit in and enjoy the beach while maintaining an underlying sense of discomfort. I gotta say, JR’s willingness made the shoot just that much more special.


Moby: I always wanted to see Moby with Gnomes. It’s another one of those concepts where I can’t even begin to explain it. All I know is that I just wanted to see it. Thank God he was up for it….otherwise I would have been that weird photographer who brings gnomes with him on shoots.

Papa: This is my Grandpa. I photographed him a bunch when I was doing a personal series called, “Old People Doing Not So Old Things” where I would take old people to locations and try convincing them into doing crazy antics. What is funny about this photo is that my Grandpa thought I was a terrible photographer and was constantly showing me images of what “good photography” is. And yet...he kept posing for me after all of his brutal critiques. I think it was his way of saying he loved me.

Reggie Lee: Creating something from nothing is what I love the most. Reggie had invited me to his house to shoot some images. I didn’t have a plan other than to just improvise. This image represents a time in my life where I realized that I don’t have to have concepts going into a shoot. Exploring absurdity with my subjects almost always bring about some of my favorite shots from a shoot. But it’s always nice having a subject like Reggie who is up for exploring with you.

Tony Hale: Everything about this shot makes me so happy. The concept came together so well because Tony put his genius physical comedy into the idea. It was also from this shoot that I won my first photo contest ever. That was the cherry on top of what was easily my top 3 favorite shoots of all time.

William H. Macy: I think what I love about this photo is how much you can almost feel what William is thinking. I am so used to looking at everything through the eyes of quirkiness and energy. This photo is stripped of concepts and is based around emotion and nothing else. It was a great reminder that I don’t always have to bring props and ideas to a shoot. People are valuable and worth photographing simply on their own.

Check out Corey's ,website and his Instagram.