Talk of the Town - Studio time April 09 2003

Candler Park live/work loft

Nigel Marson is riding around his photography workspace on a trikke, a three-wheeled bicycle-like vehicle that a musician he recently photographed cajoled him into purchasing. He parks it behind a desk that he constructed from an old wooden piano. The piano's pedals are still in place, making the desk pleasantly conspicuous.

Marson, 41, lives and works as a photographer in his Candler Park loft. A sitting room lies behind his workspace. He built the room's stained glass windows that glow indigo, green and pearl. He's collected or made an eclectic assemblage of objects: candleholders assembled from aged metals, an industrial sconce hanging on the room's middle wall, a coffee table with metal arms, a bulky structure from the inside of a broken piano nailed to a wall. Copies of his photographs can also be seen, including a snapshot of hip-hop group OutKast.

Even Marson's bathroom departs from customary design; an operable skylight keeps it well-lit. Above that lies his lofted music room. Along with being a photographer, he's an amateur musician. A staircase lined with oversized, clay- potted plants — which he acquired from another photo shoot — is the route to a room stocked with a Roland keyboard and acoustic and electric guitars. Marson occasionally composes music in the room's hairdressing chair which he acquired from a friend and reupholstered with leather.

Creative Loafing: So you write music; how do you describe your style?

Marson: Swamp rock. I fuse a lot of interesting guitar and piano sounds.

I assume you have a few CDs?

I made a CD over two years ago. I generally give my music away as a promotion of my photography work.

Do you dream about making it big, becoming a famous songwriter?

(He chuckles.) I just want to write a good song and sell it to Garth Brooks.

Damn. You're really talented. You write music, build furniture and shoot striking pictures. I bet all kinds of women hound you.

I wish. I've been in Atlanta since 1992, but I've not bumped into the right woman.

Your work seems to dominate most of your time. Do you go out much?

Of course, man! I like Little Five Points. It's fun hanging out there. At night, I enjoy the Yacht Club. A buddy and I went there last night to have a couple of beers. But to be honest with you, I prefer staying in and listening to good music with my friends.

When you write this, don't let me look boring.

Your place is spotless. I hope you didn't clean up for me.

With all my photography gear and computer stuff, I have to keep this place tidy. Dust is a photographer's biggest enemy.

Not to be rude, but you're an older guy and, yet your place has an MTV feel. This place is packed with cool stuff, like your abstract furniture, music equipment, hockey pucks, Austin Powers poster, trendy MAC computer and miniature airplanes. Plus, the front door is bright blue.

That's a compliment, right? I have a lot of random stuff because I generally keep stuff I use for photo shoots. I never thought all this stuff made me cool. I guess it does.