Photography Month Spotlight: Nicole Hanhan

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Today we are continuing our celebration of National Photography Month. I am pleased to present the work of Nicole Hanhan. Her images are often fun and always thought provoking. 

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We recently interviewed Nicole about her photography. Here is what she said.

TN: How did you get started in photography?

NH: I got started in photography initially as a model, photo assistant, stylist and makeup artist.  I had so many ideas for images I wanted to create, paint - make something from but I didn't have the technical skills.  When a project came along, I looked around for photogs to shoot it and finally decided after a lot of hemming and hawing that it would be best if I just tried myself to bring the concept to life.  I fell in love with the process and kept going.

TN: What is your favorite subject to shoot?

NH: My favorite subjects to shoot are people.  I do everything but I really love people.  I'm a writer by nature so the opportunity to bring stories to life through moments seen in people's faces and bodies is always fun for me.

TN: Who influenced you to become a photographer?

NH: I was influenced by a friend back in the day named Anthony Cornelison - an amazing photographer and really just an incredible artist in general.  He really leaned on me to give it a try.  He saw something in me.  

TN: Where do you show your work?

NH: My work has been shown in a handful of locales in DC: Tryst, Eighteenth Street Lounge, Marx Cafe and most recently Ultimo Lounge.  I don't spend a lot of time and energy selling my work since I sort of suck at it, but other people do and I've been fortunate enough to sell a lot of prints by word of mouth.

TN: What is your favorite setting?

NH: My favorite settings to shoot are typically streets and anywhere my subject comes alive.  

TN: What kind of equipment do you use?

NH: I use whatever equipment I can get my hands on.  I've been robbed quite a few times so I've lost a lot of equipment but for now I'm shooting with a Sony a900 and saving for some awesome lenses.  Before I shot with Nikon with vintage primes.  I'll shoot with whatever.

TN: What advice do you have for those thinking of entering the photography business?

NH: My advice in general is just to shoot - to make things.  If you have an idea, follow it.  See where it goes and don't try to monetize everything.  That ruins the purity of the process.  Money comes but you've got to get your feet wet.  Besides, as money does start to trickle in, you can't believe anyone would pay you to do something you would do for nothing.  That being said, don't let people push you around either by low balling you for work they want to hire you for.  Don't let them tell you you can put it in your portfolio because as we all know, if you wanted them in your folio, you'd approach them, not vice versa.
As a side note, discomfort makes for great visual fodder, same with writing and with any art form.  That's why it's important to go places you haven't been even if they're in your own town.

Below is a gallery of some of Nicole's work. Click on a photo to open the complete gallery in a lightbox.

See more of Nicole's work at Nicole Hanhan