Paparella was founded by Nina Duncan, a professional photographer with over ten years’ experience that spans portraits of the Queen published by The Sunday Times and fashion shoots for American Vogue, to advertising campaigns for everything from Smirnoff Ice to Avent.
“I grew up surrounded by glossy magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle and my work has given me the opportunity to help create the beautiful images of people and places that I saw in those magazines,” says Nina. “With paparella I wanted to bring that same editorial feel to wedding photographs and portraits and show that you don’t need models and beaches to create beautiful pictures that you’ll want to treasure forever.”
After leaving school, Nina went to New York where she trained at the International Centre for Photography and worked for renowned photographic agency, Art+Commerce, alongside legendary photographers, such as Annie Leibowitz and Steven Meisel. She returned to London to study for her degree in sociology at LSE. After graduating she spent 8 months travelling around South America with her camera and returned “knowing that all I wanted to do in life was take pictures.”
Five years working as an assistant to a number of highly acclaimed photographers, including Miles Aldridge, Alexi Lubomirski and Russell Sadur, gave her a sound grounding in fashion, lifestyle and still life photography as well as the opportunity to travel around the world.
Nina’s professional, friendly and welcoming approach to people and life in general has become her trademark and she is well-known for her ability to put any subject at their ease, from the most reluctant sitter to the unruliest child, so you can be sure that not only will you end up with a series of photographs to treasure, but that creating them will be as relaxed, stress-free and enjoyable as the pictures themselves.
Paparella was Nina’s Italian grandmother’s nickname for her. It literally translates as ‘little duck’ but, for Nina, the word means far more than that. “For me, the word paparella conjures up images of my grandmother and my aunt,” she says. “It’s a word resonant with associations of family, relationships and love. That’s why I chose it. I also like the fact that it sounds a little bit like a softer form of paparazzi, because that describes the paparella style perfectly, candid, unposed photographs that you’ll want to look at again and again.”