Nelly Mirabel is a senior in the Kent State merchandising program. She works with photography, textile design, and fashion styling. Most recently, Nelly has been working on a photography series titled Light and Dark, focusing on individual portraiture. We at A magazine caught up with her to learn more about her many creative talents and what she has been up to lately.
How did you get interested in photography? Are you self-taught, or did you learn from somebody else?
N- I got interested in photography through watching my old friends in Baltimore. When I transferred to Kent, I wanted to start taking pictures of my outfits so I bought a used camera on ebay and I went on from there. With the help of Google and YouTube, I learned everything I know today. I also work in the VCD Photo Studio, so I tend to observe what the photo students are doing and always ask questions if I have any. I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram and Tumblr, so I when I see something interesting, I just ask them how they did it and try to get advice from them.
What projects have you been working on lately? Is there anything that particularly excites you?
N- I have been working on this project called Light and Dark inspired by African photographer Emmanuel Afolabi. I saw it work on Instagram and I just loved how the subject lit and the whole background was dark, so I kind of try to recreate that in my own way.
What subjects inspire your photography? What do you think makes for a strong photograph?
N- I love photographing people; but I also take pleasure in shooting architecture and landscape. I think what make a strong photograph is an image that captures people’s attention. If someone looks at your work, and can stare at it for more than a few second, I say that a good photograph. Then again, I am new to all of this!
Do you find a correlation between the work you do in merchandising and the creative work you do outside of class?
N- Merchandising is very analytical whereas Photography is more creative. And that is why I do both; I need to be able to express myself in both ways.
If you could photograph anyone, who would it be- and why?
N- To be honest, everyone. I am so very observant, so they are littles things here and there that I notice about people that I would love to showcase through portraits; their fashion style, makeup, hair, whatever it is.
Do you relate photography to textile design in any way?
N-Yes, a lot of my prints start off from photographs I have taken. I take the images into Photoshop and illustrator, and play around with it until I get something desirable.
What about textiles makes you want to create your own? How does fabric inspire your designs?
N- It all start as a class assignment that I was given in my Fashion Technology and from there I was hooked. Just like photography, the possibilities are endless, the only thing that limits you is your imagination. I get inspired by everything; architecture, nature, music and people. I design for the minimalistic; those people that still want to wear prints and patterns but in a subtle way.
What limits you in your creative work? How do you get past that?
N- I think what limits my creative work is my merchandising course work. Because of being so analytical, and because I have been doing merchandising for a longer period of time, it is really hard to get out of that business-like mindset. How do I get past it? Uhm. I don’t know to be honest. I don’t really think I have gotten past it because looking at my work, even though I can see I am progressing and getting better, I don’t think it’s the most creative thing that’s ever been created. It mostly has to with the environment I am in now. Only in a creative environment will I be able to create amazing work.
If you could give advice about the creative process to someone who is just starting out, what would you tell them?
N- I say just do it! Whether it’s not your major or even your career choice; if you like it or have the slight interest in it, give it a shot.
Is there anything else you would like the readers of A Magazine to know about you?
N- I am always looking for new faces to photograph so if anyone is interested, let me know!
Nelly Mirabel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org about her photography.