You know when you meet someone and you just get a “feeling” about them? I was introduced to Nicola by a colleague and immediately knew I was in the presence of someone creative, and with something to say. Turns out (little self pat on the back) that this creator’s work is right up our callejuela.
How would you describe your style of photography?
My style of photography is mostly quiet documentary in vibrant colour, observations, and explorations of real life, real places, real people. Sometimes it’s a full of life and movement celebration and sometimes it’s a quiet contemplation.
What drew you to photography as a medium and what keeps you shooting?
I always loved photography since a child, in fact, I initially wanted to be a filmmaker, but the still image won. My most vivid memory of high school art class was making collages using images from the classic The Family of Man book of documentary photographs from around the world. The combination of learning about people/culture and the divine experience of visual graphic tension is what has always kept me involved in photography.
Which of your photographs is your very favourite?
That’s a hard one!! I will just point you to the images I’ve sent you that I continue to get joy from, especially after this era of lockdowns and isolations, I have been musing on freedom of movement and human interaction.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in pursuing photography?
Photography requires persistence, and also is a costly business to get into, often you need to invest a lot of money (in gear or in exhibiting costs) so it’s risky. Also, the industry was in the process of changing when I started, so the photojournalism jobs I imagined having were fading into a freelance culture. Getting your work seen and championed is always a challenge. For long-term projects, working alone and really owning the progress of a project can be a challenge, you really need to sometimes just hold it close to your heart and carry on with no real external support.
What kind of subjects do you enjoy shooting most?
I enjoy shooting people who like to be photographed! My favourite is to be in spaces where I am learning about other people’s stories and ways of being. But I equally love shooting spontaneously and encountering this magic moment where life aligns within the frame without much direction from me.
Of all the exhibitions and competitions you’ve been featured in, which one is the most memorable?
The featured exhibition at the Head On Festival 2014 has been my favourite experience so far because I got to work with a curator to design a conceptual installation which included an audio soundscape that I edited from my ambient recordings playing in the room so it was this more immersive experience than the average photos hung in a row on a wall.
Which photographers do you admire?
There are soooo many, and I have different phases of inspiration! Some older photographers are Gordon Parks, Isabel Muñoz, Dorothea Lange, Roy de Carava, Joel Meyerwitz, Carrie Mae Weems. Contemporary photographers like Lauren Greenfield, Wayne Lawrence, Kristin Bedford, Lisette Poole. There are so many more and I hate to miss out names I will kick myself for forgetting, but hopefully, this selection will inspire your readers.
How do you generate income from your photography?
My long-term projects don’t really generate income, so my bread and butter photography involves a range of freelance jobs from documenting projects for arts and youth organisations (my preferred job since the values of community work tend to align with my own). I also work with galleries, corporate events, corporate portraiture, and architectural photography.
What are you working on at the moment?
Not a lot! I am mostly looking after my 18-month-old twins at the moment. I have 3 long-term projects that are ongoing and unfortunately, the pandemic has hindered them – I was due to be in Brazil this past year. Am hoping to pick these up next year… I have one in Brazil, one in London, and one in Melbourne that all involve periodic (7-10years) follow-up. In the meantime, I am showing one piece at a festival in the US this coming October, in The Eyes on Main Street Festival in the US.
What have you been spending your lockdown days doing?
I had twins in March 2020 right at the beginning of lockdown, so I have basically been intensively parenting!