Celebrity photographer creates “The fittest girls in Colne” newspaper

GORGEOUS GALS: Becky and Mikala take part in Nik Hartley's "The fittest girls in Colne" newspaper (S)
GORGEOUS GALS: Becky and Mikala take part in Nik Hartley's "The fittest girls in Colne" newspaper (S)
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HE has worked with pop sensations Jessie J and Cheryl Cole, and has managed to bag himself a successful freelance career down in the Big Smoke.

But instead of focusing on the capital’s beauties for his first self-published work, it was instead the gorgeous gals of Colne that celebrity photographer and former Fishermore student, Nik Hartley, wanted to get in front of the camera.

Named “The fittest girls in Colne”, Nik’s newspaper, which was completed over the course of a week in July, is filled with 14 pictures of the East Lancashire town’s most sassy and classy ladies.

Having received a copy of the final zine just a couple of weeks ago, Nik’s stunning black and white shots have gone on to gain national acclaim, and are currently the hot topic of social networking sites, including Twitter.

Talking to the Leader Times newspapers Nik, from Barrowford, said: “I wanted to do a project, and I wanted to do something up north. I wanted to do something that wasn’t just the ‘norm’.

“The girl’s reactions have been quite positive, I think.

“I like Colne — I think it’s a great town, and I was keen to promote it.

“It’s got a bit of history.”

Nik, who has worked for magazines in the UK and across Europe, came up with the idea of the project on a visit back home, and the girls “considered the ‘fittest’ of their stomping ground” were nominated by a group of Pendle young men, aged between 21 and 25.

The Blackpool and The Fylde College photography graduate then went on to approach the girls on Facebook, and those that signed up to the project were given their very own photo shoot.

The Southwark-based photographer added: “It was quite hard work initially, getting it off the ground, and getting people to say yes.”

Nik, who specialises in fashion shoots, has also made a large print of each participant, which he intends of giving to each of them over the festive period.

On the front page of the tabloid newspaper, which includes former East Lancashire reporter Lauren Brown, it reads: “The fittest girls of any town own the streets they were raised on.

“‘She’s fit’, the voices say as she walks past. And she’ll know it.

“Styled by themselves, and doing their own hair and make-up, the pin-ups of working class boys are not in fact found on the international catwalks, but witnessed first hand down the pub on a Friday night, drinking Jägerbombs, dancing to Rihanna, and getting a kebab on the way home.”

And i-D magazine, where Nik sometimes freelances, wrote: “These girls wouldn’t necessarily be scouted by Storm to appear on the front cover of Vogue. But they’re fit.

“The lads at school would all want to go out with them.

“i-D flicked through the pages of this latest project to find out where true beauty lies and how he attempts to represent it accurately, using his trusty Hassleblad.”

Copies of Nik’s finished product are likely to be distributed in London early in the New Year.