Interview #13: Nikki de Carlo


CUS: First of all, the most standard question in the book: how did you get into photography?

Nicole DeCarlo: When I first moved to Connecticut, I found myself being quite lonely all of the time, so I tried to keep myself busy with all different things. I started looking through photography websites, and it truly amazed me how people could portray their emotions through photographs. That is when I decided I should give it a try. 


CUS: Tell us a little about where you live.

NDC: Oh, where I live is wonderful! It is sort of in the middle of nowhere, though. I live on a very secluded mountain, with forests surrounding my entire house. It makes me think of enchanted forests from fairy tales.


CUS: What kind of camera do you enjoy using the most?

NDC: I have only really used my Nikon D70.. I think it is lovely. I would love to try using film. 


CUS: Do you feel that your mood affects the type of photographs you produce on a particular day?

NDC: Definitely. When I am feeling wonderful, I think my photographs come out more peaceful and carefree than when I am feeling lonely or caged. 


CUS: If every photograph should contain one key element, what would it be in your opinion?

NDC: Emotion, whether it be dark or light. 


CUS: Who, or what, has been your biggest influence?

NDC: Music is a very big influence to me, especially music from Conor Oberst and Elliott Smith. Their music clears my mind and makes me feel more connected to my true emotions. Happiness also influences me in a lovely way; it makes everything seem beautiful.


CUS: If you could photograph any person (past or present) who would you choose?

NDC: That is hard! There are so many. I would love to capture the pure beauty of Audrey Hepburn, and at the same time I would love to capture the pain that is in Elliott Smith's face. I think photographing Mark Bolan would be fun, too, as well as Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan.


CUS: What are some of your favorite films?

NDC: The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, The Outsiders, Benny and Joon, and Harold and Maude! I really like movies that mess with my mind, as well, like Donnie Darko.


CUS: If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go?

NDC: France.


CUS: Do you have a favorite subject you like to shoot? And why?

NDC: Definitely people, I love how emotion can be shown through body poses. 


CUS: Do you always have preconceived concepts of what you want to shoot?

NDC: I usually have an idea, but it always backfires. Lately I have just been going outside with no concept in my mind at all.


CUS: How much time do you generally spend on a shoot?

NDC: Maybe around an hour and a half, unless I am feeling incredibly inspired! Then I could take pictures all day long.


CUS: If you could be anyone for a day who would you be?

NDC: I would like to be a superhero, so I could fly.


CUS: What’s have you always wanted to photograph but have thought was too hard or difficult to execute?

NDC: I always have trouble when I try to take pictures in water. I have a lot of ideas in my head that involve water, but when I try to execute them, they come out nothing like what I see in my mind.


CUS: What are your other hobbies besides photography?

NDC: I love to sing and play the guitar, piano, and a little bit of drums. I also love to write poems and stories, and dance.


CUS: What is the thing you like the least about photography? The most?

NDC: The least thing I like about photography is when my ideas cannot be executed well enough, or when the camera dies on me. The most is thing I love about photography is how the finished product impacts people.


CUS: What’s playing on your iTunes right now?

NDC: Spoiled - Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. This song makes me want to dance.


CUS: What is your favorite time of day to shoot?

NDC: Very, very early in the morning when everything is so very still, and right when the sun is setting.


CUS: What sort of themes do you try to explore through your photographs?

NDC: Theme-wise I think I bring a little bit of darkness into my photographs, and sometimes peace. I do not know, really..


CUS: Do all your photographs go through some sort of post-processing treatment? And if so what kind of effect do you try to produce through Photoshop/other post-processing tools?

NDC: Yes! I process all of my photographs in Adobe CS3. I am drawn towards blue and purple tones, so I mess around with curves and color balance. I also love what vignetting does.


CUS: What is your favorite photograph that you’ve taken?

NDC: I think "I'm Ready to Break" or "Repressed Reminiscence".


CUS: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you on a photo shoot?



NDC: Oh my.. one time I was at this abandoned house taking photographs of my friend, and these two men pulled their car into the driveway and just sat staring at us. That freaked me out quite a lot..


CUS: What is something that no one knows about you?

NDC: I am very self-conscious, I really worry what people think of me.


CUS: Do you have a favorite photographer?

NDC: I would feel terrible picking just one! There are so very many photographers that I adore; most of them are my contacts.


CUS: Do you believe that with the rise of digital photography the phrase “everyone can be a photographer” is true?

NDC: I do not think so.. I think anyone can take a photograph, but there is a point from which somebody goes from taking photographs to being a photographer.


CUS: What are your plans for the summer?

NDC: I am going to try to be with my friends as much as I can, go to some lovely shows, and maybe I will be going to Florida for a little while.


CUS: Where do you see yourself in 20 years? Do you think that photography will still be a big part of your life?

NDC: I would love to be somewhere completely different from what I am used to, like France. Wherever I am, though, I am sure I will be happy. I hope so! I hope photography is a big part of my life forever.


CUS: What advice would you give to your fellow up-and-coming photographers? 

NDC: Be careful to not compare yourself to other photographers, and do not take photographs to please people. Take photographs that you think are beautiful, it really shines through. 


CUS: Our last interviewee, Arden Wray, wants to know: What is your favorite photograph of all time taken by another photographer? 

NDC: My favorite is always changing so very much, but my current favorite is a tie between "Fancy little houses" by Anna Amphigorously and"dismembered" by advertising amy. Both have such amazing emotion to them. 


CUS: Last but not least, what would you like to ask our next Interviewee?

NDC: If you had only one day to live, what is the last thing you would take a photograph of? 


Nicole Marie DeCarlo from Connecticut, USA

Images provided by Nikki de Carlo. All rights reserved.