When I first started tea&bannock, I knew I wanted some East Coast representation happening. My only problem was getting the word out and finding someone who wanted to participate, on some level, with us. So I did what any normal 30-something does when she needs to get in touch with people – I posted it on Facebook. An online friend, Savvy Simon (pictured above), instantly mentioned Nicole Lapierre. Nicole was doing Savvy’s maternity photos, and when they started showing up on my social media feeds, I was charmed. It was refreshing to see cultural practices acknowledged and shot by an insider, by one of our own.
Then I creeped on her instagram and blog, and I was blown away.
Colour. Skylines. Saturated pools of water. Towering mountains. Smouldering eyes. Intimate kisses. And the travel, oh my, the travel. Turns out Nicole is a highly talented and successful photographer that gets to capture the love stories of people all over the world.
Nicole’s work makes me want to try harder, to open my eyes little wider, and to push myself to aim for those dreams that I don’t dare yet speak of.
Come and meet her.
– tenille campbell
Tell us about yourself and where you come from?
I am a fine art portrait and wedding photographer in Nova Scotia, and travel all over the world to practice my craft. I am Mi’kmaq and have recently become more involved in educating myself with the culture and story of the Mi’kmaq people.
My inspiration and intrigue with wanting to know more came to be while leading the exercise of collecting information for my father’s family tree, in preparation for our family’s application to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band in Newfoundland. My father was born in St. George’s Newfoundland, and like myself, is also a member of the St. George’s Indian Band. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a young man, and left Newfoundland to serve his country. Along the way, he met my mother, and together they created our family.
I didn’t know much about my culture, because my father spent much of his childhood in an orphanage with his brothers and sisters following the death of his father when he was very young. My family took a trip to Newfoundland a couple of years ago, and my father walked us around the land where he grew up, and took us to the the Rec-plex that had been named after his late father (read about the story here). It was during that visit that my heart wanted to know more about my family and culture. I started researching and attending Pow Wows in Halifax, and that is where I met my dear friend, Savvy Simon. Savvy is a beautiful soul, and motivational speaker, spreading the importance of maintaining the Mi’kmaq language with her #speakmikmaq videos on social media, and her positivity message. Savvy, is a native of the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, and grew up in a Mi’kmaq-speaking, single-parent home, educated in the language by her mother and grandmother. Her positive outlook on life and passion for her people truly spoke to my heart, and so I have made significant efforts to follow along, joining online groups where the language is being taught and shared, and picking things up along the way.
The fire inside me has been ignited, and it has made me a better photographer by opening my mind, and following my heart in order to create images that feel authentic and project impactful emotion.
How did your journey to photography come about?
Aa I approached high school graduation, I was still very unsure as to what it was I wanted to do, so I applied to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. Mid-way through that process at the young age of 21, I had a son, and raised him as a single parent until he was 7, which is when I met my wonderful and supportive husband Teddy. During my university career, I had to take a year off (between year 2 & 3) after having my son. During that time off I was very bored and needed some mental stimulation, so I enrolled in the Cosmetology Program at a Community College very close to my apartment, and received my Hair Design License, thinking that hair design would be a fun and creative career. I was working in a restaurant downtown at the time on weekends, and studying during the week, while being a mother with help from my parents when I worked. After finishing the Hair Design Program a year later, I decided that it wasn’t my passion, and went back to Dalhousie, where I studied part-time, while working full time at the restaurant. It took a little longer than it would have most, but I eventually graduated, and it was an amazing motivator. Still not knowing what I wanted to do with my degree, I applied for an Administrative Assistant position with a local gold mining company that had mines in Mexico. Throughout my years there, I advanced in the company, was provided with wonderful opportunities, travelled to many beautiful places, and met so many amazing people. I think this opened my eyes to photography, because I would take my camera with me to the mine sites, and I would often fly into the sites via Cessna (small plane), and the views were so breathtaking.
In 2009, I married my husband, and throughout our wedding day, I watched our wedding photographer and thought to myself that perhaps this would be a good career for me, not knowing anything about photography or how to run a business. That Christmas, my husband bought me a camera, and I had my first set of weddings in the summer of 2010. I had never studied photography before, but the whole process felt very intuitive, and the internet was a wonderful learning tool for me. I continued to work full time in my corporate position, while capturing weddings on weekend with the help of my husband, and I did both jobs for 5 years.
In 2014, after a 10 year career in the gold mining industry, I decided to resign from my position and practice photography full time. I now have a beautiful photography studio, and travel all over the world capturing weddings and portraits.
Describe your style of photography?
I have such a love for people, natural light and incredible scenery. I use an approach that combines documentary and fine art styles to capture beautiful, authentic, and timeless moments that perfectly reflect the personalities of the people I photograph. I strive to visually tell compelling stories that express emotion, and capture genuine moments as they unfold.
Capturing every beautiful detail is what I live for. I truly love what I do, and put my heart and soul into every single image I capture.
People can often get lost in the chaos of the day to day, so I like to use my portrait sessions as a personal branding opportunity for individuals to get to know themselves again, and give them a little a boost.
Where and how do you find inspiration?
I love how light hits things, and I am always looking to colours, textures and scents to inspire me. Movement in my images is so important to me, because I want the people looking at them to feel like they are present in each moment. The way the wind blows is always top of mind for me because I love the natural movement and realness that the it gives to things. I love eyes, they tell so much about a person or animal, and if you take the time to look into someone or somethings eyes, you can feel their soul and see a little bit of their story, perhaps it is my indigenous heart that seeks this connection. I love to travel, and I make a point to visit a different place, or a favourite place at least twice a year in order to fuel my creativity. I am also forever creating mood boards to help guide the visual path of my images, and to learn new things.
How do you want to be remembered?
My hope is that I will be remembered for my love of all people, and for having been a bridge for some, having helped them move through to their next chapter of life with confidence. As humans, we all have bad days, months, years in life, and I try my best to see the good, and to see that low times will not be forever, and that we are often presented with them as a way to push ourselves a little harder. I hope that people will remember me for that, and take comfort from the message. I would also like to use my craft to somehow help Indigenous People, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to make that happen, but it will come to me.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
One of my favourite photographers of all time is Erich McVey. He is a fine art photographer from Portland, Oregon, and I had the beautiful opportunity to attend one of his photography workshops last year, it changed my entire view and path of my business, and helped me to refine my aesthetic. I love to learn, and I will continue to learn until I am laid to rest. Erich’s captures have such a presence, and I would love to work with him again one day, and suspect that with my tenacious personality I will make it so.
What was your proudest moment as a photographer?
There are many uplifting moments that have fuelled my passion, but when I see the faces of, or receiving heartfelt emails from couples or individuals who I have photographed, it that truly makes my heart sing, and affirms that I am doing what I am destined to do.
Do you have any advice for up and coming photographers?
Be true to yourself, know what you are worth, and value your craft, time and ability. You will attract what you project, so always try and be positive. Run your business with certainty and conviction, know that you will have bad days, but they will be outweighed by the good days.
Never doubt yourself, and leave lots of room in your mind and heart to learn and grow, personally and professionally; one can never know too much.
Collaborate with other photographers and creatives whenever you have the opportunity, sharing is the key to growing because we all rise best together. Never compare yourself to others, social media can weigh heavy on us as creatives because everyones’ lives and businesses are often perceived to be so perfect, but remember its all how things are projected to be. It is okay to follow other creatives, but seek inspiration from them, never compare yourself, because we all have our own gift to share with the world.