Unifying Creativity: One-on-One Art
By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor
Nicole Small’s site is much like a personal diary, or journal. Rather than cherry picking only her best work and presenting it in a formal exhibition format, she chooses to share her work in progress. The viewer is encouraged to follow her creative ideas, personal challenges, and technical experiments, and to chart her progress as an artist.
She describes her progression as “coming into a new field of dreams, a new output and a new frame of mind with a focus on my own true objectives.”
Small’s quest as a portrait photographer is to find powerful and meaningful emotions that help define her subjects at a particular time, whether positive or negative. Her style is raw and unretouched. She does not seek perfection. “Self Portrait” illustrates this openness to see the subject from the heart, rather than the comfort zone of vanity.
After eight years of working solely with a digital camera, she became drawn to working with a film camera, and felt that changed the way she approached her subject by slowing her down, focusing more on what she was doing, and connecting with her subject.
Her frank self-observation encourages her to experiment without worrying about a consistent style, and experiment she does! Samples of techniques include cyanotype, digital, large format, lumen negatives/prints, pinhole photography, and video.
Of particular interest is her workshop offering in cyanotype—a photographic printing process that utilizes two chemicals: ammonium iron (III) citrate and potassium ferricyanide to produce a cyan-blue print. This technique yields a soft-tone, one-of-a-kind, handmade print from start to finish. Beyond the artistic aesthetic, engineers and architects used this process well into the twentieth century as a low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints.
Recently, Small has been extensively experimenting with pinhole photography. Pinhole cameras can be purchased or home made. It is a light-proof box with a tiny pinhole in one side to let in light from a scene that is directed onto photographic film or paper on the other side of the box—essentially, a camera with a pinhole instead of a lens, otherwise know as camera obscura. The photographer then determines the amount of time to let light in for the desired exposure.
She says she is interested in this form of photography, “because sometimes you end up with unexpected results that may end up better than originally envisioned.” Although she does not claim to be an expert in this, the goal was to add a dimension of creative ideas that serve her concept of “Unifying Creativity.”
In October 2017 Nicole Small opened her new portrait studio specializing in black and white film photography. Contact her for more information.
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