I’ve barely been online since I heard the news at the weekend.

I was away with family in the UK and was staying somewhere with really poor internet access so had decided I’d just turn my phone off.

Then on Saturday I heard that my brother was trying to get hold of me… I joked that it had better be important…

It was… Nicholas Javed had passed away.

I couldn’t, and still can’t believe it… typing it now seems unreal.

I first came across Nicholas’ work a couple of years ago and was instantly in awe of what he was producing – his images contained beauty, emotion and creativity that I’d never seen before.

Not only that, he seemed absolutely relentless in the way he was able to ‘churn’ these amazing images out… 3 or 4 top quality shots everyday! It was incredible and I was hooked.

I was so happy to find out that he taught creative portraiture workshops in Jersey and instantly got in touch to arrange a 1-1 when he was next over.

I was nervous to meet someone as highly gifted as Nicholas… whilst keen to learn I was worried that I might not have a clue what I was doing – and that it would show.

I needn’t have worried, Nicholas was not only a genius behind the camera but also a super humble, genuine guy who was keen to share the wealth of experience he had.

He had quickly become my idol… and would soon become my mentor and then someone I could call my friend… my Polish brother.

Like most brothers we had our ups and our downs… the line between inspiration and imitation had become blurred and we ended up falling out.

It pushed me to create work that I considered almost ‘anti-Javed’ – avoiding ‘models’, focussing on more conceptual self-portraits.

But even in this act, I was being influenced… whether he knew it at the time or not, or whether I truly understood it at the time or not, I now realise that I owe him everything… for not only teaching me what he knew but for also forcing me to apply it to my own ideas.

Thankfully, we sorted out our differences and were able to reform the bond we had once had…

“Danny, life is too short” he said…

… he was right.

I shot this about 2 hours after I’d heard the news… I was gutted, had cried but saw this stagnant pond and thought back to all the times we’d laughed at some of the things we’d made our models do… lying in freezing cold winter seas… in rock pools… all for a shot that said something ‘more’… to push the boundaries… to create something unique.

The tears will subside… but the inspiration will last a lifetime.

RIP Nicholas