“Meet the Londoner” with the photographer Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni from NUX photography. I met Brigitta virtually when she offered me to use some of her lockdown photos for my “London in Corona lockdown” post. After this, I had to learn more about her. What made the Bavaria-born move to London, how does she shoot her photos and where are her favourite parts in London? All this and much more in this interview. Enjoy reading!
Brigitta from NUX photography
Dear Brigitta, please introduce yourself to my readers
Hello, my name is Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni. I am 56 years old and I am a passionate photographer. I have two inside out beautiful daughters who are 15 and 21 years old, and a lovely, crazy actor, director, theatre producer husband to whom I am happily married to since for 21 years. I was born in the most beautiful place on Earth, a little village called Tutzing by the Lake Starnberg in Bavaria, Germany. I lived in Paris, France and the United States, New York for 16 years where I worked successfully as an actress and model all through the 80s and 90s. I always carried a photo or film video camera with me, constantly creating quirky images and clips.
Then I fell in love with a Welshman and moved to England London and everything changed. I made my hobby my profession.… I have that feeling, that my life in front of the lens only happened to lead me to become the photographer I am today.
What made to come to the UK?
Romance, what else? (Ha ha!). No, also, as an actress, you are bound to come and study the art in the land of Shakespeare. So I did. That’s how I met my hubby.
Where exactly do you live?
I live in a small village in Hertfordshire 20 minutes north of London. It’s called Northaw. It’s quaint.
When did you start taking pictures?
As I mentioned above, during my young days as an actress and model.… I learned my trade in the best and biggest studios in Paris with master photographers. I watched, by watching them work, with eagle eyes!
When did you turn it into a profession?
After I was told off by other photographers for giving my work away! Apparently it was too good (she says with a huge smirk on her face…. 🙂
I realized that I had a gift of giving people confidence through my portraiture. I call it photographic therapy.
What’s your favourite motif?
Really there are millions. But if I would have to choose one it would be women. I adore the skill, my ability to empowering women through my photography.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
An interest in people. Peoples’ lives, peoples’ faces and stories.
What’s behind “It’s photographic Therapy”“?
My inspiration is sparked by each individual person. I am very much a photographer for those who does not want to be photographed for various all kinds of reasons: They think they are not photogenic, too old, too big, too skinny, too tired, they’re having a bad hair day, their partner has left them, and they simply do not like to be photographed… People with self confidence problems… It makes me sad to see people think low and poorly of themselves when all I can see is beauty. Everyone has something beautiful about themselves.…
Or take the highly strung business-person for whom the last thing on their list mind is having their picture taken. They hate it (not me). Or simply the ladies who just want a glam shot of themselves. Whatever the reason is, we play together for an hour or two, we go through a process which is very particular and individual to each person, we have fun (I am a trained clown), and, at the end of it, people leave my home studio with a bounce in their step and a big smile on their face. And, of course, they take home portraits of themselves that will make them feel good for a very, very long time.
I have had ladies crying tears of joy looking at their images. ‘That’s is me?’ ‘Yes, it sure is! And you are beautiful!’ It’s very satisfying, and possibly definitely one of my reasons to live.
It also works at events as well. Clients like to book me taking images of their guests at the beginning of their event because I get the party started. And you know what – Corona taught me a new way of performing the photographic therapy worldwide. FaceTime Screen Shoots by NUX. Its amazing! FaceTime me, let’s try it out!
Brigitta about London
What’s a must-see sight in London?
One of my favourite places to go for inspiration and some chill out time is Camden Town. You find that the diversity of people, food, styles, bistros, cafés, restaurants, and pubs is dense. Oh and the colours..! Life should be multi-coloured. Camden is the best place for that.
3 words to describe London
Busy (usually), huge, historic
Is London a photogenic city to you?
Yes, absolutely, certain areas like Neal’s Yard. The colours are magnificent. The light tunnel at King’s Cross is a great backdrop. Also, the area around King’s Cross is now very vibrant. It was a surprise for me, as, 21 years ago when I arrived in Britain, the King’s Cross area – like in many capitals – was just a dodgy old train station area/red-light district. What a change! If you walk up to Granary Square, there is a hidden spot near which not many know about quite yet – a nature reserve – Camley Street Natural Park. It was supposed to re-open in 2020. I guess that’s not going to happen now. You can walk from King’s Cross to Camden all the way by the canal – beautiful! Of course, I cannot not mention Notting Hill, it’s coloured houses and Portobello Road and it’s lively neighbourhood and cool vintage shops!
And Brixton has come a long way. I recently spent an entire day there hunting photographs, having coffee and later dinner with friends.… Not an ounce of boredom in my head!
And I recently fell in love with Hackney. Again, it was a surprise for me, as I haven’t visited it for a very long time. Back then when I came for auditions it was a scruffy old place. I returned recently to photograph at Amnesty International. What to a change! Now its walls are full of artful graffiti. And the cafes and bistros are quirky and most inviting. I could go on and on. Kew gardens, multiple places around the river. The bridges! (I could go on and on!) London is very photogenic.
Particularly in the sunshine – which unfortunately you cannot count on here.
The best museum in London is…?
Difficult…. If I would have had to choose one, I would probably go for The Tate Modern… or maybe the Victoria and Albert. The exhibitions are classy, inspiring, and they change frequently. And I do love the National Portrait Gallery as well. (Portraiture, you know?). How amazing is it that general exhibitions are free!?
Which is your favourite arty spot in London?
All the above including simply being in the streets. Any of them inspires another vibe. Difficult to explain – you have to come and spend a little time to understand.
What have you photographed the most in London?
Some architecture and people. To portray the empty roads in at the beginning of Covid19 Lockdown was thrilling – creepy somehow – nevertheless, beautiful in a weird way. Looking back now at it, it was the beginning of an exceptional phase the city, and our whole planet, had just entered. I felt it. When I look at those pics, I remember the sensation vividly.
Where do you go to for a nice lunch?
Favourite café? Oh you are killing me with this question! Where do I start?! The first one that comes to mind is one I have ate in just before Lockdown: Canover Hall in Brixton. It’s an ex-department store and the food and drinks are exquisite. The premises are enchanting with its high industrial ceilings and windows. Near there is a place called Brixton Pop Brixton. It’s basically many, many boxes put near and onto each other, each box contains a wine bar or food place. Definitely a chilled-out place to spend some time and have a drink.
Oh, and then there is “Herman ze German” in Fitzrovia! A food place where apparently, we find authentic German sausages. Can you imagine? I haven’t been yet. Must go!
Some fun stuff about Brigitta
Which is your favourite ice-cream flavour?
Gin and Tonic or Pimm’s?
Prosecco or Cava
Milk in first or last?
Last but – preferably almond milk
Favourite Tube line?
Has to be the Northern line as it has been taking me into London within minutes for the past two decades. Plus, my friend and neighbour is a tube driver thereon it.
Favourite party song?
At the moment – Glitter by Taylor the Creator, Juice – Lizzo, and anything by my darling Prince. (Always!).
Best advice you were given?
Make change my friend otherwise you aim for a life full of defeat.
And: Love is a butterfly.
Oh and, live and let live.
NUX Photography on Social Media
Dear Brigitta, thanks again for allowing me to use your photos in my “London in Corona lockdown” post and for taking your time for this interview. I can’t wait to catch up with you and a Cava in London!
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