Nikki Krecicki (b.1992) is a fashion and portrait photographer who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is a recent graduate from the Savannah College of Art & Design, where she received her B.F.A. in Photography. She began making pictures while living in a humid subtropical climate in North Carolina. Her work illustrates dreamy narratives and cultural nuances inspired by her global explorations. Nikki’s objective is to further explore conventional and innovative aspects in fashion. Today we share Nikki’s newest series titled Jane & I.
Jane & I
“The days were long but filled with the most intense tomatoes the vines could barely hold up. The sunbeams radiated through our quaint but impressive garden that my grandfather tenderly takes care of even with his hunched back. My summer consisted of waking up in the rural area of Denver, NC and walking out to the garden to hear the cicadas buzzing with hostility and routine. The dewy branches were dripping with vibrant yet evolving peaches and pears. My mom’s parents have lived with us the past four years at our cottage on the lake. In addition, my dad’s mother, Jane, retreats to the moderate climate of North Carolina to escape the brutal Florida summers.
This past summer was a little different, as I wasn’t traveling or interning in a bustling city. I felt stuck in this stagnant, humid lakeside town. As I was watering the garden everyday—at my mother’s request—I began to deeply appreciate our ability to grow our own food and experience the day-to-day life with all of my grandparents. My brother and I would dig up orange spheres and fill our baskets to the brim for dinner that night. All of my grandparents have this affinity for the garden and the produce from our backyard. As I began to delve deeper into this land, I developed a heightened relationship with my grandmother Jane. She is slender with gangly limbs. Even at the age of eighty-eight she still has a thirst for life. As I observed her everyday for the past months I saw a good portion of myself in her. When we walked through the garden I watched how her long, graceful fingers brushed against the leaves as the wind pushed around us.
I took this season as a time to portray myself through my grandmother—as a form of a self-portrait. This series is a push and pull of my own youthful characteristics projected onto her delicate body. As I pulled garments from my closet and dressed her up, a grin would form on her face. She felt beautiful again. I felt beautiful again. Jane and I spent numerous nights rummaging the leftover apples the deer had not eaten and feeling like we were both twenty together. “
AB: Hey Nikki, start off by telling us how you got started with photography?
NK: I fell into photography by chance, but I realize I have always been surrounded by it. When I was 10 years old I worked in my uncle’s photo studio, stuffing proof books in return for going out to lunch. I was always drawn to art, especially paintings, and I borrowed my uncle’s camera for a high school class. I took a series of photographs of my grandmother Jane to use as a painting reference. Through a National Geographic contest, Intel purchased one of those images of my grandmother, for an international television commercial. However, I still didn’t view photography as a career until later on. I transferred from College of Charleston where I was studying marine biology to Savannah College of Art and design to pursue my passion for fashion and portrait photography.
AB: What sparked your interest in this series?
NK: This series has been in my head since early in the spring. I wanted to do a series called “Hometown” for my senior thesis but I wasn’t able to see it through with the travel restrictions. My one goal this summer was to photograph my grandmother Jane while she was at the lake for the summer. I used this time almost as a 10-week seminar class where I would shoot and the series would evolve. Originally I was portraying both of my grandmothers one through still lives depicted by domestic items and produce then the portraits of Jane. As I worked on the series I focused solely on Jane and added a fashion narrative to the images instead of it being just documentary.
AB: I’ve noticed family as a reoccurring theme in your work. When did this start?
NK: I have always been drawn to creating work with my grandmother and my little cousin Harreson. Since the start of my artistic endeavors I have always used them as a source of inspiration but it wasn’t until this past year I started re-photographing them in a series manner. I usually have to bribe Harreson, who is thirteen, with a double cheeseburger in return of a fifteen-minute portrait session. It was really interesting photographing him this past fall when his voice was changing and he was going through puberty. It is such an awkward but pivotal moment in our lives and I cherish those photographs so much.
AB: In your statement you mentioned that it was a different summer for you, not being in the city and living with family. What was that like for you?
NK: This summer was definitely very challenging yet rewarding. I moved back home after graduating from SCAD and was job searching and I felt like I was stuck in my house while the rest of my peers were starting their post grad careers. The series “Jane and I” kept me sane during this period. All my energy went into planning; styling it and it also gave my grandmother something to look forward to whenever we would shoot in the evenings. Looking back at this summer, now that I just moved to Brooklyn, NY, I appreciate the time I had to just to relax and build deeper connections with my family. I definitely took for granted going to the mountains or swimming in the lake. In New York City it’s hard to even just find a patch of grass nearby.
AB: What does this series mean to you personally? Do you have similar projects in the making?
NK: This series has instilled a desire to document my family members as references to look back on. As for serious work and evolving series the artistic connections I have with Harreson and Jane are what keep me inspired and motivated to capture new nuances in each of our lives.
AB: What type of questions did you intend to pose and what questions arrived after the work was made?
NK: There is a great movement happening within the fashion industry. Photographers—especially British fashion photographers—are casting atypical models instead of standard models. I wanted to produce a fashion story with clothes that are intended for females my age and play around using things that are unconventional. Fashion photographers have so much power in what the public sees as the standard of beauty by who is in the magazines and on the advertisements. My grandmother has fallen to this mindset of thinking she is old and unattractive, and she hates having her photo taken. Through these images I saw her confidence being restored. I loved making her feel valued and elegant through photographing her. This work has really inspired me to push the conventional and not be limited by age, race, or body type.
To view more of Nikki’s work please visit her website.