An Interview With Nick DiNatale

Photo: Brittani Lee
Nick is a Massachusetts-based photographer who recently graduated from the New England School of Photography with a major in Fine-Art Color and a minor in Portraiture. He specializes in documentary-style coverage of events such as live music and weddings. I recently stumbled upon his blog and am astounded by the sincerity and charm in his work. Here are 17 questions he answered for me about his life, his passions, and his work.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m 21 and have grown up around 40 minutes outside of Boston. Aside from photography, I’m really into antiques. I run a shop where I deal them (which can be found here). I also greatly enjoy traveling and collecting records. Dogs too.

Pick the 5 adjectives that best describe you.

This was probably the most difficult question to answer. Contemplative. Adaptable. Passionate. Sensitive. Attentive.

Favorite book?

I love reading! On The Road is my favorite book.

Favorite music/artists?

SO difficult to choose. Recently I’ve been listening to Adventures, Foreign Tongues, Beach Slang, Moose Blood, Better Off, Alvvays, Nothing, and Joyce Manor. Some of my all time favorites would be Best Coast, The Gaslight Anthem, My Chemical Romance, Johnny Cash, Jack’s Mannequin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I’ve also been working with Foreign Tongues and Perspective, a lovely hand to hold recently, so I’ve been listening to their music a lot.

My favorite artists are probably Alec Soth, Larry Sultan, and Jim Goldberg, all contemporary fine art/documentary photographers. However, my friends are also really important as far as other work that I draw my inspiration from. Christian Napolitano, Chris Coe, Jon Medina, Al Brown, and a handful of others are all in the fine art/documentary genre as well and are my friends. I’m very grateful for them.

What is your favorite thing to do when you have a day off or to yourself?

Most likely working on a personal photo project that I don’t have time to otherwise, reading, or possibly catching up on some TV. I have a really difficult time taking time off – it makes me feel anxious. I need to learn to though.

Favorite quote?

Again, very difficult question. A lot of Kerouac’s quotes are great.

My major instructor at school also once said “If it doesn’t mean that much to you, it’s probably not worth doing,” which I think holds some good value.

How did you get into photography?

My grandfather gave me his Konica Autoreflex T when I was about 13. It’s a manual film SLR, and I made it a goal to figure out how to use it. I never really expected it to turn into something so serious, but here I am 8 years later.

What is your favorite part about taking photos?

I really like when it’s able to take me into a completely different place. This doesn’t happen all of the time, but when it does, it’s something else. Also, the moments when your finger is depressing the shutter button and you know you’ve got something special with that click.

What is your favorite kind of work?

I love photographing live music, sometimes more than other times. When I’m out photographing a documentary project, I really enjoy meeting strangers and then photographing them. This is a real challenge for me, because I’m reserved when it comes to approaching people, but I’m constantly trying to get better at it. I also enjoy weddings, however, I don’t like the workflow. I really want to switch over to photographing them strictly on film. I’m looking for a couple that is interested in doing that at the moment.

What is your biggest struggle/obstacle in life or in your work right now?

Undoubtedly my anxiety/depression. I’ve spent the past 6 to 7 years of my life managing them both. They cause problems with everything from my motivation to get out of bed in the morning to walking in to meet a potential client for a meeting. Thankfully I can accomplish things a lot more easily at this stage in my life, but sometimes they flare up and I have to push myself. I’m so incredibly grateful for everyone in my life that helps me get through it. (My mom, dad, girlfriend, friends).

What is one thing that makes you really happy?

Honestly, any time someone recognizes my work or wants a print, that’s really humbling to me, and it makes me happy.

What is one thing that upsets you?

Definitely the fact that people so often assume that they can have a photo and use it for free. They don’t understand just how much time and effort goes into making photos, and how much money it really costs either. I speak for myself and other photographers when I say that we have to make money as well. This is our job. We have to eat, pay rent, help support families, buy new gear, etc. The list goes on.

What piece of advice would you give other photographers?

You’re going to become frustrated for one reason or another. Push through that frustration and just keep going. You’ll eventually be glad that you did. It’s so common to give up photography within 5 years of picking it up, but those that keep going are the ones who end up successful.

Is there a piece of advice you would share that isn’t specific to photography?

Life is frustrating, but we’re only here for a short time. Don’t be afraid to live your life.

Check out Nick’s Links: Website / Blog / Twitter

One thought on “An Interview With Nick DiNatale

  1. A fascinating interview – always interested to hear what other photographers have to say about themselves. Seems like we got started in a similar way – I used to get let loose with my Mother’s Brownie! :-)

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