© Michael Nissman

© Michael Nissman

“Photography allows me to be honest, to be free, to be ever present, and to honor my subjects and the world around me.” – Nicole Canegata

Polaroid Love <3

Polaroid Love  – © Nicole Canegata

I was inspired by my father’s photo obsession at a young age. He first handed me a Polaroid camera at age 10 – gave me a quick tutorial and requested that I take an outdoor portrait of him in his military uniform because my mother could not take a ‘straight’ picture to save her life! He was surprisingly impressed and satisfied with the prints – one of my proudest photographic moments to date! Little did he know, he awoke the budding photographer inside of me; however, it was not until later on in life that I would explore my photographic potential and skills. 

My undergraduate studies in International Relations at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, in 2001 provided the opportunity to work as a print and commercial model, and I became fascinated with the artistic and technical process behind the lens, while in front of it. It wasn’t until I participated in Semester at Sea my senior year, a study abroad program where I lived on a ship for 100 days, circumnavigating the globe and visiting 10 different countries, that I caught the ‘travel bug’ and knew photography and traveling would become life-long passions of mine. I purchased my first digital SLR camera in 2007, and life was never the same! 

My First Canon SLR Camera - self portrait

My First Canon SLR Camera -Self Portrait

In November 2010, I was approached by a local art studio director, Francis Thomas Capone (now a great friend of mine) to have my first solo exhibit at his space, macheteMachete Art Studio. My solo debut: The Traveling Lense in January 2011, featured a collection of travel photos depicting everyday life around the globe. My show’s success was the catalyst that inspired me to follow my dream and augment my passion with formal instruction. 

"The Traveling Lense" - my first solo exhibit

“The Traveling Lense”

On January 3rd, 2012, I ended one chapter of my life, to begin a new one. I decided it was time to “follow my bliss” – so I quit my Financial Research Editor position of 8 years, said goodbye to my beloved island home and relocated to Santa Barbara, CA to pursue my second degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Photography at Brooks Institute.

I recently graduated from Brooks in April 2014 and am now working as a freelance commercial / editorial photographer – check out my photography website to see my work, and photo blog for the latest updates. I cannot tell you how proud I am to have remained on course, and how excited I am for the opportunities that await me and the chance to travel some more! I am infinitely grateful for the knowledge I have gained, lessons learned and skills acquired while on this artistic and creative journey. I am living, breathing and dreaming photography and could not be happier! 

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