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Gizella Nyquist

Spotlight Info

head shot of photographer and featured artist at the California Center for Digital Arts in Orange County, Gizella Nyquist
Portfolio Title Unknown
Year of Publication 2015

Spotlight Description

By enrolling at the California Center for Digital Arts, what were your goals as a photographer?

I wanted to deepen my knowledge of photo editing tools, such as Lightroom and Photoshop. I also wanted a better understanding of Fine Art Photography, and possibly take my photographic career that route. Finally, I hoped to pick up some more about using speed lights, although I am primarily a natural light photographer.

Did you achieve your goals?

I certainly gained a much deeper knowledge of the photo editing tools, and by now I’ve started teaching them to others. In Bob Killen’s class I learned that using these tools is far from “cheating”, in fact, they are almost required, especially when we shoot in raw. I am not ashamed of manipulating my images anymore, I think of these tools as my digital painting palette.

With the Fine Art Photography I am not exactly where I hoped to be, but Bob Killen’s class definitely gave me the foundations. My art class with him was a shorter version prior to starting the currently offered course. Just by following the news about his current class and his students I can see, how much farther he can take them with the extended syllabus.

I am about to launch a natural light, on location children’s and family portrait photography business. My long-term goal is to use my fine art photography and photo manipulation skills, and create fine art children’s portrait pieces.

What is your most memorable photo experience in your career?

During the first year of living in California, I regularly drove by a closed area that used to belong to the El Toro Airbase in Irvine. All buildings were torn down, but for some reason they didn’t destroy two playgrounds; the play equipment was still standing. I always got a strange feeling while looking in the direction of the playgrounds, and I always wished I could photograph them before they were gone.

In 2013 I had a few of my El Toro photographs in an exhibit and during the show I met one of the Legacy Project photographers. I talked to him about the playgrounds, and to my biggest surprise, he was able to take me inside the closed area. While there, it felt like one of my dreams had come through. The playgrounds are now destroyed, and a new development is being built in the area. I am very glad that I was able to capture the place before it was all gone.

What famous photographers do you draw inspiration from?

Trey Ratcliff has inspired me a lot with his unique view of photography (and the World), as well as with his HDR photography skills. Joel Grimes, Brooke Shaden and Julienne Kost are very inspirational to me when it comes to compositing images. My most favorite and inspirational children’s photographers are Tamara Lackey and Kristi Sutton Elias.

What is your favorite class at the CCDA?

I’ve attended a workshop at the Salton Sea. I very much enjoyed spending time with photographers who had similar interests, and taking pictures of a decaying area – which topic really fascinates me. I had also taken images at the former El Toro Airbase, mostly recording the last breaths of the hangars that were still standing.

David LaVene made it easy for us at the Salton Sea to cover a large area by taking us to the most interesting places we could record with our cameras. I would highly recommend taking a workshop with CCDA.

What photo project are you working on now?

During the Salton Sea workshop I was encouraged to try out a new technique, which then inspired me to revisit locations in my birth city, Budapest, and take pictures of them differently. I had photographed these places hundreds of times, but by using this new technique I can give my photographs a new meaning. Since I’ve lived half of my lifetime in the US, my way of thinking and my view of the world and of Hungary have changed very much. My goal with this new thematic is to show these changes.