Happy Couple Duo Kickstarter

Last night I had the pleasure of tagging along with Katy and Zachary of The Happy Couple Duo while they made outdoor art.  They are planning a huge move across the country later this year. They want to stop along the way creating temporary light based art installations.  I think it is a brilliant idea.  The couple is from Cincinnati so before they embark on their journey they decided to begin the project here.  They started a Kickstarter called Traveling At the Speed of Light to help fund some of the equipment they need to be mobile and weather proof while creating these installations.

I met Katy and Zachary at one of my favorite parks, International Friendship Park, where they planned on lighting the 'Castle of Air' sculpture.  I was utterly inspired watching these two interact with each other and the environment on this project.  They are an artistic force.  They work very hard to make these ideas come to life.  If you decide to help fund their efforts, I can say you will honestly be supporting two very dedicated artists.

I fed off of their creative energy and managed to create some very cool images of them using their lights.  I am excited to push this even more when we  collaborate on some future projects.

 Please visit their Kickstarter page to read more about their story and offer a donation if you can.  Every single donation comes with a generous gift.  If you are looking for wedding or event entertainment/lighting they are offering string music, DJ, and lighting  as one of the donation gifts.  Check it out here.

For me, one of the greatest things about this project was seeing how people reacted to it.  Every single person who walked by stopped to chat with the couple about what they were doing.  And every single person was memorized by how beautiful it was.   The sculpture during the day. 

Cincinnati Maternity Photos

  I first got to know Casey when we worked on this 70's inspired shoot  a couple of years ago.  We became instant friends.  She is someone I consider to be a muse.  Whenever we get together, ideas start flowing naturally.  She is such a beautiful woman both inside and out.  I am very lucky to have her in my life.  She is going to be a wonderful, loving moma.

When Casey said she wanted me to shoot her maternity session I was very excited.  We had been talking about doing a darker shoot for awhile.  We used this as our opportunity to push ourselves in that direction.   We came up with sexy, dark, powerful, images that I absolutely love.  Casey is a goddess! I can't wait to meet her little peanut.

MUA: Christine Rice, Location: Mainstay Rock Bar,  Shoes:  Jeffrey Campbell, Hat: Miller Hats

iPhone Self Portraits

Self portraits are a form of therapy for me.  I usually feel the urge to create them when I am going through some kind of change or when I am feeling lost from my life path.  The process of creating self portraits allows me to release whatever it is in me that is holding me back from being fulfilled.  It also allows me to get away from the part of me that is connected to stress and reconnect with my muse.  At the time I made these everything in my life had changed in a very short amount of time.  This was my way of getting through it.  I had just got an underwater case for my iPhone which was perfectly timed with the way that I was feeling.           

The Happy Couple Duo

I met this talented couple, Katy and Zachary,  last month at the Northside Bridal Show at Mayday.  They were showcasing their event entertainment business, The Happy Couple Duo.  I contacted them about setting up a shoot because I was so intrigued with them and wanted to know more about them.

I asked Katy to tell me a little more about how they got started and what they do and this is what she had to say...

"Zachary and I are high school sweet hearts and we met each other while attending The Governors School For the Arts in Virginia, a performing arts high school similar to the one here in downtown Cincinnati. We fell in love in a famous castle in Germany while on an orchestra tour at the puny age of 17.  We've been playing music, collaborating, and creating together ever since, almost 12 years later.

We began playing weddings and private events as a quartet at 17 through our performing arts school connections. We enjoyed the energy at events and decided to grow it into a business. We love to perform together!

We offer string duo and trio, DJ, music arrangement, LED spot and up-lighting, as well as custom artistic light displays. We can arrange any song (pop, jazz, classical, etc.) for violin/viola duet or for violin/viola/bassoon trio. Our string duo and trio music library is the most eclectic and offers the most variety of any other group in the tri-state. Our DJ library is extensive and covers every genre from top 40s to under ground and indie. We are the only music services in the tri-state area to offer DJ, lighting, and Live instrumental music."

Katy does most of the arranging and is working on a book.  They also just got funded through Kickstarter and will have a full length album containing their own violin/viola/bassoon arrangements of popular songs by current and past artists.

