Monday, June 29, 2015

Inspire, Create, Be YOU!

Another week on Inspire, Create, Be YOU! Getting to know our fellow artists one week at a time. This week is someone who is an inspiration to me on a daily basis. her work is super emotive, moody, real and gritty. Her work pulls you in making you want more, more, more. She processing mostly b&w which makes her work even more emotive. Please grab a cup of coffee, sit back and read a bit about Niki of Niki Boon Photography.

1.    What do you think the most important element is in your personal style? (example. Light, creativeness, perspective, story, emotion, texture, etc. What do you shoot for in your work? And what makes your work YOU?)

I believe that mood is a big part of my personal style… I tend to look for shadows a lot , I shoot for them and edit for them… that tends to lend my work towards a very dark and moody look…I tend to lean towards a more documentary approach with my personal work… that is partly because of my personal style , but also because my kids are mostly completely over me and my camera and so asking for anything ‘posed’ is largely out of the question (must work on making those bribes a little more appealing)

2.    What makes you tick? What keeps you inspired and pushing to be a better artist?

My kids inspire me…. daily… they are largely free range here at home 24/7 and are always intriguing me with their imaginations and activities. I am also inspired by our environment where we live … we are lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful rivers, bush and wild rugged coastline… I find vast windswept wild beaches hugely inspiring. I’m also a massive fan of films … especially the quirky character based stories.

3.    Is there anything specific that helped push you towards your beautiful and unique style? And if yes, what was it?

A lot of artists I have been inspired by have helped me realize my natural bent towards more dark and moody as well as documentary images. Artists such as Sally Mann, Anders Petersen. Just that permission to go there with my natural bent towards dark and moody I guess.

4.    What is the one thing you would tell others that are trying to break away from their present shooting style to start forming their own unique work and create from their heart?

Shoot a lot and shoot every day … eventually you will run out of different or original things to shoot if you are used to shooting the same things the same way … and you will be forced to do things differently… you might not always like what you shoot this way … but it will open you mind to other options , and it will lead you somewhere on the road to discovery of who you are artistically, the more you shoot the more you will see some sort of pattern of theme in your work. Also looking at other artists, not just photographers , but sculpter's, painters, filmmakers etc… take note of what you are naturally drawn too.  It is a pathway and journey of discovery that I am still at the very beginning of myself… I have come to expect many many hurdles. 

5.    We love to shout out to others artists here so if there was one artist who really inspired you to be the best artist you can be and really shoot for you, who would that artist be?

I have done an online course with Deb Schwedhelm through Bloom … and whilst it wasn’t about techniques or gear and how to use it… it was a whole heap about who you are as an artist and that for me started me looking at my photos as a form of ‘art’ and how learning about who I am as a person has a direct impact on what I produce with a camera… I looked at things differently after that… again.. I am only very much a beginner in this journey… my discoveries are still so shallow … but I am excited to see where it all takes me.
Also another online course that really provoked a big shift in me and my art was one run my Michelle Gardella… just a magical experience learning through her… she helped me to ‘make it happen and make it yours, because anything less than that is honestly a waste of time and creative energy. And nobody has time for that.’

6.    We love to see how hard people have worked with then and now's. And inspire other artists and beginners and show them that we all started somewhere. Can you give me a before and after of your very first work to your now work? And tell us a bit about your journey. How long have you been doing photography? When you started what did you want to shoot as opposed to what you shoot now? Most of us end up doing absolutely nothing we thought we would. Example, I wanted to shoot newborn's and weddings with a light, dreamy, whimsical feel. My work now is nothing like that. I shoot fine art and lifestyle with a very moody, emotive and gritty feel. How has your style and outlook changed?

I have been taking photos since I traveled many years ago.. I spent 4 years traveling and working around the world, and whilst in the midst of a very dreary Scottish winter I discovered film photography and the darkroom… to me this was pure magic.. and so started an obsession and a passion that has ebbed and flowed since then. Initially I guess my focus was street photography.. I was fascinated by all the different cultures I was exposed to in my travels… then my photography took a hiatus on returning to NZ as I focused on my career instead… but it was revived with my as my children grew. My focus is largely on my children and their childhood… documented their innocence and wonder with the world as they discover in their own way how it all works… and I guess that hasn’t really changed, my approach has altered, and I guess that is often due to recent inspiration from other artists at the time or deciding to trial a new lens for a time… my processing has become a lot stronger and considerably darker over the years though. I have recently started up a family documentary photography business.. but that is still in its beginning phases.

7.    Can you give one thought on how to stay fresh, inspired and moving forward? What helps you?

 It’s tricky one for me right now… I’m going through a bit of a slow spot… but a change in scenery always helps me, and I know I am always freshened up by a wild piece of coastline, or windswept open hilltops or anything remote, so even if that doesn’t result in mind-blowing images my mind is always better for having made the trip.
Reading inspiring interviews by artists I admire… novels recommended by others … movies ..I am a BIG movie lover.. and even if they don’t result in magically getting me to take better images they always get me out of my own head for long enough to get a fresh look at the world.

8.    We all want to work on something or change something within our work or joinery. Anything you are working to be better towards?

I would love to study more documentary photographers and their work.. and apply more of this to my work, both in my personal and client work. But at the same time I also want to have an element of fine art also.. particularly to my personal work… so more study in that area too.

9.    What are your goals for the next year or two? Getting published, building or find a studio, traveling with your shoots, specific shoot you are trying to pull together? What are you up to?

I am really crap at goals, and planning is my biggest downfall. A pipeline dream would be to one day get published… maybe? I have an idea for a portrait project… and one on that curious age between 10-13 yrs… I also have my wee business that I really should be working on setting up… and I guess I should probably work on my planning and goal setting skills too … sigh… 

10.    We are huge on encouraging here. Can you please pick one photographer that is just starting out that is super talented, inspiring with not a big following that is trying to get their name out or that YOU think deserves to be seen and known. There are so many out there. Let's give them a little shout out.

One is so hard… so so many, crazy amount of holy crap awesome artists out there. I have three that come to mind straight away (sorry I’ve never been particularly good at sticking to the rules)
... I have loved Nikhol Estares work since I first saw it. I love her documentary work, her portrait work and self portraits too.
Sharon Covert.. her self portraits are deep and soulful and so so beautiful.. her images of her daughter just magical… love her art so much.
Berit Alits .. I fell in love with her fine art portraits a few months ago… they are so soulful and moving, and she now has some brilliant documentary family work too.

I hope you enjoyed Niki's work and interview as much as we did. Please, as always go show the featured artist some love. Thank you. Until next time, XOXO! ~Amber