Would you mind introducing yourself? I’m Nora, an introverted free spirit into film photography and darkroom printmaking. I was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in New York City. I have lived full time in California for the last 15 years, most recently Berkeley and Oakland. I’m actually on a cross country road trip right this moment- heading back to live in New York City. Exactly now, I’m in New Orleans with a packed car, staying in an old grocery store. I love the free feeling of the open road. I consider myself bi-coastal, with a strong connection to my birthplace, as well as the city that raised me. I’m a California girl and a New Yorker rolled in one.
Nora’s Instagram - @noralowinsky
How would you describe your style of photography? I prefer that people see what they see, rather than me telling me them what to look for. I feel like I’m undermining my audience when I instruct them and, in a way, shortchanging myself of a more expansive interpretation of my work. I’d rather you identify with what you see from your own perspective and you tell me.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? As a 13-year-old, in Mexico City on a trip with my dad and brother. My mom and grandmother are Mexican, so it’s a motherland where my senses are heightened.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? I love being in front of the camera, yet I’m completely camera shy. I’m a performer with stage fright. It feels all the more cathartic when I let myself be seen. I’ve been doing that more often these days through self-portraiture and trusting like minded female photographers. Maybe my favourite memory is yet to come. I’ll bet it’s in that realm of conquering fear.
What inspires your photography? Honestly, I noticed that I love making images after sex. It must be hormonal, but also energetic. I can get too heady with taking pictures, wandering around focusing and not clicking because I feel like it’s been done. I don’t want to waste my film being mediocre. So I can spend a whole day off somewhere intending to shoot, but holding back, trigger shy. Post intimacy, I feel open and free and I will snap away. Also before sex, a natural buildup of sensual energy forms and comes forth through my lens. I would say that many of my images are sensual, which is distinctly separate from sexual.
Camera & Editing Process? Contax T3, which has been my go-to camera from day one. When I first began using one, it didn’t have the cult notoriety or high price tag it does now. I am really excited to work with a new camera soon. I also want to say that your camera is no match for your eye and your soul merging. They make whatever camera you use pretty irrelevant. When it comes to my editing process, it can be lengthy, sometimes taking months. I don’t do any work on individual images, but I do take a long time looking at them and deciding which tell a story together and evoke a feeling for me. I like to sit with my photos and thoughtfully process them internally. I only want bangers. Or quiet ones that form a resounding bang together. I love looking back at images years later and finding forgotten ones to love.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Since childhood, Man Ray has always been my favourite. I haven’t looked at his work in a long time, though. I relate to Ana Mendietas’ work these days. I didn’t seek it, but happened to see some rare photographs of hers at a museum a couple of years ago. I come across her images now and then and they just hit me on a deep and primitive level. I look up to artists who use the medium of photography, but who aren’t defined by it. They’re just artists. I don’t look at much photography at all. I’d rather go to the movies or be out in nature.
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you wish more people knew about? Yeah, me. Seriously, but other than myself, Brandy Eve Allen is brilliant, so is Vanessa Rodriguez and Carrie Leilam Love @brandyeveallen @vrod176 @carrielovesya. I love to celebrate my sisters in photography and considering the high-level work these women are putting out, I do think they deserve more attention in the ig sphere. With that said, I also think attention on ig is a lot of smoke and mirrors. Do your work for you. That’s what these artists I named do anyway, which is part of why I admire them.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? Iceland. It seems so still to me. I want to be there and to be still too. I’m gonna hop over.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Summertime. I was born in June, in late spring and my birthday feels like the beginning of juicy summer to me. I love long days and warm nights. I prefer photographing outdoors in natural light. Summer just feels so perfect.
The coolest place you've ever been? I had the best time a couple of summers ago in Mallorca, topless drinking Spanish beer and smoking a hand-rolled stogie in a swimming cove by the sea. Divine vibes.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? I’m on one right now. Travelling cross country has been on my bucket list for a long while. I’m actually not taking a lot of photos, so that I can experience and feel it, but I know the ones I am making will mean a lot to me. I only like to take a photograph when I feel something profound moving me to click. That statement is paradoxical too, since when I am deep in that state I also want to remain there and not try to capture a thing, just enjoy the feeling.
Anything extra you would like to share? That I’m extra - always have been, always will be, forever and ever.
Nora’s Instagram - @noralowinsky
Nora’s Website - www.noralowinsky.com