Interview: Photographer Nicolette Bardos
Photography has a truly magical community and how it works within itself is even more so. Nicolette Bardos has a magnetic vision and upon the chance to get to know her and her career more, we are even more inspired and bigger fans of her’s!
What’s the story of how you got into photography and end up pursuing your passion?
It’s hard to say when I first really picked up a camera. As a kid I was obsessed with my little IZOD camera (that makes me feel ancient) as well as my sister’s Polaroid camera. When it comes to portraits of people, it was early high school when me and some of my friends would do “fashion shoots” of each other just for fun and honestly it took off from there! (I should do a blog post of all of my first “photoshoots.” So adorable and also hilarious.) I shot and shot and learned as I went. Before I knew it, people were asking me if I would take their senior photos, their family photos. From there, it escalated. I realized that I could really go somewhere with this, so I kept it up and really pushed myself. Over time, I grew it into a full time business, and that has been my primary job ever since.
How would you distinguish your style?
Hmm. A lot of my work has often been described as romantic and whimsical because of how I use light. Definitely colorful, and natural I would say. I have been diving more into edgier looks recently too though. I’m always trying to experiment, and it definitely varies based on the person in the photo. But overall, light use is just my biggest thing.
I have always been an “available light” shooter — whether that is outdoors with the sun, the way a room is lit, crazy shadows, etc. I would see and capture light that inspired me, and manipulate it too. It wasn’t until college that I learned how to use strobes and all kinds crazy equipment. And that taught me A LOT and really helped me grow my style. I still shoot pretty naturally/ acoustically on location though!
Any special or particular experiences that being a photographer has brought you?
Oh wow, I don’t even know how I could narrow it down. My heart is constantly so full, with how much this career has brought me. I started from the very bottom, and have built a business that supports me and has given me incredible opportunities. Just creating art and working with other people, making connections, is the biggest reward to me. I’ve met SO many people through photography. It has also given me the opportunity to travel a lot, and right now it is why/how I live part time between Colorado (where I am from) and California. Each state brings me a lot of different opportunities. I love it. It is hard to keep me in one place!
What is your dream location and why?
Oooh. This is a tough one. SO many different places inspire me. But, I would have to say, there is a place in New Mexico that one of my best friends and I are dying to shoot at. She is also a photographer! (and one of my early photographic subjects! Ha.) We actually are trying to take a road trip out there sometime this year to do it, so I guess I will let it be a surprise ;)
What was your last shoot like?
My last shoot was actually with a newer model, and we shot in a little local beach town! It was one of her first shoots, so I had her just bring some simple pieces/looks, and little/no makeup. When a model is on one of her/his first shoots, I always encourage simplicity and rawness so that they can really get to know their own look, and build confidence from it. It’s definitely different than working with super experienced talent — and not in a bad way at all. People trust me to help make them comfortable in front of the camera, and I value that trust a lot! I do all I can to help them grow and learn and become confident. It’s exciting, and my favorite thing. And I strive to do this with everyone I photograph — not just models.
In a nutshell, could you explain the photographic industry from your perspective and experience?
Oh man. That’s a tough one. It’s definitely so broad, and I dabble in several areas! Fashion, lifestyle, commercial, weddings, couples, and families and seniors too still. Seriously all kinds of portraits. And each “industry” is so different. There is honestly a lot of…variety. I could write a small novel on a lot of it to be honest LOL just from what I’ve experienced and seen and such. But I will spare you all your time on that.
But in general, you will find some communities of artists and creative who love to connect, work with each other, learn from each other, and share and help one another. Which is SO cool. And so crucial, if you ask me. It brings so much magic to the industry and peoples’ work, to collaborate and create together. Sadly there will always be egos and negativity and other lame things too in some areas, but I like to just focus on growing the good :)
If by some unfortunate regression of our species that resulted in the nonexistence of photography, what would you be doing instead?
LOL! The thought of that terrifies me. WHAT WOULD I DO!? Probably sleep more, relax more, have more of a social life. HA. But really, luckily my squirrelly personality has me always involved in a ton of random things in many different areas. I function so much better with my plate completely full. So, honestly, its hard to say, but I would probably just be extra focused on other areas of my life. I am working towards another career in the mental health field, so I would probably be deeper into that by now.
What do YOU see and feel when you look at your photos?
This varies a lot for me. I always of course strive to produce work that is aesthetically pleasing or interesting. But on top of that, and more importantly, I like to capture just that — a feeling. The emotion of the subject, the vibe of the atmosphere, something that strikes a cord with the viewer even if it’s totally different than what I see. A memory triggered, a feeling provoked — something deeper than just a pretty image. A lot of the times when I share my work online, I pair it with excerpts from some of my writing which helps add even more to the story if there is one. I’m all about the feels.
Is there anything, anything at all, we didn’t ask about that you’d like to share?
I would love to just tell other artists of all kinds, to keep making strides forward.
Stay true to your vision.
Use your art as platform for expression and as a VOICE.
Your work doesn’t have to “be like everyone else’s” in order to be “good” or powerful. You don’t need fancy equipment to create something beautiful.
I also just want to say that as artists of the 21st century, where social media is such a big part of our lives, we as artists and creatives have a lot of power in that area. And as with anything, sometimes that power is abused. It creates falsehoods, unrealistic expectations, self doubt and more when we see certain images. But I think we should focus our efforts to make it the opposite of that. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that one of us individually can’t make an impact or change, but I just really urge all to see that this isn’t true. The ability we have to create and maintain an industry that is positive, safe, healthy and something to be proud of IS real. And I’m always so proud to see when people are making waves in that direction. Our opportunities to connect with one another to create, inspire, influence and share are HUGE! And they should be used not just to empower ourselves, but each other and everyone around us.