Foreplay and freaks: Hong Kong photographer’s erotic images on show

Like a female Terry Richardson, ex-model Nicoline Aagesen has been shooting gritty, sexually charged photos since moving behind the camera, and she’s showing some this weekend before hooking up with mentor Simon Birch in California

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 March, 2017, 9:56am

Provocative Hong Kong-based photographer Nicoline Aagesen has been recently spicing up the social media feeds of her many followers with the raw, sexually charged images taken for her ongoing “My Camera, My Rules” project.

Now, ahead of a six-month break from the city, the model-turned-photographer is bowing out (briefly) with an exhibition of her erotic and seductive pictures at Ophelia in Wan Chai this weekend.

Aagesen, who was born in Denmark and arrived in Hong Kong about six years ago, is most often compared to controversial photographer Terry Richardson due to the their shared love of the gritty, soft-porn aesthetic.

“He was my first inspiration to create my style, so it only makes me proud when people compare me to him,” Aagesen says. “I also draw inspiration from photographers like Tony Kelly, Henrik Purienne, Sergio del Amo, Mikkel Kristensen and David LaChapelle.”


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Aagesen will soon head to Los Angeles to work with her mentor Simon Birch, the multimedia artist who has become a sensation in the global art world since launching his career in Hong Kong, and will then move onto London for a solo exhibition before returning to our shores.

“Simon Birch has been my mentor and best friend since I arrived in Hong Kong. He was one of the first people I met, and I admire and love him more than anything else. In Los Angeles I’ll be helping out at The 14th Factory, Simon’s newest project.”

Birch opened the huge 14th Factory exhibition to rave reviews this month after around three years of production work. It involves 30 collaborators from various creative industries, including several from Hong Kong. 

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This weekend’s exhibition at Ophelia – titled “Foreplay featuring Nicoline Aagesen” – will involve roaming characters, live performances, photo shoots and of course the hypersexual images that often lead to her Facebook and Instagram accounts being briefly suspended.

The exhibition comes after other Aagesen shows, including “My Camera My Rules” at Stockton, “One Night Stand” at Kong Art Space, “#Untitled” (in collaboration with Lauren Engel and AABMW) at Above Second and the “#FreeTheNipple” show with Print House at XXX Gallery.

When asked if she has trouble finding models locally for her provocative shoots, Aagesen says: “Not at all. I think I might just attract all the freaks organically. But unfortunately I’m not really good at organising stuff, so everything happens spontaneously. For me, it’s all about creating stuff that makes people feel something.”

“Foreplay featuring Nicoline Aagesen”, March 24-26, 9pm, Ophelia, 39A, 1/F, The Avenue, Lee Tung Ave, 200 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chai, HK$200.