Check out their Facebook page and website to see videos of them performing.

 I was drawn to them after hearing them play some of my favorite songs by Queen and Nirvana on violin/viola and because they kept me dancing all night once they started DJing.  Their music selection was diverse and fun.  I had an absolute blast on this shoot.  It wasn't hard to get a smile out of them and their chemistry together is wonderful.

Experimenting with Ross and Laura

Check out this super talented couple I had the pleasure of photographing.  When I called them up to ask to them to do a shoot, I planned on doing environmental portraits for my on going personal project Artists and Their Space.  Once I started shooting, I knew this wasn't just going to be a standard shoot.  I felt free to explore with them, to experiment.  Some things worked, some didn't, but that the beauty of creating.  We shot through light bulbs and light fixtures,  we used oil lamps and fluorescent bulbs.  It was a blast!  

Ross and Laura have been together since they were teens.  Musically, they are a force.  Ross plays guitar in the , The Tongue and Lips and Laura has her own band called Children of the Emerald Fire.  Together they just started a new band called Electric Citizen.  You can see them tonight at The Southgate House Revival.  Check out their demo here, I have been listening non stop.

Torri's Burning Man inspired shoot Cincinnati Photographer

Torri, a friend of mine, took an amazing road trip to the notorious Burning Man festival with a group of friends last year.  When she got back and told me all about it, I had this crazy idea of setting up a shoot inspired by the clothes she wore there.  It was a ton of fun.   I am so happy to finally have time to edit the images.  Our friend Maggie did a fantastic job with Torri's hair and makeup.

First up is an image I shot and processed on my iPhone.

I won! Raw Artist Cincinnati Photographer of the Year

I am so excited to announce that on Thursday I was named Raw Artist's Cincinnati Photographer of the year!  Raw Artists is a nationwide,  independent art organization for artists by artists. Their mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.  I was asked to participate in one of their monthly  shows back in July.  It was a ton of fun.  At the end of their show season they held an online contest and people had to vote for their favorite Raw Artist to represent their city in the national contest.  I was chosen as one of the four finalists.  Thursday was the semi final round where I was judged by the audience and a panel of three local judges.  I was only allowed to display 5 pieces.  I choose to show some pieces from this body of work.  My good friend Marti, of Marti's Floral Designs helped me create an awesome display for my work.  I was so proud to see it all come together.  I hope to have some pictures to post to my Facebook Page soon.  I was a nervous wreck that night... One of my favorite sayings about art is that it is not a competitive sport, but man I wanted to win. :)  At around midnight after all of the voting they announced the winners from each category and I couldn't believe it when they announced my name!  YAY!!!  So the next step is the national awards.  My online portfolio will be judged and the winner will be announced later this year...fingers are crossed!

I want to thank everyone who came out and supported me that night.  You made me feel so special.  This has been a crazy emotional year for me, so I also want to thank all of my friends and family for supporting me and encouraging me to keep fighting for my dreams.  I love you all so much!! xx

California here I come!

I remember being in third grade when I was first introduced to California.  Everyone got a state to do a project on and the state I was given was good old California, a dream was born in the head of a nine year old.  When I was in high school I got obsessed with California again after reading The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, a novel by Tom Wolfe about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.  When I was a little girl it was the beaches and gorgeous weather, as a teenager the obsession came from the lifestyle.  I wanted to grow up to be a hippie who rolled around in a school bus just like the Pranksters did. :)  I finally had my first trip to California a couple of years ago and it was everything I imagined and so much more.  The laid back vibe, the killer weather, the gorgeous landscape. a dream come true!  We had the amazing opportunity to cruise down Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, what an adventure.  It was truly one of the most amazing and beautiful experiences of my life.  Today I am hopping on a plane for another 2 week California adventure.  I am taking lots of cameras and lots of film so I will document it well.

Here are a few pictures from my last trip.

Hi there!

“In order to create, you’ve got to have energy; you’ve got to have clarity.  You’ve got to be able to catch ideas.”

