Beach photography // Nicole from Beachradish

Sunday, June 28, 2015
One day I was just checking my Instagram account when I found Beachradish's profile. There are a lot of photographers' accounts on IG, but this one was particularly interesting and I was suddenly caught.
Beachradish's style is a mix between beach life photography, blurry images, soft feelings... The eye behind the lens is Nicole - she describes her work as "impressionist photography" and she says that "her creative inspiration comes from the 'being human' experience we all share, the art of interpretation, and the beautiful coastal environment of southern California".
There are no better words to describe her works and I don't exaggerate when I call her an artist.

So, I was completely charmed and couldn't wait no more. I am so excited to post the interview she agreed to have with Surfragette!
I hope you enjoy it!

SURFRAGETTE: Hi Nicole! Thank you so much for sharing your story with Surfragette! What did it lead you to become a photographer? How did your journey start?

NICOLE: I’ve always enjoyed photography. My first camera was a Kodak Ektralite 10 camera - it carried 110 speed film .. the kind that looked like a dumbbell. I was probably 7 or so and took pictures of things that seven year old girls like to photograph.

In college I graduated to a 35mm Nikon FM2. This was given to me by a friend, along with a Time Life book, "Light and Film” that was originally published in 1971. I read, but mostly I played around - teaching myself concepts like exposure, f-stops, and film speed. You had to remember what was in your mind’s eye when you took a picture, remember the settings, and then wait for the film to be developed before you could decipher what the right combination might be for a given subject or ambient light. I used black and white film almost exclusively - and shot almost all landscapes. 

Along with half the photographers on the planet, I’d say Ansel Adams inspired me the most - you could always *hear* the stillness and serenity in his images. He didn’t just photograph places: there is something about his images that captures a timelessness of feeling. One image in particular, “The Scripps Pier”, is still one of my all time favorite images. Taken almost 50 years ago in 1966, it could be yesterday - two surfers walking on a sandy shore with a flock of seagulls combing the nearby shoreline. Only the downtown La Jolla skyline might suggest that it wasn’t yesterday.

S: Your photos have an interesting touch. How did your style grow and become Beachradish's signature?

N: About four years ago, I joined a group called 365project. I’d long since traded in the camera for other professional work - a mix of science, medicine, and business. I still took pictures of my friends ... their weddings, their first babies … but it was always a hobby. Joining 365project pushed me once again to pick up the camera everyday - I started to pause a little longer, walk the alleys in my home town, and talk to strangers. And I L O V E D it! 
If you haven’t read Alexandra Horowitz’s “On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation”, please consider it. It is very much about awareness, being mindful, and appreciating your space through different  perspectives. 

What I realized with 365project was that I wanted more than the photograph - that crisp detail that so clearly defines a scene - I wanted more ambiguity, to distill the image down to a feeling. So that it wasn’t so much about the thing being photographed, but what it might feel like to be there, watching that scene. 
Even though I switched to digital about 10 years ago, I’ve always continued to use my DSLR the same way I would use my Nikon FM2 - full manual, paying close attention to exposure, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed … focusing, then de-focusing. My first “blurry” image was “One Watches” - I was focusing my lens, and as I passed through various stages of an unfocused image, I realized that there was distillation of feeling. No distraction from the details presented by an individual’s features, or clothing - just the essential elements: person, long board, sand, and a hint of water. Over exposed - a bright, marine-layer filled morning. 
It was near heresy when I posted it on 365project. Wan’t the point of photography to capture exquisite detail? To exactly reproduce the thing that you see? I’m after the feeling - the mood, the ambience. I decided detail distracted from feeling - I’ve been shooting a blurry image ever since!

S: Most of your photos have been taken by the shore. What is your relationship with the ocean and the beach?

N: Salt. Sand. Water. Add in an overcast morning. Our two dogs, Elvis & Milo. And a camera slung over my shoulder. This is a perfect morning. I used to be there every morning around 7am - earlier if catching the sunrise required it. It’s impossible for the day to be bad when you start it this way.

The ocean is my peace. It is my zen place. It is where I feel most grounded. There is a certain kind of person that gets up at the crack of dawn to take the dogs to the beach - and so there is camaraderie here, too. Familiar smiles and greetings for humans and dogs alike. The surfers who come here get that - it’s a local’s spot, for sure, but a welcoming one.

S: What are you inspired by while taking pictures? And what would you like to communicate to people?

N: Like most photographers (I think), I capture moments - mostly feelings. My favorite images are the ones that have an ambiance and a feel. Not everyone likes a blurry image. Photography purists seek crisp detail and perfect light.

I still take black and white images as well - images where the detail is part of the story, but the absence of color allows the viewer’s imagination to play. I guess this is what I hope people discover with my photography - that what they see in the images is more about their story, experience, and their feelings. The lack of detail creates an opening for the mind to fill it in with whatever they would like it to be.

S: Do you have any advice for young photographers who'd like to take their style outside the common standards?

N: Always be true to yourself and your style. Have courage. Experiment and play. SHARE your images. Follow other photographers whose work you admire, even if the style is different.

Thank you again Nicole for being here and sharing your experience with all of us. It's always a pleasure to chat with such interesting people like you!

Don't forget to visit Beachradish's website and Instagram account to learn more about Nicole and her works.

Credits // Author: Marta Tomasini and Nicole Boramanand. Photography: all credits to ©Beachradish Images

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