Kindra Nikole is one of the most promising conceptual / fine-art photographers in Flickr. Her photography is very creative, enchanting, and inspiring. She puts a lot hard-work and and imagination in her photos which brings to us spectacular photos and a photostream you return to again and again. Her use of light , ambiance, and editing skills deserve a special mention. She creates images which take us to surreal colorful worlds which look as if you could instantly step into and breath in their magic. That’s what we honestly feel about Kindra and it’d be great to know more about her and her art. Lets begin with:
To begin with, I was born in America and have lived between Washington and California, but I am currently living in Washington, and it is easily my favorite state. It’s so lush and green here! I have no formal training in photography aside from one semester in high-school, and other than that, I went to a community college and got my AA degree. For work, I am a text editor at Nintendo, which essentially means I comb through the text in our video games and edit for grammar, spelling, consistency, clarity, etc. I have more hobbies than I can count, but to list a few: spending time with my dog, hiking, cooking, snowboarding, longboarding, yoga, reading, some gaming… The list goes on.
It’s a bit hard to determine exactly when I began taking pictures, as I did so for a short while in my teen years and then didn’t touch a camera for a very long time up until about two and a half years ago, when I decided to start taking things to the next level. In particular, when I began my 365 project two years ago, I started really focusing and honing my skills in the area.
Balancing work and photography is tricky and at times even frustrating. It can be challenging to the soul to be working inside on a day when the lighting is phenomenal and all I want to do is run outside with my camera. Daylight saving time is especially aggravating, in the winter. But once the days get longer, I’m able to go out and shoot after work, and I always shoot on the weekends. I spend about 90% of my free time taking or editing photos or doing things related to my photography career. It is my heart and soul.
Gosh, I have no idea how many photos I take in a week or even a month… In a month, thousands, if we are counting every snap of the shutter, but I edit anywhere from four-seven complete images each month. The longer I pursue the photography, the longer my editing process becomes. I’ve gotten so picky!
Definitely conceptual and what I would like to consider fine art. Rather than ask what makes me click, I think a more applicable question for me would be what doesn’t make me click. Though I’m still young, I’ve lived a pretty full and at times challenging life, so I draw on a lot of past and present experiences. Emotion drives me, mainly, but also the desire to pull the surreal images out of my head and create a tangible form of these images to share with others. There’s something incredibly exhilarating and precious about being able to share what’s in your head with others in such a vivid way.
Achievements… Hmm, I feel as though thus far it’s been a lot of small achievements that have gotten me excited over the past couple years. I have some upcoming projects that I am very excited about but can’t quite share just yet! Recently I landed a sponsorship with an absolutely phenomenal camera-gear company called Vanguard. Their gear is absolutely top notch, and receiving a gorgeous camera bag and tripod from them was a massive upgrade for me, so that was a pretty exciting achievement in my photography career.
My clients range from people who want unique family portraits to bands to weddings. My favorite is shooting a portrait of someone else with a concept they had in mind—it’s so fun to create an image of them that’s entirely new and different, and especially something that came from their head!
What camera/lenses and software do you mostly use?
Currently I shoot with the Nikon D600 and I just recently upgraded from a 50mm f1.8 to the astounding 50mm f1.2, which I adore. It’s very old school—heavy, lots of manual settings, all metal, made in Japan. Very high quality. It’s really improved the look of my new images!
I primarily use Photoshop and very lightly use Lightroom. For me and my process, utilizing these programs is an absolute necessity. I love playing with color and making my images look dreamlike and otherworldly. Editing my images allows this to become a reality, and I find so much enjoyment listening to ambient music and editing late into the night. I do not think there is a right or wrong way to create art—some people prefer to edit and some people don’t. Some people prefer film and some people don’t. Some people prefer muted tones and some people don’t. That’s the beautiful thing about photography and art in general— each photographer’s process, images, and photographic experience is entirely unique and an extension of who they are.
I always use my tripod, and I often utilize a remote, unless I have a friend along who can press the shutter for me. In terms of my thought process, I’ve honestly just read a ton of books, seen quite a few movies, and have always had a very very active imagination, so images tend to just drop into my head, unannounced, with no real prompting. Oftentimes, an entire scene will pop up in my mind’s eye, and then I simply go about re-creating it into a photo.
