Rockie Nolan is a narrative fashion and portraiture photographer from West Texas. She is currently a Senior at the Savannah College of Art and Design and will soon relocate to New York City to continue pursuing her career.
TF: Would you mind introducing yourself and your work to our readers?
Rockie: My name is Rockie Nolan, I am a 21 year old fashion and portraiture photographer. I am from Lubbock, Texas and currently in the midst of my senior year at the Savannah College of Art and Design. My work is feminine, airy and narrative.
TF: When were you first drawn to the arts and what drew you?
Rockie: The first fine art that I remember being exposed to was this beautiful book I had growing up of Edgar Degas’ dancer paintings. Beyond that, most of my artistic exposure came from the internet and seeing what all of these people, not much older than I was, were creating. I was really inspired to see people so young making work that was so professional and interesting, it made it seem reachable.
TF: What do you most enjoy about Savannah?
Rockie: I really love the different vibes of Savannah. So many people act as though New York City is the only place worth pursuing art, but I feel like many miss out on different experiences because of this mindset. When I was looking into colleges, I didn’t even consider any schools in NYC because I thought I’d likely end up living there once I graduate and I wanted to give myself some time to explore different settings instead. Savannah has also been a good in-between for me because I grew up shooting only around nature, and Savannah offers plenty of natural landscapes to utilize as well as a decent cityscape.
TF: Where do you find inspiration?
Rockie: Since I was little, I’ve always loved telling stories. After finding photography, I realized there was a whole opportunity to tell stories with images and that was even more appealing to me. Even with very simple shots, I like keep in mind a story for the character as I’m shooting. Since this is so important to the planning of my shoots, finding stories from different places is valuable. I find a lot of inspiration from lyrics by musical artists like Joanna Newsom, Mariee Sioux, Cocorosie and Jenny Lewis.
TF: When did you find photography, and when was it that you decided it was your calling?
Rockie: Photography has been an interest to me since around the age of sixteen but it wasn’t until a year or so after that I started putting more thought into the images I was creating and considering photography as a serious career option.
TF: How is it that you’ve found your niche in photography, what is it that draws you to it specifically?
Rockie: As I began working towards shooting with a story in mind, I realized how important the clothing was to the mood. I became really interested in fashion photography about two years ago when I realized the possibilities it held. As for the aesthetic of my images, I believe that growing up in an area of West Texas that is mostly dominated by farm land and run down buildings is the major reason I am still interested in similar settings for my images.
TF: Do you consider yourself someone that is more technically or conceptually driven in your work?
Rockie: Somewhere in the middle! Technique is important to achieve a certain look to images, be it with certain lenses or the post-processing, but those images, no matter how much equipment you have to make them, are irrelevant without a story behind them. I believe in keeping it balanced to make images that are interesting.
TF: You have a large online presence between your work, your blog, and your online store. We’re curious as to what drew your photography to the web, and how this plays into your work?
Rockie: I was drawn to posting online since it was the first place I took notice of photographic work created by others. It was the most attainable resource I had when I was starting because my high school did not offer photography courses, so I relied on the criticism of others to guide me and viewing work by others to sharpen my eye to find what I wanted to achieve in my own work. Now that I have more grounding in my style, having a following is encouraging to keep creating and posting work. Having a presence has also been beneficial in making contacts and being offered varying opportunities.
TF: Could you tell us a little bit about your online store and how the idea for it came about?
Rockie: I’ve been collecting vintage clothing for a while now, both for use in my images and my own personal style. Many people would contact me asking where I shopped or how I find the things I do. When I realized there was such an interest in it, I decided to open a little online shop. I also get many questions about the processing of my images so I’ve created Photoshop Actions and Curve Presets that are available for purchase. I use the money from sales to purchase other clothing for shoots and equipment.
TF: How do you think the internet will shape the profession of photography in the future?
Rockie: With printed publications becoming harder to keep with our increasingly digital world, I think the internet will likely continue to become a larger medium for sharing work.
TF: With such a large online audience when you concept a piece does the likelihood of it being viewed on a screen augment or change your approach to your work?
Rockie: I think it can be dangerous to post online with an audience when you’re starting out because people see your work and expect your style to remain the same. This becomes an issue when you deviate from it to explore other ideas and find what interests you (especially as a new artist) and get shot down because people want to see work in the style they’ve come to expect. When I first began, my work was pretty different than it is now and as I found what really interested me (the style I’ve worked to now) people would ask when I was going to start making more work like the older things I made. It can be dangerous relying on the internet as a place to post work if you fall into the trap of making work for your audience – but if you can get past that, then it’s definitely the best resource available for beginning artists. I’ve since gotten over this so my focus now is on shooting work that I’m satisfied with and not worrying too much about if it’s what people online are expecting to see.
TF: Given the opportunity who would you most like to work with?
Rockie: I’d love to work with a set and prop designer who could create magical things for me. As for models, I’m currently obsessed with Charlotte Free’s attitude. I’m always looking for designers to collaborate with as well.
TF: In regards to your art how do you define or view success?
Rockie: I make goals for myself every few months to make sure I’m keeping up with where I want to be. It can be too discouraging to look at the huge goals I have (like, you know, cover of i-D or Lula Magazine, shooting campaigns, etc) if I don’t keep smaller ones along with way in mind and give them recognition. As long as I’m attaining my smaller goals continually, then I know I’m on the right path and feel accomplished with where I’m at.
TF: Who are some of your favorite artists?
Rockie: David Hamilton, Poalo Roversi, Anna Gaskell, Ellen Von Unwerth, Tim Walker, Anna Wolf
TF: What are some of your favorite sites?
TF: If you had to share one piece of advice to others what would it be?
Rockie: Don’t wait around for things to happen, make them happen for yourself!
TF: What do you hope to explore artistically next?
Rockie: Motion of two sorts! I am hoping to start creating more short films and also plan to incorporate more motion and action from models into normal still frames.