Looking at Nicolette Passerello's photographs, you couldn't help but think of a psychedelic summer in California. Hazy and carefree, you can almost feel the wind in your hair. The warm beaming sunrays blend seamlessly with bright acid colors; images melt together to create a picture postcard. Her photos emit the effortless, vintage cool of the '60s to '70s.
Well, no surprise there – Nicolette was born and raised in sunny Southern California. "I have lived an active lifestyle ever since I was little, always eager to explore my surroundings and travel to somewhere new. This spirit of adventure and closeness to nature is ingrained in me, and I find it to be a central theme in my work. I am currently shooting as a hobby (yes, I work a desk job that is totally unrelated!) but I’m definitely looking to open up my realm of possibilities to photography/creative direction as a career."
If she's not taking photos, Nicolette says that she's most likely reading. She enjoys browsing through old camera books and manuals, finding inspiration from one vintage photoshoot to the next. Hiking and cruising on her skateboard also keep her preoccupied – anything that makes her feel free and gets her blood pumping makes her a happy lady!
Hi, Nicolette. How did you get started in photography?
My start in photography came quite naturally. With my family and I always going on road trips and traveling when I was younger, I couldn’t help but bring my pink CoolPix digital camera along and capture everything around me. I always wanted these memories in tangible form to look back on years down the road. However, I have only been shooting film for about 5 years now. I am fortunate enough to have an awesome boyfriend who let me borrow his Canon A-1 while we were camping a while back. This was my first time shooting film and I instantly fell in love.
What do you love about film photography?
Patience is the main thing that attracts me to film. Not knowing how the frame will exactly turn out or how an expired roll will look, has taught me a lot about patience and persistence. There is this certain feeling of joy you get when you finally get to see that shot you nailed a few weeks back, or when you finally figure out how to correct a certain mistake with aperture or shutter speed. I also very much enjoy the nostalgic feeling that film gives to photos such as the grain, as well as the unique colors and contrast.
Among your photographs, which one best represents you?
I chose this photo mainly because it was the first photo that I was genuinely proud of. It was the first time where I really felt as though I was getting the hang of how double exposures work in terms of lighting and layers. I shot this photo alone one night by the sea. First I took a shot of my shadow in this beautiful patch of light in my apartment and then I went down by the sea during dusk to capture the second frame. Having a vision and expectation in my head beforehand, I was filled with joy when I got the film back and saw that I had executed my vision quite well.
What do you like most about California?
This state is beautiful and there is so much to like, but I must say that I love how geographically diverse it is. One day I can visit the ocean, the next day I can go to the desert and then to the mountains! The creative possibilities are endless in this gorgeous state, with so much variety of scenery. It is definitely a photographer's heaven!
You have a very cinematic vision. What inspires you?
Thank you! I appreciate that. What inspires me most is the natural world. The earth in itself is such a beautiful work of art and it has so much to offer in terms of inspiration. I am also very much inspired by the supernatural and the unknown. To be able to capture the natural world as if it were a dream I have not had yet is a goal in regards to my overall vision. This is why you may notice in most of my photographs a seemingly simple scene filled with vibrant colors and/or layers. I see my surroundings in many different shades and textures— I believe there is so much more to this world than what meets the eye.
To see more of Nicolette's photographs, follow her on Instagram: @novanicolette.