Photo by - myself (I clicked the shutter with my toe - thank you Gymnastics for the flexibility)

Hi, I’m Nicole. I’ve had a camera in my hand ever since I can remember. My Grandpa + Dad always were photographing my family - from birthday’s to baseball tournaments to even us dancing to Veggie-Tales (Fave Song: Oh, Where is my hairbrush?, by Larry the Cucumber). When my Grandpa passed away (2007) and we started making his picture boards for the services - I realized how little photos we had of him in them. It was a startling discovery when I realized I had very few captured memories with him; however, thumbing through our images, I found one image that has stuck with me: At my aunt’s wedding, my brother (age 7 at the time) is opening the door for my Grandpa - of course his camera was in his hand because he never set it down - but he decided to snap a photo of Eric holding the door open. In the reflection of the glass door, you can see my Grandpa and his passion for photography and capturing raw and authentic moments of the ones he loved. Such a silly photo of my brother turned into this sort of icon in my life. One that reminds me of how important it is to love all the small things in life and make those into these beautiful memories + moments in time. One that reminds me to hold my Grandpa’s passions close as I share in them day to day. And most importantly, to love love the way he did and has passed on to my family.

At my 8th grade graduation, 6/8/2007, my Grandpa bought me my first “big-deal” camera - the Canon Rebel XSi. I cried - no seriously - sobbed; and 4 days later, my Grandpa’s journey on earth ended, and he began his journey to Heaven. Photography left this immense, and undeniable imprint on my heart and soul because of him. I have boxes of all of his old camera’s that I love to rummage through and make new discoveries. When I say discoveries - I mean find old-new memories. (On a side-note to this, he loved to label everything, including his batteries he would buy and stash in his camera bag). One day, I was going through one of his camera bags, looking for some inspiration and hoping they would speak to me. I pulled out a battery pack and saw the label in Sharpie and giggled a little - then I saw what it read: 9/24/1992. For those of you who don’t know, I was born 9/22/1992. As chills ran up and down my spine and the hair stood up on my arms, I found my purpose. To capture stories the way my Grandpa captured all of ours. That battery pack filled the flash he had so neatly packed in his camera bag. Those batteries helped capture my first moments earth-side from my Grandpa’s eyes.

On that note: I’m Nicole. Most days you can find me spoiling my 3 puppies (JK - they're actually huge German Shepherds, so definitely not puppies), camping at the motocross track - camera always in hand, crying over Grey's Anatomy (for the 58th time - I am not ashamed to say I have rewatched all of the seasons that many times or more), or headed to my favorite place as often as possible - Wyoming. The thing I love most about photography is capturing love in it's most authentic and raw form (AKA Eric opening the door acting silly) and being able to look at each story I captured in the future; and, remembering how I was trying so hard not to get all teary-eyed behind my camera - yes, I'm a sap, and I love love!

“I’m not a mess, but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, I say, “For the same reason I laugh so often—because I’m paying attention.” I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.”