I can’t say for certain I know what their perception is — I can mostly only speak to my own. I certainly think there can be repetition, but I also think that with the sheer volume of artists on the planet, that’s inevitable. I think that to learn, many young artists will see another creation and attempt to re-create it, which is very natural. I, personally, have much more respect for a person who cites their inspiration, if they are re-creating someone else’s concept or are very clearly directly inspired by a specific artist. I think the key to really growing as an artist and finding your own style is to look at other art forms as inspiration, take a concept that has already been visited, and truly make it your own. If you spend too much time just mimicking other works, you’ll fall into a rut pretty quickly.
I find inspiration from so many sources and do my best to ensure that whatever I put out there has been made my own. The awesome thing about art is that regardless of age, gender, or background, each person is unique, and therefore each person will bring something new to the genre, even if it’s difficult to see at first, or even if it’s difficult for them to believe. I think it is okay to explore emotions or scenarios that a person hasn’t experienced first-hand, in their art, but with due deference to those persons who have been through those scenarios. For example, a theme I’ve seen visited by people who have openly stated they haven’t experienced themselves is domestic violence. I think it’s wonderful that they want to try to express their perception of this terrible reality that countless people face on a daily basis, but it’s also important to acknowledge that it is merely their portrayal. I have noticed that such weighty topics can be over- or under-dramatized in art, and since it is such an important and terrible subject, approaching it with caution is important. And that is something I’d apply to many controversial issues that are often visited in art.
I don’t know that I’d compare my art to other artists, really. Because what I create and what I do is just an extension of who I am. I’m a bit quirky and tend to have some rather abstract interests, and I think that comes through in my art. I can say with honesty and without shame that I’ve been through a fair amount in my brief time on this planet, and so that absolutely shines through in my images—particularly the images I create during tumultuous or emotional times for me. And because I am me, and my experiences are all entirely my own, I suppose my art stands out on its own in that regard, just as other art stands on its own for other creators.
Oh there are so many wonderful things about where I live. We really have everything here. Mountains, open fields, forests galore, a rainforest, the coast… I am very outdoorsy, and the vast majority of my photos are taken outside in natural light, so I don’t think I could love where I live any more than I do. My go-to shooting places tend to be forests. The dark, earthy lighting and vibrant green tones that are present year round just speak to me so much. I love creating a mystical and sometimes eerie mood in my images, and the forest makes that a reality. I also enjoy shooting in wide open spaces with mountains as a backdrop, with nice stormy skies for diffused but dynamic lighting. Photography has absolutely transformed how I see the world. I can go to the same exact location over and over again and see it differently each time I am there! You notice so many small things that you might’ve taken for granted before when you look at the world through a lens.
Photography has also given me something to live for, in many ways. My ability to reach out to others with nothing more than a picture is incredibly compelling to me. I also find photography to be extremely therapeutic, and I know it’s something I can never live without. My ambitions in relation to my photography are to hopefully someday be self-employed and travel the world with my camera. I’d be thrilled to see my images on book covers, as I adore the written word. I just want to live my art, all day every day. And I mostly do, I think.
I draw inspiration from so many places that I don’t even know if I can properly list them all out. Nature, books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, emotions I’ve experienced, social conundrums I’ve witnessed… Brian Froud, Jim Henson, Hayao Miyazaki… I could talk all day about my inspirations! My very favorite photographer is Kirsty Mitchell. Her story and photographic journey has moved me in ways no other photographer has.
I don’t know that I necessarily have a favorite quote on photography, per se, but one of my favorite quotes is an Edgar Allan Poe quote: “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” It’s become a bit of a mantra for me, really.
I honestly don’t have to actively work to stay motivated, because creating images has become a part of who I am so thoroughly that I can’t see me living my life any other way than how I do, which is to say in a cycle of instantly pushing myself and creating new work to share. When I am *most* motivated is when I am at my most emotional, dealing with very challenging situations.
The best advice I can give is to never allow anyone to discourage you from doing what you love. I mean it. I don’t care if your parents or your significant other or your teacher or even other artists have advised you for whatever reason to not pursue art as a career or even as a personal venture. You do it because you want to, and anyone saying otherwise can politely see themselves out of your personal creative space. That space is yours and yours alone. You own it. There is no right or wrong way to be in that space, to express yourself. And the discouraging bit also extends to you discouraging yourself, which is often the most common purveyor of dissuasion from pursuing art, I’ve found. That naysayer within your head has no say in the matter regarding you creating because you love it.
Note: All images appearing in this post are the exclusive property of Kindra Nikole and protected under the International Copyright laws.