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“Through the Lens of a Photographer”

Teen Mindset Magazine had the honor of interviewing Julia Nichols, who loves photography. Discover in the interview below how photography has impacted Julia and has enabled her to experience new things such as the amazing opportunity to go to Portugal with National Geographic.


Why did you first start photography?

“I can’t think of one exact moment that I fell in love with photography. My passion began in elementary school. Photography has been a hobby of  my dad’s since he was a child, and he took the time to learn how to use his cameras, so with him as my role model, I knew it was something I wanted to try. Then it became a way for me to pass the time and enjoy events I was reluctant to attend, such as my brother’s soccer games or forced family fun. Eventually, this led me to take photography electives and learn and grow in a more structured way. I began taking classes and practicing when I realized that not only did I love photography, I was a decent photographer. I bring my DSLR camera on every trip I take, whether that’s a trip to the park or a trip abroad. I don’t have the nicest equipment, the most experience, or professional training, but photography is something I love, so I’ve invested time into learning about it.”

How has photography affected your view of the world?

“Photography is the lens through which I see the world. With time, I have been able to see the world differently because photography teaches the power of perspective. The perspective photography has given me is that every culture, every person, every plant, every place, every seemingly mundane thing has a beautiful story to tell when you open yourself up to seeing it.”  

What was it like to go on the National Geographic Student Expedition?

“Traveling with National Geographic Student expeditions is an experience like no other. I spent 12 days in Portugal for a high school photography workshop, combining my passions of photography, travel and adventure. At first, I was nervous because I walked into JFK (airport) without knowing anyone or what to expect, but by the time we were at the gate, just hours later, friendships had already begun forming. Learning more about photography from National Geographic photographer, Krista Rossow, was incredible, and it was interesting to hear about what it is actually like to work as a travel photographer. One of the coolest aspects of this experience was that it brought me close to people I had only just met and taught me more about myself, photography and life than I ever could have imagined. This trip reminded me that growth doesn’t come from comfort zones, and I’m grateful for this experience.” 

How do you plan to continue to embrace your love for photography in the future?

“As of right now, I’m utilizing photography as a journalism fellow at my school and as an intern, but also, just for fun. I’m not exactly sure what my future holds and whether I’ll study photojournalism and entrepreneurship or film studies or something entirely different, but I do know that wherever I go, I will have a camera in tow. I may pursue professional photography, or I may find a way to implement photography into my career, I honestly don’t know.” 

Why do you value photography?

“Photography has taught me how to look for the light and capture the beauty around me. It brings me joy, makes me think creatively and focus on one thing at a time. Specifically, film photography has taught me about intentionality. I have learned the power in candid moments and telling stories, without ever having to use words. I value photography because I am able to convey a feeling so that moment lives on longer and share that feeling with others. There’s also a lot of room for interpretation.”

In what ways do you think photography can evoke change in the world?

“Photographer Bruno Barbey said, “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world,” which is why I think it has the potential to be a force for good in our world. Photographs often evoke emotions, and every single person on this planet could walk up to the same scene, but none of us would end up with the same photo because we each see things differently and feel differently in the moment. What we choose to capture reflects what is important to us, and in today’s climate, it seems as though everyone is a photographer taking photos for their social media feed, but to me, photography is so much more than that. It is a beautiful artform that allows each of us to document how we see the world and use our voices without ever having to open our mouths.”

Thank you Julia for giving us a glimpse of your experience as a photographer! This was so insightful, and Teen Mindset Magazine wishes you the best of luck as you continue upon the journey of accomplishing your dreams. You are such an inspiration!

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