Hannah Nikkelson (b. 1990) is an artist based in Melbourne, Australia. She has just completed her Bachelor’s degree in photography at Photography Studies College, Melbourne. Her work examines themes of stagnancy, unrest, and belonging; through her endless wanderings, she hopes to find answers to questions that don’t exist. While ultimately considering herself a documentary photographer, her work is more a documentation of experience and existence rather than that of people and place. Deeply interested in literature and philosophy, her work attempts to interpret and mirror the pace and prose of classic novelists and discover new ways of translating narrative.
Desperado searches for meaning in a meaningless existence. It is an unending wandering, looking for answers and understanding in a world that does not permit it. Delving into the world of existentialist despair and philosophy, Nikkelson uses the photographic language to attempt to find answers in objects, moments and people. Her photographs are questions, decisions yet to be made, turning points and forks that demand responses.
The philosophy of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre inform her methodology and work, looking deeply into what it means to live a life free from spiritual or religious guidance. It examines despair as a constant state, an unflinching weight carried day to day that mandates our attention – Camus defined this phenomena/feeling as the ‘absurd’ and described it as ‘A metaphysical tension or opposition that results from the presence of human consciousness with its ever pressing demand for meaning in an essentially meaningless and indifferent universe.’ he muses that the absurd does not exist within people or place but within their presence together, it cannot survive alone.
It is this duality that Nikkelson studies and seeks out, the tensions between what we hope exists and what we know does not. Each photograph is a stopping point, an anchor that asks, is this it? Before deciding it both is and is not and moving the search on to the next place. She demands the viewer look a bit closer, and a bit more inward than what is usually asked of a spectator.
To view more of Hannah’s work please visit her website.