Erin Nicole is a young artist based in Ohio. When she is not slaving over ACT preparation or High School thesis papers, Erin spends her time creating photographic images that have a distinct and powerful poetry. This is her personal outlet in life. We find ourselves quite touched by this work as it reflects upon many poignant sensitivities of High School friendships, and the contrasting soft heritage of suburban life juxtaposed against her vivacious modern youth. Indeed, it's hard to avoid being struck by nostalgia when viewing Erin's oeuvre as there is an undeniable sense of longing for a teenage life in all its complexities. Perhaps you too will relate to this young woman with wide eyes, one who is hungry for personal development in her career and education, and yet has an insatiable romantic appreciation for the timeless beauty of the world around her.
Female Hercules: What do you mean by your caption “somewhere between timeless and never in style?”
Erin Nicole: I made my Instagram biography a couple years ago, and haven’t touched it since then. The phrase “somewhere between timeless and never in style” just felt right. I think it’s because I’ve always felt like my work has never been mainstream or trendy enough to become very popular, but they also aren’t the classic photographs that never go out of style. I feel that they are just mine, an in-between variety that feels very personal to me.
2. You often photograph women in strange repose. Women are slumped awkwardly on couches or hiding under a bed with their legs sticking out. What type of message are you sending?
For many of my poses, I am inspired by how I am feeling. There was a shoot that I did over the summer that was heavily influenced by feelings of anxiety I had been experiencing. This was the shoot with the model’s upper body under the bed, with just her legs sticking out. The idea behind it was that you can’t simply hide from the feelings or thoughts you are experiencing- you can’t play hide and seek with yourself.
3. The film quality of your images give your photos a vintage feel, perhaps “stuck in
the 90s”. Can you speak to how you developed your style?
When I first started taking photos, my work was mostly just nature shots or pictures from events and such. After awhile, I started feeling drawn to ideas and concepts, and wanted to bring them to life. I have always loved the look of film and shooting with it. I am a high school student though, and can’t always afford to buy and develop as much film as I would like to. When I shoot digital, I like to emulate the nostalgic feel of film photography. To me, film photography feels very cinematic and atmospheric. I love it.
4. When did you pick up your first camera?
I believe the first time I picked up and actually used a camera was when I was around five or six. My family and I were still living in Idaho at the time, and one of our outdoor cats had killed a bird and left it on our back porch that had a breathtaking view of the mountains. I secretly took my mom’s digital camera and took pictures of the mangled bird. I quickly deleted the pictures though, because I didn’t want to get in trouble. Looking back, it was a rather disturbing beginning, but anything can spark an interest, and I’m just glad it was sparked.
5. Describe a photograph you most treasure. (It does not have to be one you have
My most treasured photograph would have to be a photo of my uncle that I have. It has a hole punched in it, with a blue chiffon ribbon threaded through the hole and tied around a white teddy bear. My uncle died when I was very young in an accident that I was also involved in. It was a loss that was hard for my whole family to deal with, but seeing his picture everyday is comforting. I love that photographs can do that; they can keep things alive in one way or another.
6. How was your high school experience formative of your current oeuvre?
High school has been a very stressful, yet enjoyable experience for me. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, and photography and art have been an amazing outlet for me, either just as a distraction or as something that can actually depict my feelings. Even with my struggles, I love being a teenager. I love the youth surrounding me, even if it isn’t ideal sometimes. Not only is high school formative of my current oeuvre, but of my future self. I also love the idea of the “high school experience.” I have done shoots of my friends and I hanging out, and some of my favorite pictures are from those times because they show true happiness and life.
7. How do you hope your art will evolve in the future?
I honestly don’t know how my art will evolve in the future, it isn’t something that I have thought about a lot. I think that is okay though. I don’t want to put expectations on my art, I want it to evolve organically, without the restraints of any expectations.
8. What feedback have you received from friends/family/mentors that have been formative to your work?
I would say that the feedback I have received has been mostly positive. When I first started posting my photos and making them public, I was very insecure about it- it felt very personal to share the images that I took. I didn’t want anyone from my school knowing about my account- I didn’t tell my parents or anyone. Once I got more involved in photography and my account grew, people began finding out, but I didn’t mind as much because I felt much more confident in my work and myself. I love getting positive feedback from other artists and photographers. I know I shouldn’t need outside validation, but it is so nice to get reassurance sometimes.
9. Tell me about what it is like to be young and how youth has inspired you.
Like I said before, I do love being a teenager. Even in all of the messiness and drama, it’s still a beautiful time, and I think that my love of photography has made me even more appreciative of the experience. I tend to look at things with very open eyes, to have a very unrestricted view of what is beautiful or good.
10. What’s next for you?
I graduate high school in a few months, and then college will be next for me. My career path is unsure at the moment- I love a lot of things and have a lot of interests. I am on track to graduate
valedictorian of my class, so I feel like there are a lot of expectations set upon me. I’ve worked really hard my whole high school career, now I just want to be happy in my actual career.
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