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Nicole Shola is a photography student from Hertfordshire, currently in her first year of her degree. Her personal work explores fine-art portrayals of personal and social issues such as femininity, identity and health. I was drawn to feature her work due to her series depicting Fibromyalgia. Known as the ‘invisible illness’, “it is defined by widespread chronic pain, as well as a broad spectrum of related symptoms including fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and reduced physical function.” It predominantly affects women and there is not yet a medical cure. To find out more and to seek support, visit http://www.fibroireland.com/. To see more of Nicole’s work, check out her website.
What is Instagram for you?
Instagram, for me, is an ever-growing platform. You can showcase your portfolio and network with artists, find support for a personal issue and show snaps of your dog all in one place. I’ve never felt more love and support from a site and it’s honestly been a massive building-block for my personal and professional life. I love the network of friends I have through Instagram and would never disregard that side of the site.
Why/when did you decide to start sharing your work on there?
I started to use Instagram for my work over a year ago now – when I really started to develop my “style,” in my personal photographic work. People seemed to connect with what I was shooting and it showed me how effective sharing my photos could be.
What equipment do you use?
I’ll either work on my DSLR (Canon 6D) or 120mm film. Most of my recent projects (including Fibromyalgia) are shot on my Canon but my upcoming project will be featuring a lot more film.
What caused you to choose Fibromyalgia as a theme for one of your series?
My mother was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia some years ago now and I’ve seen her struggle and grow from within the illness. It showed me just how invisible conditions like this are to the rest of the world and I wanted to change that. My mum is a fighter and never lets her condition change who she is, but that includes a battle – this is what I wanted to show in my photographs. I wanted to make her battle visible.
Who has been or currently is an influence on you?
Most of my inspiration comes directly from those around me – my mum, my friends and the world issues they’re dealing with. Visually I adore Ashley Armitage’s and Martin Cantos’ work, and the colours of Wes Anderson’s films are a new favourite of mine. I’ve also recently been drawn to Ryan Caruthers work.
What are your must-follow accounts on Instagram?
@polyesterzine and @curatedbygirls for constant femme content and a wide range of upcoming artists, and @dazed for a wide variety in contemporary culture and influence.