David Lynch

To me, one of the most important parts of my creative process is taking the time to be quiet, to stop thinking and worrying and wondering and to just listen.  I believe silence truly is golden.  When you allow yourself time to withdraw from all of the chaos that surrounds your life everyday, you finally get the chance to hear what you have to say to yourself.  You cannot force creativity and if you spend your life chasing other people's dreams you will never be satisfied or feel fulfilled.  Over the past couple of months I have been spending a lot of time alone, just listening to myself.  Sorting through my thoughts, but mostly just being quiet.  I became a photographer and artist to satisfy  an intense urge I have to express all of the feelings and emotions stirring inside of me .  For as long as I can remember I have been an observer of people.  The way they speak, their body language, the way they interact with each other.  I see the world for all of it's beauty and it's darkness and I appreciate them equally.  It's been nice to get back in touch with this part of me without my camera,  just taking it all in, being present in the moment.  I feel refreshed and utterly inspired.  For those of you who think I have disappeared, I promise I haven't, just taking a little time to feed my soul and listen to my muses. I will be sharing lots of new work soon.  Until then, enjoy this amazing weather and have a wonderful day!  xo Nikita

Beautiful Music Inspired Boudoir NSFW

A crazy, psychedelic, rock and roll, fantasy dream is the best way  I can describe this kick-ass shoot I had with my good friend/model Casey and her amazing and talented make up artist Christine Rice.  Inspired by 60's and 70's music and the feel of old album covers,  I wanted this shoot to be wild and hot.  Casey was so awesome!   She got my vision completely and dug out some amazing pieces from her own wardrobe.

See the 70's inspired wedding shoot I did with Casey a few months ago here.

We started the day out in my car jamming The Doors which inspired a heated discussion between the three of us about  how hot Jim Morrison was.   After about a 20 minute ride we arrived at the location I picked out for the shoot, a field of wild flowers in KY, my favorite place to be.  He we are, 3 girls on a long gravel road in the middle of nowhere, clothes and cameras everywhere, Casey half naked and here come the police. Shit! You should have seen the look on their faces, priceless. :) Thanks to Casey's power of seduction they were super cool about letting us stay and shoot.  How could they say no, right?

We gathered our thoughts and gear and ran into the middle of this amazing field squealing and laughing like little girls.  We were all so excited.  We set up this shoot for nothing but fun and that is exactly what it was.  The sun was low and gorgeous. Casey had a cocktail and was ready to party.  Christine was beside me holding my cameras(thanks Christine) and making sure Casey looked amazing.  I was just trying to take it all in without losing my mind.  We lost a camera (which we later found), a cup of vodka, and a pair of killer sunglasses.  We were covered in bug bites and burs.

Inspiration was running so thick I had to remind myself to breathe.  There is a point in my creative process where I sorta loose control.  I love when it happens.  I let go of fear and  things begin to happen naturally, it's freedom.  Casey totally inspired me to push myself farther that I could have imagined with these. She became my muse and we fed off of each other instinctively.  Over exposed, under exposed, out of focus, smokey sun flare, it was magic I tell you, magic.

****this post contains some artistic nudity, Casey's cool with it, I am cool with it, but If you are not cool with it you might want to turn around now****

Rainbow

As I was sitting in my office yesterday, I was amazed to look out the window and see this.  WOW!  It was the brightest, most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen.  I was lucky to have an up close and personal view from my deck.

Experimenting in the snow

Before this, I had never really done a shoot in the snow.

I wanted to create something dramatic and dreamy.

Jill was beyond amazing to work with.

These are a few I shot with my Polaroid camera using The Impossible Project's Color Shade film for the first time.  I love how creepy cool they turned out.

So much fun!

I am using the down time I have from weddings to work on a few personal projects that have been stirring around in my head.  As an artist I feel it is very important to find a nice balance between the work I get commissioned to do and work I do for myself.  I love when I get the chance to push myself creatively and to experiment, this past weekend that is exactly what I did.  I literally have a photography high right now.  I will have full posts soon.

Dave called her a Nordic Ice Queen.  I think that is the perfect name for these images.  My first real snow shoot. Mason is a very cool artist/gallery owner. I had the pleasure of spending a fantastic afternoon with him yesterday at his home/gallery.  It was wicked cool!

Jen Pritchard and I have been working like mad to get the details together for love+bash.  We officially booked the venue Friday.  We are very excited to share all of the details at love+bash.com later this week!