Nina Manandhar is a photographer deservedly praised for her eye to capture subcultures and style with a distinctive approach, making her an ideal commission for Vogue’s coverage of this year’s Wimbledon tournament.
The photographer last visited Wimbledon for her 16th birthday: “I’m terrible at tennis and I don’t play, but Wimbledon has always been a big feature as my mum is a big fan and we watched it loads when I was growing up,” she tells It’s Nice That. Her mum’s interest in the coverage also provided some handy tips: “While I was there she would send me text updates, and she tipped me off when she saw on the BBC that Andy Murray was in the practice courts!”
Nina’s brief was to capture the “distinctively British” aspect of the tennis competition, “the things that make Wimbledon unlike any other tennis tournament; the lawn aspect, the strawberries, they wanted a piece that captured the unique sense of the place,” the photographer explains.
Shooting for a fashion publication at a sporting event meant that Nina was “surrounded by lots of (mostly male) sports photographers, some were quite helpful, but it seemed like quite a different world that I wasn’t part of,” she explains. Yet, this gives Nina’s photographs an edge, focusing upon details that may go unnoticed but are the components of Wimbledon’s unique character. “Personally, I was quite interested in the different uniforms and groups that made up the crowd, the workers, players and fans,” she says. “I loved wandering and there were lots of things I observed as I went, but there was specific things I arranged special access to, like the Ball Boys and Girls and the Hawk. I loved to see the style details and how they reflected who was who, and where they belonged in the grand scheme of things.”
Day to day, Nina would check in at the Media Centre and “there were lots of rules, there was a canteen and I had a locker to put my stuff in, it was a bit like school but in a good way,” she explains. “I also got given this amazing “photo waistcoats” type thing, sort of Apocalypse Now style war photographer, “in the field” vibes.”
Overall, Nina’s photographs display how immersed she was in viewing Wimbledon almost like a spectator rather than a photographer, “the whole spectacle of the tournament was more fascinating than the sport itself for me,” she says. “I went to catch the big names on court when I could, set up mini shoots as well as catching things as they happened. This was punctuated with eating lots of strawberries and cream in the Wimbledon staff canteen. It was boiling hot and there were flying ants to contend with some days.”
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