“I love it when I get into the zone and just shoot as I go, and let random ideas happen,” says Sydney-based photographer, Nicole Wells. Wells began her journey into her creative zone five years ago, when a book on photography inspired her to try it for herself. “I did it backwards,” Wells says. “I got the [photography] book before owning a camera.” That did not slow her progress. Wells started with portraits of her family, one of which was awarded a Highly Commended at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. After a second place at the next show she entered, Wells was invited to enter Add On, a part of the Head On festival. Then in 2014, she was a finalist in Head On, and was published in the New York Times. Wells also won the photography section of the Gosford Art Prize.

Wells considers herself to be primarily a studio portrait shooter, enjoying the control over lighting and scenes. “My work is hard for me to define,” she says. “I love portraiture with a bit of a twist, I guess you could say.” Wells explains that some of her work has darker themes underlying the image, while other images have a vintage style that takes the viewer back to a different era. Whatever Wells is shooting, it is creativity that is important to her. “I think there is a kind of magic that happens when you shoot. It’s such a fun creative process, from the idea to the image itself.”

There are layers of complexity within the images she shoots. “In other portraits [there] are things like having my daughter’s hair wrapped around her neck,” she says. “Same as the image of my eldest having no mouth;
people can make up their own story, if they view the work without my artist statement.”

As well as her desire to have her first solo exhibition, Wells has a straightforward plan for the future. “I want to keep pushing myself to become better and better,” she says. “I’ve really been enjoying the journey of learning to be a photographer. Photography has been so good, both for, and to me.”