A word from Caleb:
I’m pretty lucky to have creative friends, Nina being one of them. Last month we started talking about making a film together and the rest is history. The final product was following her around Minneapolis for a day, documenting it all. Having a mutual sense of dedication is important in creating great work and I think it shows in the film. Her narration gives insight into what inspires her photography, the style of her work and her thoughts on the artistic process.
Nina’s work inspired me to start this project in the first place and it’s been cool to see the aesthetic of her photos progress over the years. But one thing has been a constant; the way she photographs the natural qualities of her subjects. Nina turns people’s insecurities into something beautiful.
I shot this film in the same style of her portraits, trying to catch a smile or candid moment of her. Some of my favorite images are happy accidents, where it seems like the subject doesn’t realize they’re being photographed. You’re seeing a true representation of the person and that’s what makes Nina’s portraits special.
After getting to know Nina through Caleb’s eyes, I wanted to find out a few more things to share. I asked Nina to oblige me with a quick interview and she agreed.
How did you start taking photographs?
I started taking pictures in middle school. I was definitely that annoying friend who took pictures of everything, and I never really thought anything of it. They were pretty terrible. My dad encouraged me, though, and taught me a few things. I began engaging with the photo community on Flickr at the suggestion of my favorite teacher in high school, which is where I really started making major progress. By my junior year of high school I began doing senior photos, and the rest is history!
I would love to hear more about your growth through Flickr. Could you share more about how it affected your photography?
Absolutely! Flickr really helped me to understand where I stood in the photography world. There were tons of photographers who were much better than I was – and I learned from them. There were also people out there that hadn’t yet gained some of the knowledge and skills than I had. It was important for me to have those balancing factors so that I could see myself rightly in the spectrum of photographers. Flickr at that time was a thriving community filled with feedback, so I gave and received a lot of excellent critique on my work. Of course, that lead to growth. It was definitely instrumental for me in getting a better idea of who was creating what at that time.
There is definitely less emphasis placed on traditional learning now that art is more accessible to the masses. iPhones and other devices have brought photography and digital design to everyone’s doorstep. Do you think that it hurts or helps?
It used to be a little disconcerting to me that everyone was considering themselves either a professional photographer or an artist in general. As I’ve become more confident in myself and my work, though, I’ve really come to appreciate how easy it is for the everyday person to start engaging with and making art. Wouldn’t it be sad if nobody was trying to make anything beautiful except a select few who had an official title? To everyone who feels drawn to photography or art making of any kind, I say go for it! If you can add more beauty to the world, do it.
Thank you Caleb and Nina for sharing more of your craft with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.