I heard about Kanye West before he was famous, then wound up shooting his first press pictures

Nabil Elderkin is a film director and photographer who has worked with artists including Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and The Black Eyed Peas. His most recent work, a 360°, virtual-reality music video shot for indie band Foals, is an experiment in the cutting-edge capabilities of new film technology.

I heard about Kanye West before he was famous, then wound up shooting his first press pictures

To me, creativity is how you take a combination of ideas and thoughts and turn them into an outward energy that can affect others, whether it is a film, sculpture or something as simple as a sentence. What defines creativity is up to the individual observer and how something emotionally connects to them. Originality and drama inspire me the most. I love music in a minor key, it goes straight to my soul and evokes imagery.

Some of my most powerful memories are of driving to a faraway place with headphones on, listening to music. For example, I took a trip to the Congo years ago and vividly remember the light and smell of the Congo River as I canoed down it listening to a mix of African music. The culmination of experiences such as these have influenced my creativity. Moments like these have given me perspective and driven me to create work inspired by experience.

Being creative and gaining commercial success is first and foremost about talent, but it’s also about building connections and making your own luck.

Probably the hardest thing for me to deal with is when someone feels no emotion toward something I have created. It’s more intense than simply taking offence. I am meticulous when it comes to creating something that is truthful to what I believe, so I am ready to stand by anything that I create.

It’s a very exciting time to be creative in the film world, with so many platforms for people to check out. From Vimeo and VR platforms such as YouTube 360° to Netflix, people can access just about any type of film stimulation without leaving their laptop.

My goal is to make feature-length movies and I’m in the process of prepping my first one, because to me a movie is the ultimate artistic expression.

There is something magical about a film. Taking someone into a different world and having them walk away with emotion and intrigue is magic. Film has such power, and when it’s paired harmoniously with music I don’t believe that there is a stronger medium.

Someone giving me money to create a little film to reflect a song that I like, then share it with everyone for free? Fuck, yes please.

That’s why I make music videos. Someone giving me money to create a little film to reflect a song that I like, then share it with everyone for free? Fuck, yes please. Making commercials pays my mortgage and gives me scope to experiment with film toys and new and different styles, such as virtual reality, that take people on an interactive, 360° journey. The rise of tech has brought forth many self-proclaimed photographers and artists, but it has also brought forth a democracy that enables people to show their work. Quality and creativity will rise to the top, or so I hope.

I’m a partner in a company that makes virtual-reality content and explores experimental collaborations. We look at how we can create a fully immersive experience, examining how sound, temperature, wind and physical space can come together to give consumers the pinnacle of virtual-reality experience. However, photography is still my safest income. It was my first passion and enabled me to get my foot in the door.

I was living in Chicago and heard about Kanye West before he was famous, then wound up shooting his first press pictures. Being creative and gaining commercial success is first and foremost about talent, but it’s also about building connections and making some of your own luck. It’s an exciting time to be labelled a ‘creative’, but the most important attributes a creative should have are humility and passion.