Sunday, July 27, 2014

Marjorie Nichols: A Family Photographer with a Sense of History

Marjorie Nichols: A Family Photographer with a Sense of History

By Doug Holder

I met Marjorie Nichols on a crowded morning at the Sherman Café in Union Square, Somerville.. The place was buzzing.  At the table across from me was Greg Jenkins of the Somerville Arts Council conferring with some other artists, and on hand throughout the café was the usual band of businessmen, young bohemians, students,  earnest non-profit types pontificating about foundation grants, mothers with screaming kids, etc…

Nichols, originally from Pittsburgh, has made Somerville her home since 1978, and has a space at the Vernon Street Studios in our city.  She told me that Somerville is a good spot for her because, as she said: “ I love the progressive, open-minded people and creative thinkers who live here.” As for the Vernon St. Studios she is quite pleased to be there as well. She said: “ I needed a place to meet my clients, and the owners are very supportive of the tenants."

Nichols stated in an article in Photographer’s Formulary  that, “Without photographs we have no history.”  And indeed, Nichols follows her clients and families for years--generation to generation. She has an intimate sense of their family history. Nichols reflected: "I use black and white film made of silver print, not digital frames--- although I am not adverse to digital.” And in fact Nichols is experimenting with cellphone photography and some of her photos will be displayed at an exhibit  at the Stonecrop Gallery in  Ogunquit, Maine.

For Nichols photography is an intimate art. She said” I want people to feel I am not there when I shoot. I usually have a phone consultation with prospective clients in advance. I usually make suggestions about clothing, colors, but I don’t want to control them.”

In her youth Nichols was an aspiring painter. But eventually she worked with a neighbor using photographs for holiday gifts. And with this introduction she caught the bug—and the rest is history, and, well, photography.

Nichols also has her own personal objectives for her art. Her "Reflections” project began when she took a trip to the seacoast. She started to photograph the feet of people walking on the beach. She also stumbled on the reflections of children in the water-infused sand. Nichols thought about it and felt the reflections were more interesting than the feet. She turned the photos upside down for a very stunning affect. This project got an honorable mention in the Santa Fe Center for Photography competition.

As for digital photography Nicholas said: " I don't own a professional digital camera--it is very expensive to do this kind of work.--and I like silver print."

Nichols left the Sherman Cafe, undoubtedly rushing to her next job, here, in the Paris of New England.

for more info go to: Marjorie Nichols 

No comments:

Post a Comment