Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity. Fascinated by the setting of a Chinese takeaway, photographer Nicky Hamilton recreated it in his studio. A true-to-life reproduction, to discover in his series Take me away.

Based in London, photographer Nicky Hamilton specialises in fine art and cinematic set builds. While he trained to be a designer, the artist fell in love with photography during a trip to Sydney. “I purchased my first “grown up camera”, he tells us. “A year later, I left my agency to become a photographer. This was 10 years ago”.

One evening, as he was driving home late from a photoshoot, Nicky Hamilton came across a small Chinese takeaway. “The owner was sitting behind the counter, watching the television and waiting for business. This visually and emotionally struck me: the act of waiting and how we choose to use that time”, Nicky Hamilton adds.

Built from scratch

Though the place inspired the photographer, the small space was not fit for a photoshoot. “I wanted the ability to shoot on a longer lens, have a more cinematic lighting approach”, the author of Take me away explains. He then decided to build a replica of this restaurant in his studio. A creation that would enable him to shoot from every angle.

After four weeks of production, the takeaway was built. Illuminated by coloured neon lights, the restaurant became something else, evoking a film set, and inviting fiction. But who would be the protagonist? “Once everything was ready, I approached the owner, keen on having him star in my project, Nicky Hamilton says. “After a shocked sharing of photos, he surprisingly offered to lend all the shop’s original paintings and props… And better still, he agreed to star in the series!” Built from scratch, the Take me away project presents a mysterious, yet timeless place, bathed in red and green neon lights. The perfect setting for a dark and captivating thriller.

© Nicky Hamilton