To borrow a phrase from psychiatrist and author Dr Ned Hallowell, “What is creativity but impulsivity gone right?” These words are an illuminating entry point into the work of Norwegian interdisciplinary artist Nora Nord. Working across mediums as varied as photography, moving image, podcasting and journalism, the London-based creative’s practice is an extension of her outlook on life: playful and exploratory.
Despite graduating in 2019 from CSM with an MA in fashion photography, Nora’s work behind the lens demonstrates less of an interest in clothes and aesthetics than a fierce curiosity about stories and characters. Whether it be portraits of queer couples in quarantine for Teen Vogue or documenting new mothers and their struggles with early years childcare for The Stack, the personal is political in Nord’s work.
In fact, with iconic political designer Katharine Hamnett among her subjects, Nord’s approach as a photographer is often linked to a passion for advocacy and social justice. Galvanised by people coming together to fight for a fairer world, as a contributor to i-D magazine she has captured scenes from the London vigil for Sarah Everard and interviewed climate activists during London’s COP26 protest.
Her personal work includes Wellcome Prize-shortlisted project Queer ADHD: a series of candid bedroom portraits of members of London’s queer community, motivated by Nord’s own ADHD diagnosis. In this intimate space, often in various states of disarray, the featured individuals are photographed and later interviewed about their journey with ADHD. Initially conceptualised as a way of diversifying the media perception of neurodiversity, Queer ADHD has also become a way for Nora to build a community with a shared set of lived experiences.
This project set the scene for Nora’s first podcast You & Me: Let’s Talk About ADHD – a serious of frank conversations with artists, photographers and activists about creativity, neurodiversity and exploring the idiosyncrasies of life with ADHD.
A strong believer in the power of collaborative work, particularly with other queer artists, in 2021 Nord was a part of the collective “Hän” (borrowing its name from the Finnish gender neutral pronoun) alongside Glazzard, designer Ella Boucht and creative producer Bryanna Kelly. Creating a short documentary film (which Nord shot and edited) and a series of photographs spotlighting the queer Finnish community, in particular the gender-non-conforming lesbian and dyke community, the project was exhibited at Helsinki’s Luna Gallery.
She lives and works in London.
Words by Megan Wallace (2022)